In 2014, ExtremeTech used a comparison to the Death Star from the Star Wars universe in an attempt to describe the destructive potential of a 1 Petawatt laser. And this is no coincidence - such an installation generates energy equal to about one hundredth of the total radiation from the Sun that reaches the Earth. And now Romanian physicists are experimenting with a laser with ten times the power.
The Extreme Light Infrastructure project received € 850, 000 in funding from the European Commission and includes the construction of four new laser installations for various scientific projects. In Hungary, scientists are experimenting with attosecond (1x10 -18 seconds) pulses. In the Czech Republic, they began to study secondary short-pulse sources and particles. The site of construction and the target for the fourth laser is still being chosen, and the third installation is located in the Romanian laboratory.
The power of the new laser, 10 Petawatts, makes it the most powerful in the history of mankind. Theoretically, if you use it as a weapon, then it is quite possible for them to make small holes in planets. In practice, scientists have neither such goals nor suitable energy sources. The laser is designed for purely scientific purposes and its beam does not leave the laboratory.
One of the tasks for the new laser will be the development of a proton method for treating cancer. Another is modeling effects near a black hole. Even in the plans of scientists there are dozens of experiments in the field of studying heavy metals. And it is possible that the laser will help to discover ways to neutralize radioactive waste.