Scientists from Japan’s Osaka University just fired the most powerful laser ever. Using a device called the LFEX (short for Laser for Fast Ignition Experiments), the team produced a laser containing a whopping 2 petawatts (that’s 15 zeroes), an energy equivalent to around 1,000 times the entire world’s electricity consumption.
Remember that weaponized laser the US Navy was using to blast drones and boats with one hit during tests? That was a 30-kilowatt laser, so you can imagine just how strong this beam actually is.
Obviously, a laser that powerful will require huge amounts of power, right? Apparently, not the case, as the LFEX only used a few hundred Joules for this particular test – the same amount of power a microwave uses for a few seconds of operation. Instead, the powerful beam was generated by boosting the signal through a series of amplifying devices (basically, glass lamps that look like fluorescent tubes) inside the LFEX’s 300-plus-foot length and concentrating it to 1 pico-second (one-trillionth of a second), eventually leading to the crazy output levels. Yes, the laser only fired for a tiny fraction of a second, but it’s definitely impressive all the same.
You can learn more about the LFEX test from the link below.