Lasers are pretty cool, and the only thing cooler might be the mysteries that can be solved when matter is lased at high energies. If you're in agreement I'm sure you'll love to hear that a joint effort between Lawrence Livermore Laboratory and the Czech Republic's Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) Beamlines is moving closer to completing a new petawatt laser system.
Producing a rapidly flickering beam equal to the concentrated energy of the sun, the High-Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System (HAPLS) will be 100 times more powerful than Livermore's Nova Petawatt laser which is pushing the boundaries of fusion research.
Still in development, the key difference between the HAPLS system and its predecessors is its ability to fire laser pulses at a rate of 10 per second, an order of magnitude greater than the world's most advanced machines.
Delivering some 30 joules of energy to its target matter in a flickering 30 femtoseconds, the HAPLS will help researchers uncover mysteries ranging from cosmology to medicine.
While a number of experiments undertaken at ELI will likely yield astonishing results, one of the greatest wonders will be the completion of the system itself. Once fully built the HAPLS system will be the most advanced laser facility in the world and could possibly serve as a blueprint for future nuclear fusion energy facilities, should lasers be the key to setting off a chain reaction.
If all goes according to plan the ELI Beamline facility will come online in 2017. Equipped with the HAPLS system, scientists from across the globe will be flocking to the Czech facility in 2018 looking to investigate phenomenon only describable when subjected to the most concentrated energy in the Universe.