‘Mini sun for limitless energy’: Interview with scientist behind world’s most-powerful laser beam

© www.phys.sci.osaka-u.ac.jp
Japanese researchers have created a mind-blowing laser they claim to be the most powerful on Earth. The device has been likened to a “man-made sun,” promising to better our understanding of the universe, as its creator explained to RT.

Scientists at Osaka University were recently reported to have fired a laser producing a 2-petawatt pulse lasting for one picosecond, according to the university’s press-release. The 100-meter-long laser is called LFEX, or Laser for Fast Ignition Experiments.

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Prominent Japanese physicist Hiroshi Azechi, Director of the Intense Laser Science group, who headed the research, gave an exclusive interview to RT. He explained that the laser’s main purposes were “to explore our science,” and “to get thermo-nuclear ignition, which can be used in the future for energy source.”

“We cannot see the [laser’s] beam itself not because it’s too short. It is near infrared. The color of that laser is beyond what we can actually see by human eye,” the scientist added.

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The “final goal” of the scientists could be an “ecofriendly” construction of a “miniature sun” used “to create limitless energy” in laboratory, as well as serving to “study how the center of the sun or any planet can work.”

© www.phys.sci.osaka-u.ac.jp

“Usually, that is so-called astrophysics, but most astrophysicists just observe what is going on in the sky, but our laser can make the center of the sun, so it’s a different approach of understanding what’s going on in the universe,” Azechi told RT.

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Currently, the laser is inappropriate for military purposes, as it “operates only once in two hours,” and as the scientist told RT, “for real application we need to operate that laser ten times in a second.”

However, the laser could still be useful for “medical applications and non-destructive inspection of social infrastructures,” according to the press release.

The Japanese laser has surpassed other petawatt lasers, including a one-petawatt laser constructed at the University of Texas at Austin. After several months of testing, it beat the previous record with twice as much power.