Record-Breaking Laser Hits 500 Trillion Watts

Record-Breaking Laser Hits 500 Trillion Watts

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Laser physicists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory have broken the record for the highest-power laser shot with a collection of beams delivering more than 500 trillion watts of peak power. The National Ignition Facility fired 192 beams at the same time, delivering 1.85 megajoules of ultraviolet laser light to a target a mere two millimeters in diameter.

To put those numbers into perspective, the 500 terawatt figure is 12,500 times greater than the demand for electricity in 2006 in Britain, which averaged out at 40 gigawatts, and takes researchers a step closer to the goal of igniting hydrogen fusion.

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