Japanese Researchers Test World's Most Powerful Laser, Sharks Optional

Researchers in Japan announced this week that they have developed a functional 2-petawatt laser beam system. The tests appear to confirm that Japan create the world’s most powerful laser beam, which generated massive power in pico-second bursts.

The Laser for Fast Ignition Experiments (LFEX) at Osaka University isn’t small enough for a storm trooper’s blaster – yet. At the moment, it’s a set of four massive, green-and-white devices that stand taller than a human and are together slightly longer than a football field.

laser beam
Image credit: The Asahi Shimbun. Laser shark image credit: ThinkGeek

“With heated competition in the world to improve the performance of lasers, our goal now is to increase our output to 10 petawatts,” professor of electrical engineering Junji Kawanaka told The Asahi Shimbun.

The device amplifies the power of the beam by applying it to specialized lamps. Without amplification, the beam would only power a microwave for about two seconds.

Kawanaka isn’t wrong about the exploding interest in high-powered laser beams. Earlier this year, Lockheed Martin showed off a 30-kilowaatt laser system by frying the engine of a pickup truck from more than a mile away. It’s the sort of technological feat that would give Dr. Evil goosebumps.  
Tags:  lasers