Shanghai Lab Breaking Records with New Laser Pulse

Feb 9, 2018

Scientists at the Shanghai Superintense Ultrafast Laser Facility (SULF) are breaking records with the most powerful laser pulses produced yet. In 2016, the lab achieved an unprecedented 5.3 million billion watts, or petawatts (PW), of energy and hope to beat their own record by the end of this year with a 10-PW shot, which would pack more than 1000 times the power of all the world's electrical grids combined. The lab is now building an even stronger device, targeting 100 PW.

Other labs around the world have similar goals, with scientists in Romania, the Czech Republic, Russia and Japan targeting even more powerful devices. According to a study published last month by a National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS), notably absent from this competition are U.S. scientists and research institutions who have fallen behind in the race to build the highest powered lasers. ASME recently convened a congressional staff briefing to highlight the NAS study, titled “Opportunities in Intense Ultrafast Lasers: Reaching for the Brightest Light.”

To read a recent Science Magazine feature on China’s progress in laser science, visit:  http://www.sciencemag.org/news/2018/01/physicists-are-planning-build-lasers-so-powerful-they-could-rip-apart-empty-space

To learn more about ASME’s Congressional Briefings, please visit: Capitol Hill Highlights Cutting-Edge Lasers.

To download the NAS, “Opportunities in Intense Ultrafast Lasers: Reaching for the Brightest Light” report, please visit: https://www.nap.edu/catalog/24939/opportunities-in-intense-ultrafast-lasers-reaching-for-the-brightest-light