"University of Michigan creates most intense laser in the universe"


Jul 29, 2003
Montgomery county MD
If you could hold a giant magnifying glass in space and focus all the sunlight shining toward Earth onto one grain of sand, that concentrated ray would approach the intensity of a new laser beam made in a University of Michigan laboratory.

"That's the instantaneous intensity we can produce," said Karl Krushelnick, a physics and engineering professor. "I don't know of another place in the universe that would have this intensity of light. We believe this is a record."

The pulsed laser beam lasts just 30 femtoseconds. A femtosecond is a millionth of a billionth of a second.

Such intense beams could help scientists develop better proton and electron beams for radiation treatment of cancer, among other applications.

The record-setting beam measures 20 billion trillion watts per square centimeter. It contains 300 terawatts of power. That's 300 times the capacity of the entire U.S. electricity grid. The laser beam's power is concentrated to a 1.3-micron speck about 100th the diameter of a human hair. A human hair is about 100 microns wide.

This intensity is about two orders of magnitude higher than any other laser in the world can produce, said Victor Yanovsky, a research scientist in the U-M Department of Electrical Engineering and Computer Science who built the ultra-high power system over the past six years.

The laser can produce this intense beam once every 10 seconds, whereas other powerful lasers can take an hour to recharge.

"We can get such high power by putting a moderate amount of energy into a very, very short time period," Yanovsky said. "We're storing energy and releasing it in a microscopic fraction of a second."

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Turbo Monkey
Nov 12, 2003
Sorry, I'm Canadian ..sorry...
Femtoseconds, 20 billion trillion watts, millionth of a billionth, sound like a lot of made up words to me!!!! I suppose it cost elenventy million to test run?!?

Jokes aside, I see a future superweapon in the making.......Laser scope of death ray?


i heart mac
Apr 15, 2002
Like it says something they could use for medical uses.

The IntraLASIK/"All Laser" Lasik works for very short period of times but very quickly:

As a replacement for microkeratomes, IntraLase creates flaps through infrared laser energy that inserts a precise pattern of tiny, overlapping spaces just below the corneal surface. The IntraLase laser operates at extremely high speeds (pulses of one quadrillionth of a second), allowing tissue to be targeted and divided at a molecular level without heat or impact to surrounding tissue.


How IntraLase Works

The LASIK surgeon uses computer software to guide the IntraLase laser beam, which applies a series of tiny (3-micron-diameter) bubbles within the central layer of the cornea. The resulting corneal flap is created at a precise depth and diameter pre-determined by the surgeon.

As occurs with a mechanical microkeratome, a small section of tissue at one edge of the flap is left uncut, forming a hinge that allows the surgeon to fold back the flap so that the cornea can be accessed and reshaped for vision correction.

Comparing IntraLase with Traditional LASIK: The Difference Is in the Corneal Flap

With IntraLase, people with thin corneas who once were unsuitable for LASIK may now be candidates. Most people have corneas that are between 500 and 600 microns thick, and most microkeratomes cut flaps ranging between 100 and 200 microns thick. Because of its precision, the IntraLase appears capable of more reliably and consistently producing corneal flaps as thin as 100 microns.