Thursday, June 4, 2009

How big is your laser gun?

What are the chances! by reeotch misk used under a Creative Commons License

In my continuing search for cool stuff, I've found another one via the Los Angeles Times - a big laser gun. How big? Big.

Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory dedicated the world's largest laser system. The National Ignition Facility, with its 192 giant laser beams, fills up an entire 10-story building in Livermore, Calif.

OK, that's big. Needless to say, something that big has its own web page,

The world's largest and highest-energy laser was certified to operate by the U.S. Department of Energy on March 27, 2009. In 2010, NIF will focus the intense energy of 192 giant laser beams on a BB-sized target filled with hydrogen fuel — fusing, or igniting, the hydrogen atoms' nuclei in the world's first controlled thermonuclear reaction. This is the same fusion energy process that makes stars shine and provides the life-giving energy of the sun.

Well, let's hope that the laser gun keeps focused on that hydrogen. I wouldn't want it to be aimed at the Large Hadron Collider (which I haven't discussed since September 10, 2008, but which is, in the words of Chevy Chase, "still dead."
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