Giant laser system is under construction

April 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: Study of SLAC National Accelerator Laboratory explores the state of "Big Science"

Related Stories

Changing the color of light

July 23, 2015

Researchers at the University of Delaware have received a $1 million grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation to explore a new idea that could improve solar cells, medical imaging and even cancer treatments. Simply put, they want ...

New methodology to study nanoparticle structures

July 13, 2015

Nanoscience is the study of materials that measure at the scale of one-billionth of a metre in length. While "tiny" is the very nature of this scientific field, nanoscience is a huge force behind modern day technology and ...

What is the Haleakala Volcano?

July 13, 2015

Hawaii is famous for its lovely mountains, tropical climate, and majestic oceanfront vistas. Another thing it is famous for is the string of volcanoes that dot its islands. As a land that sits atop a geographic hot spot – ...

Extreme lab at European X-ray laser XFEL is a go

July 2, 2015

The Helmholtz Senate has given the green light for the Association's involvement in the Helmholtz International Beamline (HIB), a new kind of experimentation station at the X-ray laser European XFEL in Hamburg, Germany. As ...

Recommended for you

Rogue wave theory to save ships

July 29, 2015

Physicists have found an explanation for rogue waves in the ocean and hope their theory will lead to devices to warn ships and save lives.

Researchers build bacteria's photosynthetic engine

July 29, 2015

Nearly all life on Earth depends on photosynthesis, the conversion of light energy into chemical energy. Oxygen-producing plants and cyanobacteria perfected this process 2.7 billion years ago. But the first photosynthetic ...

Innovations from the wild world of optics and photonics

August 2, 2015

Traditional computers manipulate electrons to turn our keystrokes and Google searches into meaningful actions. But as components of the computer processor shrink to only a few atoms across, those same electrons become unpredictable ...

Quantum matter stuck in unrest

July 31, 2015

Using ultracold atoms trapped in light crystals, scientists from the MPQ, LMU, and the Weizmann Institute observe a novel state of matter that never thermalizes.

2 comments

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.