British and Czech Engineers have announced that they have constructed and fired the “Bivoj” – a 1000-watt “high peak power laser” named after a Herculean-like Czech mythical hero
Bivoj is capable of an average power output of over 1,000 watts, making it 10 times as powerful as other lasers of its type and should qualify as a new world record holder.
Fact Check – While 1000-watts is a huge achievement a would-be super villains is going to be disappointed if they want to build the next Death Star.
Users on Stack Exchange users calculated that the Death Star’s power output to be approximately 6.67 x 1026 Watts.
The team behind Bivoj is made up of British and Czech Engineers working out of the Britain’s Central Laser Facility (CLF) and HiLASE (High average power pulsed laser), a Czech state research and development project.
CLF director John Collier explained that cracking the 1,000-watt barrier was “a world record which is important. It is good for putting things on the map, but the more important point is that the underlying technology that has been developed here is going to transform the application of these high power, high energy lasers”.
While other “super lasers” exist ( such as the Texas Petawatt Laser in Austin and two-petawatt Laser for Fast Ignition Experiments (LFEX) in Osaka, Japan ) Bivoj is fundamentally different. Both the Texas Petawatt Laser and LFEX have much higher peak power (outputting a whopping billion watts) but can only fire the laser a few times a day with a long cooling off and recharge period.
Bivoj boasts a higher average energy output because it fires a less-powerful beam more often. This makes it incredibly useful for Engineering tasks like hardening metal or semiconductor processing.
The next step will be to commercialise the laser – a task the team are looking to tackle in the second half of the year.
Find out more @phys.org