Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

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Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby yelly » Sun Feb 17, 2008 3:38 pm UTC

Holy fuck. They just built a 300 fucking terawatt laser. That's a lot of flying squirrels.
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby Indon » Sun Feb 17, 2008 4:55 pm UTC

I'm impressed at the recharge time, myself.

I really like how they built the laser by adding an amplifier to an earlier model, too. "Our laser goes up to 11!"
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby Mighty Jalapeno » Sun Feb 17, 2008 5:33 pm UTC

It's more powerful than all the solar energy that falls on the Earth being focused onto one grain of sand.

Pretty! It makes great espresso, too...

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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby Felstaff » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:05 pm UTC

Is anyone here hoping it falls into the hands of a crazed evil genius? I just want a headline saying something along the lines of
World's Most Powerful Laser Stolen By Zakron Draconio
Taken To Secret Undersea Volcano: World Holds Its Collective Breath
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby Nomic » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:21 pm UTC

Exellent, a turbolaser! Now they just need to scale it up and increase the size of the beam (it should alreayd have enough wats), and we can have an orbital defence laser cannon that drain sthe powergrid of an entire continent to create a blast that can shoot asteroids out of the sky! Then when the alien invaders eventually arrive we'll have a weapon ready.

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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby Dobblesworth » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:24 pm UTC

Ah, but with a duration of 15 femtoseconds, I don't think this Zakron of yours could do much damage. Puncture a hole in the space shuttle, maybe, but slicing open the Bank of England's vault might take more effort. Even with a 10 second recharge time, the beam would surely need sustaining to carve a hole or elongated fissure in any structure.

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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby Felstaff » Tue Feb 19, 2008 1:29 pm UTC

Why rob the Bank of England? We all know the Queen of England is the richest landowner in the world. Draconio should fry a corgi or two to show he means business. If the Queen has any sense, which she does, she will have hidden all her riches under her mattress. Also 93% of her wealth is invested in "crowns".

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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby cypherspace » Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:24 pm UTC

Dobblesworth wrote:Ah, but with a duration of 15 femtoseconds, I don't think this Zakron of yours could do much damage. Puncture a hole in the space shuttle, maybe, but slicing open the Bank of England's vault might take more effort. Even with a 10 second recharge time, the beam would surely need sustaining to carve a hole or elongated fissure in any structure.

< Insert compulsory Oh me yarm Lazers PewPew comment here >


Well, 300TW for a duration of 15 femtoseconds is a total of 4.5J, so you could raise the temperature of a millilitre of water by 1C if you wanted. Not quite enough to puncture a hole in the space shuttle, unfortunately, but watch out, ooh, bottled water supplies!
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby mosc » Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:28 pm UTC

cypherspace wrote:Well, 300TW for a duration of 15 femtoseconds is a total of 4.5J, so you could raise the temperature of a millilitre of water by 1C if you wanted. Not quite enough to puncture a hole in the space shuttle, unfortunately, but watch out, ooh, bottled water supplies!


which makes it 300x more powerful than the us power grid? :roll:
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby cypherspace » Tue Feb 19, 2008 6:58 pm UTC

mosc wrote:
cypherspace wrote:Well, 300TW for a duration of 15 femtoseconds is a total of 4.5J, so you could raise the temperature of a millilitre of water by 1C if you wanted. Not quite enough to puncture a hole in the space shuttle, unfortunately, but watch out, ooh, bottled water supplies!


which makes it 300x more powerful than the us power grid? :roll:


Power is a measure of energy spent per unit time. 300TW is more powerful than the US power grid. It just doesn't use as much energy because it goes on for only 0.0000000000000015 of a second.
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby Robin S » Tue Feb 19, 2008 7:08 pm UTC

The Nova laser achieved four times that, over a decade ago.
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby cypherspace » Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:03 am UTC

It looks like it's the level of focus that it gets down to that's the main point here - it's the most intense laser in the world, but not the most powerful. I suppose that does mean it might be able to blow a hole in the space shuttle. I wonder what the heat capacity of the flameproof stuff is?
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby ++$_ » Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:14 am UTC

Nah, you still wouldn't be able to blow a hole in the space shuttle, if "blowing" a hole includes an explosion and stuff. The best you could hope for is to melt a ridiculously narrow hole in the space shuttle. Which might be enough, considering that there's air inside and not outside, but 10 J isn't enough energy to create much of an explosion unless it ignites something (and I'm pretty sure space shuttles are not flammable).

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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby Princess Marzipan » Wed Feb 20, 2008 2:33 am UTC

++$_ wrote:(and I'm pretty sure space shuttles are not flammable).


Tell that to the charred remains of the Challenger crew.
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby ++$_ » Wed Feb 20, 2008 3:05 am UTC

Clarification: Space shuttles are not flammable. Space shuttle fuel is.

However, space shuttles do not contain fuel while in space -- and if it's not in space, why do you need to blow a hole in it?

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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby benjhuey » Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:34 am UTC

Hooray lasers! But does it play mp3's like my car, radio, computer, microwave, toilet, cat, etc?

Really, though are there any practical uses for this?
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby Robin S » Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:37 am UTC

Research. If research did not take place, the question of practical applications would be moot since there would be nothing to apply, in a practical manner or otherwise.
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby lorenith » Wed Feb 20, 2008 5:32 am UTC

My guy friend has suggested "quick-baking teeny, tiny cookies"

Also I thought that the main engines on a shuttle kept fuel in them for a rather long period of time before using it all up...maybe I should go poke around some more and refresh my memory. Cause I'm probably remembering it horribly terribly wrong.

All I can remember at the moment is that after the shuttle lands people can't go near it for a few minutes while they wait for all the toxic fumes to disperse.

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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby Bakemaster » Wed Feb 20, 2008 4:16 pm UTC

++$_ wrote:However, space shuttles do not contain fuel while in space -- and if it's not in space, why do you need to blow a hole in it?

Perhaps it is headed *to* space.

The Nova laser was dismantled, wasn't it? Which would make this the most powerful currently in existence?

I have nothing of great substance to add. Just nitpicking. Hooray nitpicking.
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby Eule » Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:01 pm UTC

Two things come to mind.

1) Dream those dreams, scheme those schemes...

2) A giant Jiffy-Pop[tm].

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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby mosc » Wed Feb 20, 2008 10:11 pm UTC

cypherspace wrote:
mosc wrote:
cypherspace wrote:Well, 300TW for a duration of 15 femtoseconds is a total of 4.5J, so you could raise the temperature of a millilitre of water by 1C if you wanted. Not quite enough to puncture a hole in the space shuttle, unfortunately, but watch out, ooh, bottled water supplies!

which makes it 300x more powerful than the us power grid? :roll:

Power is a measure of energy spent per unit time. 300TW is more powerful than the US power grid. It just doesn't use as much energy because it goes on for only 0.0000000000000015 of a second.

If you want to be that silly about it, there's probably no piece of equipment in the power grid that's taken much more than about 3-4 gigawatts so call it 100,000 times more powerful if that floats your boat. Course, that line's carrying a lot more than 4.5 J per 10 seconds or whatever.
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby cypherspace » Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:50 pm UTC

I'm not the one who wrote the headline, mate, but it's hardly being silly about it. That's what power means.
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby mosc » Wed Feb 20, 2008 11:59 pm UTC

cypherspace wrote:I'm not the one who wrote the headline, mate, but it's hardly being silly about it. That's what power means.

It's a distortion of the concept of a watt. It's energy per second but as a unit of significance, it's really only important over a significant time period (IE a little more than 15 femtoseconds). Most people's understanding of a watt is that of measuring CONTINUOUS power. Especially when you're directly comparing it to something like the power grid, you're just inviting the assumption that the laser was continuously putting out that much. A 100 watt lightbulb puts out more energy than that laser in less than a blink of an eye.

The impressive part of the laser is that it managed to focus on such a small burst window. A 15 femtosecond pulse is an achievement. Figuring out the wattage just seems silly.
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby Bakemaster » Thu Feb 21, 2008 6:14 pm UTC

Most people's understanding of a watt is wrong. That's the distortion. Not this.
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby Kaiyas » Fri Feb 22, 2008 3:29 am UTC

Bakemaster wrote:Most people's understanding of a watt is wrong. That's the distortion. Not this.

Just for the record, W = kg x (m^2/s^3) :P
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Re: Yes, a laser 300 times more powerful than the US power grid

Postby cypherspace » Fri Feb 22, 2008 2:10 pm UTC

mosc wrote:
cypherspace wrote:I'm not the one who wrote the headline, mate, but it's hardly being silly about it. That's what power means.

The impressive part of the laser is that it managed to focus on such a small burst window.

It's not even that. It's that the optical focus of the beam is on such a small area that the intensity of light (photons per unit area) is much higher than anything that's been done before, and comparable to anything else in the observable Universe. Shorter pulses have been done. It doesn't change the fact that the power unit is correct, whether you find it misleading or not. That is the power of the laser and that is how it will be described.
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