A team of British and Czech scientists have developed the most powerful pulse laser of the world. They said that they had successfully tested the “super laser” they claim is 10 times more powerful than any other of its kind on the planet.
The “high peak power laser” has a 1,000-watt average power output, a benchmark of sustained, high-energy pulses. It’s dubbed the “Bivoj”, after a Herculean-like Czech mythical hero.
The device was developed by Britain’s Central Laser Facility (CLF) and HiLASE (High average power pulsed laser), a Czech state research and development project.
It has revolutionary potential in engineering, for hardening metal surfaces, processing semiconductors and micro-machining material.
“It is a world record, which is important,” John Collier, director of Britain’s Central Laser Facility, told AFP. “It is good for putting things on the map, but the more important point is that the underlying technology that has been developed here is going to transform the application of these high power, high energy lasers.”
However, the researchers conceded that the laser’s peak output was nowhere near that of others dubbed “the world’s most powerful laser.” Osaka’s Laser for Fast Ignition Experiments, for instance, allegedly produced a pulse of 2 petawatts, or 2 quadrillion watts.
HiLASE director Tomas Mocek told AFP that Bivoj broke the “magical barrier” of 1,000 watts in output on December 16, setting a world record for lasers of its type. “It’s a huge step forward, like an Olympic victory,” he added.
Weighting in at around 20 tonnes and costing 44 million Euros ($48 million, Bivoj will have applications in the aeronautics, automotive and power sectors.
According to the researchers, 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.
On the other hand, Bivoj boasts a higher average energy output because it fires a less-powerful beam far more often.
The team plans to explore the laser’s potential during tests planned at the Dolni Brezany facility later this month and hopes to commercialize the new technology later this year.