Devices

Scientists claim to have successfully tested world’s most powerful ‘super laser’

Scientists work with a fully Diode Pumped Solid State Laser designed and constructed in the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory of the laser center HiLASE in Dolni Brezany, Prague, on January 23, 2017 (AFP Photo/Jan Marchal

A team of Czech and British scientists have successfully tested what they’ve described as a ’super laser’ which they believe to be 10 times more powerful than any other type of similar laser in the entire world.

The ‘super laser’ or ‘high peak power laser’ has a 1,000-watt average power output, which the scientists state is a benchmark of sustained high energy pulses. The laser contains the potential to become a revolutionary tool within engineering for hardening metal surfaces, processing semiconductors and micro-machining material.

The device was developed by Britain’s Central Laser Facility (CLF) in conjunction with HILASE (High average power laser) which is a Czech state research and development project.

CLF director John Collier praised the remarkable efforts of the scientists on both teams and confirmed that it is a ‘world record’.

Collier said: “It is a world record which is important. It is good for putting things on the map, but the more important point is that the underlying technology that has been developed here is going to transform the application of these high power, high energy lasers," Collier added.

The laser has been named ‘Bivoj’ which is in reference to the mythical Czech strongman – with scientists focusing on the fact the laser is ‘10 times as powerful’ as any of its counterparts currently in use. HILASE director Tomas Mocek said the creation broke the ‘magical barrier’.

He said: “It's a huge step forward, like an Olympic victory. Those lasers "have a very high peak power, but they can only reach it several times a day. They do not have so-called 'average power'. This is a combination of the repetition rate and the energy. Our laser has the highest average power, which is important. The repetition rate in Osaka and Austin is significantly lower."

The Bivoj weighs a staggering 20tonnes and cost an eye-watering $48m – but the device will have applications in aeronautics, automotive and power sectors.

A specific timeline in relation to commercializing the laser was not formally disclosed, by Mocek indicated that it would be in the second half of the year – and outlined that they will explore the laser’s potential further at a testing facility later this month.