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World's Newest, Most Powerful Laser Comes Online 110

deglr6328 writes "The OMEGA EP laser at the University of Rochester's Laboratory for Laser Energetics was dedicated today at the Robert L. Sproull Center for Ultra High Intensity Laser Research. The new laser, which has been in design since ~2002 will, at 1 kilojoule per 1 picosecond pulse, be the highest energy petawatt-scale laser ever created by far. For a fleeting fraction of a second, it will deliver a beam of infrared light at 1054 nm that is more powerful than the total energy consumption of all human activity on the planet, to a tiny spot the size of the head of a pin. Previous petawatt scale lasers such as the one created at Lawrence Livermore labs in the late '90s and (dismantled in 1999) were capable of only several hundred joules per pulse. The new OMEGA EP laser will be able to manifest power densities sufficient to examine Unruh and Hawking radiation-like phenomena in the laboratory and will have the capability to directly produce nuclear reactions through ultra high electric field initiated photodisintegration."

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