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Researchers have built a 1,000-watt 'super laser'

Eat your heart out, Death Star.
Andrew Tarantola, @terrortola
January 24, 2017
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A team of British and Czech researchers have announced that they've constructed and fired a 1000-watt "high peak power laser". It's dubbed the "Bivoj", after a Herculean-like Czech mythical hero. This laser is reportedly ten times more powerful as any other of its kind and should qualify as a new world record holder, according to Martin Divoky a physicist working at HiLASE, the Czech state-owned research facility where the laser was developed. Britain's Central Laser Facility also contributed to the research.

The Bivoj differs from the two other largest HPPLs in existence -- the Texas Petawatt Laser in Austin and the two-petawatt Laser for Fast Ignition Experiments (LFEX) in Osaka, Japan. While these lasers have a higher peak power -- to the tune of a billion watts -- they need so long to recharge that they can only fire a couple times a day. The $28-million Bivoj, on the other hand, boasts a higher average energy output because it fires a less-powerful beam far more often. The team hopes to commercialize and leverage this new technology for engineering purposes, like hardening metal, as well as industrial applications such as semiconductor processing in the second half of this year.

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