Record-setting high-intensity laser beam

You’ve got your laser.  You’ve got your high intensity.  You’ve got your awesome name – HERCULES.  What missing?

If you could hold a giant magnifying glass in space and focus all the sunlight shining toward Earth onto one grain of sand, that concentrated ray would approach the intensity of a new laser beam made in a University of Michigan laboratory.

That’s the instantaneous intensity we can produce,” said Karl Krushelnick, a physics and engineering professor. “I don’t know of another place in the universe that would have this intensity of light. We believe this is a record.”

. . .

The record-setting beam measures 20 billion trillion watts per square centimeter. It contains 300 terawatts of power. That’s 300 times the capacity of the entire U.S. electricity grid. The laser beam’s power is concentrated to a 1.3-micron speck about 100th the diameter of a human hair. A human hair is about 100 microns wide.

Sadly, no mention is made of strapping these suckers to the frikkin’ heads of any frikkin’ sharks.  Nor is there any word on the available ramp-up possible with a whole mess of these (say, perhaps, an ocean full of frikkin’ sharks, with, well, you know) and harnessing the power of a Dyson sphere.  But some mad-genius will make it happen some day, I am certain (sans popcorn, most likely).

A paper on this research, “Ultra-high intensity 300-TW laser at 0.1 Hz repetition rate,” is published online in the journal Optics Express. The full text is available at Yanovsky and Krushelnick are authors of the paper.

Yup – 300 Terra-Watts.  Make’s ol’ Doc Brown’s Flux Capacitor look pretty miserly with the power, doesn’t it?

[tags]HERCULES, Laser, Frikkin’ sharks, 300 Terra-watts, 1.21 Giga-watts[/tags]