The Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) and Osaka University have been working together to develop a device which converts sunlight into laser-light with four times the efficiency of previous attempts. According to a report out of Tokyo, the team is working on Space-based solar power systems which can collect sunlight in space and convert it into laser light, which is then transmitted to Earth and used for electricity... or to power a massive Death-Ray. The project works by storing sunlight-based energy in plate made from a sintered powder of metals like chromium and neodymium. When weak laser light is shined onto the plate, the stored energy is transferred to the laser where its strength is amplified by a factor of four. In one test, a 0.5-watt laser was amplified to 180-watts by the plates. Scientists have thus far been able to garner 40-percent of the solar energy produced, and they hope to have a system ready for satellite mounting by the not-too-distant year 2030. Huzzah! [Warning: read link requires subscription]

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Japanese scientists make breakthrough in space-based laser power