Sci-Fi fans still remember the famous scene in Star Wars in which a fictional spacecraft and galactic superlaser, the Death Star, wipes out the planet Alderaan and all its inhabitants.
Superlasers are not exactly fiction anymore. The Death Star weapon is here!
Researchers at Osaka University, Japan are claiming to have set the record for successfully firing the world’s most powerful laser. The device is known as the Laser for Fast Ignition Experiment (LFEX).
LFEX produced a 2 petawatt (2 quadrillion watts) laser beam. To put that in context, until now, the Texas Petawatt Laser was the only comparable device in the world, able to produce less than a 1 petawatt laser pulse.
The power of this superlaser is equivalent to 1,000 times the planet’s total power consumption. The superlaser was fired for just 1 pico-second (trillionth of a second) to produce the high output. The LFEX device is around 100 meters (328 feet) long.
The Japanese researchers are planning to make LFEX even more powerful. Their goal is to hit 10 petawatts in one pulse.