The most powerful laser in the world

The confinement ray of the United States Ignition Facility (NIF), a fusion research laboratory, is considered the most powerful laser in the world. It is an ultraviolet laser with an output power of 500 terawatts. The machinery and electronic components that activate the NIF laser require a larger space than a football stadium.

But the trillionth of a second shot with the LFEX device (laser for rapid ignition experiments) of the University of Osaka, shot in 2015, reached 2 petawatts (2,000 terawatts).

If we take into account the greater laser energy directed towards the same objective, then we must speak again of the NIF. In June 2009, a group of NIF scientists began operating with a beam of 192 lasers designed to investigate nuclear fusion.

The laser beams were directed towards a small sphere the size of a pea filled with hydrogen fuel to perform fusion experiments. On January 27, 2010, the researchers fired the laser beams at the target for a few billionths of a second, releasing a megaton of energy, equivalent to an explosion produced by 0.2 kilograms of TNT.

Why do we need such powerful lasers? For example, to compress a diamond nanocrystals to a pressure of 5 billion pascals, about 14 times the pressure in the center of the Earth. So you can better study the behavior of matter in the bowels of the planets, like Jupiter.