China’s Building A LASER That Could ‘Tear Space Apart’
The Chinese are building a laser that is 10 trillion times more intense than the sun and could rip apart space. Physicists say that this laser could be operational as early as 2023.
Physicist Ruxin Li and colleagues are breaking records with the most powerful pulses of light the world has ever seen. At the heart of their laser, called the Shanghai Superintense Ultrafast Laser Facility (SULF), is a single cylinder of titanium-doped sapphire about the width of a Frisbee. After kindling the light in the crystal and shunting it through a system of lenses and mirrors, the SULF distills it into pulses of mind-boggling power.
The end goal is to create a laser so powerful it can produce 100-petawatt laser pulses or 100 million billion watts. To put that number in context, that’s 10,000 times the power of all the world’s electrical grids combined. These immense and powerful pulses could be targeted at incredible precise spots measuring just three micrometers across – that’s 2000 times less than the thickness of a standard pencil.