We know what you're thinking: when you've got eight-Megajoule railguns, aircraft-mounted tactical lasers, and xenon-based paralysis inducers, what good is a feeble solid state laser blaster? Presumably hoping to see a Star Wars-esque warzone in the not too distant future, a team of researchers at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California have crafted a Solid State Heat Capacity Laser (SSHCL) that can sustain 67-kilowatts of average power in testing, besting their previous record of just 45-kilowatts. Chemically powered lasers, on the other hand, have been able to achieve megawatts of power for some time now, but the solid state variety is much less burdensome and could be used on the battlefield without a constant source of chemical fuel flanking the soldier's belt. The SSHCL is said to generate a "pulsed beam which fires 200 times a second at a wavelength of one micron," and the "magic 100-kilowatt mark" that would enable it to become a satisfactory weapon could purportedly be reached within the year. While we're down with giving our troops crates of real-world rayguns to beam down the baddies, we've got a sneaking suspicion that someone's going to put an eye out while oohing and aahing at the light show these things emit.

[Via Slashdot]

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Solid state laser sustains 67-kilowatts, approaching battlefield status