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posted by hubie on Tuesday September 20, @02:21AM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the I'm-beginning-to-see-the-light dept.

First light at the most powerful laser in the US:

The laser that will be the most powerful in the United States is preparing to send its first pulses into an experimental target at the University of Michigan.

Called ZEUS, the Zetawatt-Equivalent Ultrashort pulse laser System, it will explore the physics of the quantum universe as well as outer space, and it is expected to contribute to new technologies in medicine, electronics and national security.

"ZEUS will be the highest peak power laser in the U.S. and among the most powerful laser systems in the world. We're looking forward to growing the research community and bringing in people with new ideas for experiments and applications," said Karl Krushelnick, director of the Center for Ultrafast Optical Science, which houses ZEUS, and the Henry J. Gomberg Collegiate Professor of Engineering.

[...] In this first run, the ZEUS team is starting at a power of 30 terawatts (30 trillion watts), about 3% of the current most powerful lasers in the U.S. and 1% of ZEUS's eventual maximum power.

"During the experiment here, we'll put the first light through to the target chamber and develop towards that 300 terawatt level," said John Nees, a research scientist in electrical and computer engineering.

[...] "Magnetars, which are neutron stars with extremely strong magnetic fields around them, and objects like active galactic nuclei surrounded by very hot plasma—we can recreate the microphysics of hot plasma in extremely strong fields in the laboratory," said Louise Willingale, associate director of ZEUS and an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering.

Accompanying explanatory video


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  • (Score: -1, Redundant) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 20, @04:48AM

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday September 20, @04:48AM (#1272510)

    https://zeus.engin.umich.edu/ [umich.edu]

    The name ZEUS (Zettawatt-Equivalent Ultrashort pulse laser System) refers to the interaction of a PetaWatt laser pulse colliding with a GeV energy electron beam that can be generated by one of its two beamlines. This geometry provides the equivalent of a “Zettawatt” power laser interaction (1021 Watts) in the rest frame of the electron beam. It will consequently allow exploration of fundamental yet unanswered questions regarding non-linear quantum electrodynamics in relativistic plasmas, including quantum radiation reaction and electron-positron pair production mechanisms.

    Obliterate it with a yottawatt laser.

  • (Score: 2) by MIRV888 on Tuesday September 20, @09:31PM

    by MIRV888 (11376) on Tuesday September 20, @09:31PM (#1272634)

    Which means someone else has a more powerful one.
    This amounts to celebrating you came in 2nd place.

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