The highest-powered laser in the world fires up

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Washington, April 8 : The Texas Petawatt laser in the US has managed to reach greater than one petawatt of laser power, making it the highest-powered laser in the world.

According to Todd Ditmire, a physicist at The University of Texas at Austin, when the Texas Petawatt laser is turned on, it has the power output of more than 2,000 times the output of all power plants in the United States.

The laser is even brighter than sunlight on the surface of the sun, but it only lasts for an instant, a 10th of a trillionth of a second.

Ditmire and his colleagues at the Texas Center for High-Intensity Laser Science will now use the laser to create and study matter at some of the most extreme conditions in the universe, including gases at temperatures greater than those in the sun and solids at pressures of many billions of atmospheres.

This will allow them to explore many astronomical phenomena in miniature.

They will create mini-supernovas, tabletop stars and very high-density plasmas that mimic exotic stellar objects known as brown dwarfs.

"We can learn about these large astronomical objects from tiny reactions in the lab because of the similarity of the mathematical equations that describe the events," said Ditmire.

Such a powerful laser will also allow the scientists to study advanced ideas for creating energy by controlled fusion.

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