Print 109 comment(s) - last by DASQ.. on May 8 at 11:55 AM

Dr. Evil would be proud of The University of Texas's petawatt laser.
The lasers at night, are big and bright, deep in the heart of Texas

The most powerful laser in the world was announced at the University of Texas at Austin last week. The massively powerful laser is rated at one petawatt and is the only petawatt laser operating in the United States.

A petawatt is one quadrillion watts and when the laser is turned on it generates the power output of more than 2,000 times all of the power plants in America according to Todd Ditmire a physicist at the university.

Ditmire goes on to say that the laser is brighter than sunlight on the surface of the sun when activated. For those wondering how exactly the university keeps from bursting into flames when the laser is on Ditmire says that the laser is activated for a 10th of a trillionth of a second (0.0000000000001 second).

Researchers at the University of Texas plan to use the massive laser to create environments similar to extreme conditions in the universe. The researchers plan to study gases at temperatures greater than those in the sun and solids at billions of atmospheres of pressure.

The researchers also say that they plan to create mini-supernovas, tabletop stars and very high-density plasmas that mimic brown dwarfs. The powerful laser will also allow the study of advanced ideas for creating energy by controlled fusion.

Comments     Threshold

This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled

RE: Sod Global Warming..
By poundsmack on 4/8/2008 12:58:04 PM , Rating: 2
table top stars reminds me of a short story called, "Bobo's Star." basicaly it is in the future and its a, "make it yourself personal star kit." long story short it gets out of control and, due to the stars need to feed, winds up consuming the planet.'s to hoping that stays in the realm of science fiction, at least for my life time.

RE: Sod Global Warming..
By EidolWays on 4/8/2008 1:51:21 PM , Rating: 2
Unless I'm completely off-base, there's no need to worry.

A star's "need to feed" is largely limited to hydrogen. The process of fusion consumes two isotopes of hydrogen and releases helium. Thus the only thing a star is going to consume is that hydrogen. The exception is when the star is exceptionally massive and its core can reach the temperatures needed to fuse heavier elements. Only then do stars begin burning the heavier elements that remain within them when all hydrogen is exhausted (this is actually the source of many of the heavier elements in our universe). Any fusion reaction created on a minute scale in the lab is not going to involve nearly enough mass for that kind of reaction. Mind, supernovas do involve the "burning" of those heavier elements, but in this case I'd imagine they'll be providing the extra energy needed to get there using the same laser they use to start the fusion reaction.

Essentially, the Earth is largely composed of heavier elements. Small stars burn hydrogen. Therefore, the Earth isn't going to be consumed.

Same reason it hasn't been consumed by hydrogen bombs.

"It's okay. The scenarios aren't that clear. But it's good looking. [Steve Jobs] does good design, and [the iPad] is absolutely a good example of that." -- Bill Gates on the Apple iPad

Copyright 2016 DailyTech LLC. - RSS Feed | Advertise | About Us | Ethics | FAQ | Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information | Kristopher Kubicki