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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.

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Just a quick question...
By marsbound2024 on 4/8/2008 2:34:28 PM , Rating: 2
Alright I was always intrigued by how this works. How in the world do they get that much energy to begin with. A mean, a petawatt? How do we get that power when the entire world is still operating on terawatts? I suppose it is the extremely short activation time, but still, I am intrigued and perplexed a bit.

RE: Just a quick question...
By Raidin on 4/8/2008 4:49:12 PM , Rating: 2
I'm no expert, but with equipment like this that require massive amounts of energy not readily available, I believe they charge it over time, like a battery, and then release it all at once to achieve the desired amount of power output.

RE: Just a quick question...
By Gul Westfale on 4/8/2008 6:15:06 PM , Rating: 2
they use the new duracells.

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