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Super fast lasers that are out of this world
09.09.2016

    Super fast lasers that are out of this world

     

    At the cutting edge of science: Liang Xiaoyan, a researcher with Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics, introduces the super lasers facility at ShanghaiTech University.

    A machine has successfully demonstrated ultra-intense, ultra-fast lasers that can deliver peak power of more than five petawatts for the first time in the world, scientists said yesterday.

    “The extreme physical conditions created by the laser pulses with petawatt level peak power exist mainly inside stars or edge of the black holes,” said Leng Yuxin, the laboratory head.

    “With the laser beams we can create such extreme environments in a controllable scale within a laboratory, and help scientists in producing hyperfast X-ray source, finding new materials under extreme conditions and even detect dark matter.”

    This advancement in laser technology can be projected to research in such fields as astrophysics; nuclear medicine, a medical specialty involving the application of radioactive substances in the diagnosis and treatment of disease; and material science, which involves the discovery and design of new materials.

    The Shanghai Superintense-Ultrafast Lasers Facility, or SULF, is being developed by Shanghai Institute of Optics and Fine Mechanics (SIOM) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.

    Ultra-intense ultra-fast lasers, also known as the brightest light known to man, are capable of creating extreme physical conditions that rarely exist in the universe.

    The director of SIOM, Li Ruxin, said the lasers offered broad and promising applications, such as making an impressive advancement in the running speed of smartphones.

    The laser machine facility, located in ShanghaiTech University, is one of the core research platforms in Shanghai Zhangjiang High-Tech Park.

    The developers are expected to deliver 10-petawatt lasers next year. One petawatt is equivalent to one quadrillion watts.

    The project’s three platforms to serve interdisciplinary application in material science and life science are expected to be put into operation by the end of 2018. They will be made available to research institutions and innovative companies around the world.