Scientists create record breaking laser pulse that could solve our energy woes

Imagine the huge quantity of power that the whole of United States uses at any point of time. Now, multiply this expansive figure by one thousand, and you get the utterly gargantuan scope of the astronomical power generated by world’s most powerful laser, in its record shattering pulse. Well, according to National Ignition Facility, this boisterous system consisting of 192 ultraviolet lasers, produced an equivalent of a whopping 411 trillion watts of peak power for around 23 billionths of a second.

Record breaking laser pulse boosts fusion power hopes

And to think, all of these were done to achieve a pretty simple task like fusion ignition, which in turn corresponds to a state of energy gain inside the lab facility. Well, the goal may seem to be simple, but the practical procedure entailed some complex steps. They include aiming those aforementioned 192 laser beams on to a hydrogen filled target, thus initiating the fusion of hydrogen atoms and releasing many times more energy, much like the working principle of a hydrogen bomb.

According to the scientists involved, the system generated around 1.875 million joules of energy, when the magnitude of the ‘end’ pulse was calculated at the target chamber center. However, the energy crossed the 2.03 million joule mark, at the starting point of the pulse, thus making it the world’s first 2MJ ultraviolet laser.

Now, beyond the whirlwind of astronomical numbers and gigantic figures, it is the core functionality of the whole endeavor that should really interest us. The researchers say this ambitious project brings them one step closer to harnessing the potential power like that which is found self generating on the sun’s surface. In other words, the development can lead to a creation of a ‘miniature star’ on earth itself, for harvesting of eternal energy.

Via: TheRegister

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