National Ignition Facility Cranks Laser Up to Record 500 Trillion Watts
The Preamplifier of the Laser
IMAGE BY Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
In California, at the ultra-powerful fusion laboratory of the National Ignition Facility, 192 laser beams fired simultaneously, blasting their target - a circle 2 millimeters in diameter - with 500 trillion watts. That's 16,000+ times more than the entire of Australia was using at the time. It is the highest-energy laser shot ever fired in real life, although some fictional lasers have exceeded the record.
The NIF's ultimate goal is to induce nuclear fusion in a highly compressed pellet of hydrogen, which will be held at the target point of the laser beams. The fusion reaction will generate energy, so we'll earn back our 500 terawatts with interest.