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Most Powerful Laser Built in Texas Answered

Over in Texas, a new laser has been built that can zap with a full petawatt of power. That's a quadrillion watts (that's 15 zeros) of power that gets blasted in 150 pemtoseconds.

While this is not the most powerful laser ever made (that was a 1.25 petawatt laser) it is the most powerful laser currently operational. All for the cost of $7 million.

So what's the point of it all?

"We can put materials into states that you can't access here on earth," said Mikael Martinez, the laser project's manager. "You'd have to go out into space and hang out with an exploding star to observe what we plan to observe here in Texas."

Check out thefull article at Wired to see how they pull off this trick.


Hey I live in Texas! And I'm about an hour and a half away from austin. I'm looking at colleges. COOL! I will toast a marshmallow for everyone if I go there. :-)

hmm I have the most insane urge to fly to texas and toast a marshmallow in this... I reckon that if an 1000W microwave takes 5 secs or so then 5 quadrillionths of a second would do it maybe 3 quadrillionths of a second to compensate for the microwaves missing...

Will do but you have to bring your own marshmallows, if I wreck your fence sorry...


10 years ago


but just one joule of energy :-D

The Nova laser they're trying to beat put out 680 joules in a 440 femtosecond pulse, so obviously the main advances have been in how to compress the energy into a shorter pulse, not in pumping more energy into it.

In contrast, by next year, the 192-beam National Ignition Facility will generate 1.8 megajoules - but "only" 500 terawatts (half a petawatt) of laser energy.

Very impressive. What would be even more impressive would be if they could slap it on to a laser cutter.


I can't think of any way to put my response to those figures any more succinctly than the following statement:



10 years ago

Pretty awesome. Now if we can just mount that on a plane...

oooooooh... shiny!!!!!!!!

Texas owns ; )

Look out world, Texas has a laser and ain't afraid to use it...

. Ain't no big deal. EVERYTHING is bigger in TX, doncha know? heehee