Researchers in the United States have announced that the high-powered laser described as the most powerful and fastest ever developed in the country is ready to be used in scientific experiments.
Called Zeus — in the translated acronym, Zetawatt Equivalent Ultrashort Pulse Laser System — the light amplification technology was created to help research in areas such as quantum physics, space, medical (such as cancer treatment in the future), electronics and National security.
According to the researchers involved, it will allow a new level of insight into plasma (a physical state of matter, similar to gas) and particles.
the power of the laser
The laser was developed by astrophysicists and engineers at the University of Michigan, who point out that Zeus has the ability to generate an ultra-short pulse of 25 femtoseconds, a unit of time in the International System of Units (SI). The value equivalent to one quadrillionth of second.
In other terms, a femtosecond is to a second what a second is to about 31.71 million years, exemplifies the Science Alert website. I mean, it’s very fast.
“Zeus will be the highest peak power laser in the US and one of the most powerful laser systems in the world,” said astrophysicist and director of the University of Michigan’s Center for Ultra-Fast Optical Science, Karl Krushelnick.
The researcher added that the laser is available to researchers around the world. “We look forward to growing the research community and bringing in people with new ideas for experiments and applications.”
Initially, all this power will not be used. This will be little by little. The laser will use 30 terawatts (30 trillion watts) of energy (1% of what it is capable of), for example, to study a type of x-ray image.
The first researcher to use Zeus is Franklin Dollar, a professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California. He and his team investigate how to make and use new types of X-ray sources so that it is not necessary to emit high doses of radiation.
“They will use Zeus to send pulses of infrared lasers at a target of helium gas, turning it into plasma. This plasma accelerates the electrons to high energies, and these electron beams then move to produce very high X-ray pulses. compact”, summarizes the University of Michigan in its press release.
By the end of 2023, the expectation is that the high-power laser will be able to help in more complex, large-scale experiments, such as quantum physics phenomena, data security, medical diagnostics and nuclear weapons detection.
See the video below for images and more details of how the technology works.