Giant laser system is under construction

Apr 24, 2008

The world's largest laser system -- the National Ignition Facility -- is being built in California and officials say it will go online next year.

Physicists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory say the facility will have 192 lasers generating millions of joules of infrared light, which will be converted to ultraviolet light.

In a facility the size of three football fields, the light will go through a tiny hole into a target shaped like a soda can, but less than 1 inch in height. There, scientists said, the light will heat the inside metal walls, causing them to emit X-rays that will fill the can, bombard a small plastic capsule in the can's center, implode the capsule, and trigger the fusion of tritium and deuterium inside.

Lead researcher Christopher Haynam said about three-quarters of the lasers have been installed. If it works as it is supposed to, he said the facility will be able to achieve temperatures and pressures that emulate conditions in the interior of planets and stars.

Haynam will report on the project next month in San Jose, Calif., during the 2008 Lasers and Electro-Optics/Quantum Electronics and Laser Science Conference.

Copyright 2008 by United Press International

Explore further: Used MRI magnets get a second chance at life in high-energy physics experiments

Related Stories

How we recreated the early universe in the laboratory

May 12, 2015

One of the all-time great mysteries in physics is why our universe contains more matter than antimatter, which is the equivalent of matter but with the opposite charge. To tackle this question, our international team of researchers have managed to create a plasm ...

Unlocking the secrets of star creation

Apr 30, 2015

On April 1, 1995, the Hubble Space Telescope (link is external), now celebrating its 25th anniversary, captured the famous images of the "Pillars of Creation" in the Eagle Nebula. Twenty years later to the ...

Recommended for you

SLAC gears up for dark matter hunt with LUX-ZEPLIN

May 21, 2015

Researchers have come a step closer to building one of the world's best dark matter detectors: The U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) recently signed off on the conceptual design of the proposed LUX-ZEPLIN (LZ) ...

First images of LHC collisions at 13 TeV

May 21, 2015

Last night, protons collided in the Large Hadron Collider (LHC) at the record-breaking energy of 13 TeV for the first time. These test collisions were to set up systems that protect the machine and detectors ...

User comments : 2

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

VladimirOrlovsky
not rated yet Apr 24, 2008
or .. you can use it to send some signal to many solar systems...?!
out7x
1 / 5 (1) Apr 25, 2008
or, send a solar sail with 1kg payload, to the nearest star.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.