The Physics Factbook™
Edited by Glenn Elert -- Written by his students
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|Bibliographic Entry||Result |
|Applications to Basic Science. Public Affairs Office. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. May, 1997.||"With 40 times the energy and 10 times the power of the Nova laser, significant new developments are anticipated in all of the following areas …."||1000 TW |
|Additional Information about Nova Operations. LLNL's Laser Programs. Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.||"It consists of a 120-terawatt (TW) neodymium glass laser that can be directed into two target chambers for inertial confinement fusion experiments."||120 TW|
|The Guinness Book of Records. Bantam, 1994: 195.||"It's [Nova] 10 arms produce laser pulses capable of generating 100 × 1012 W of power, much of which is delivered to a target the size of a grain of sand in 1 × 10-19 sec."||100 TW|
|Harbison, James P. Lasers: Harnessing the Atom's Light. New York: Scientific American, 1998: 197.||"This ten-beam Nova laser at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory is roughly the length of an entire football field and is capable of delivering a pulse with a total peak power of 10,000,000,000,000 watts!"||10 TW|
|Muncheryan, Hrand M. Principles and Practices of Laser Technology. Pennsylvania: Tab, 1980: 235.||"When completed, it is expected to produce 2 × 105 joules an a power density of 100 terawatts/cm2 from its Nd-glass laser."||100 TW/cm2 |
The largest and most powerful laser in the world is the NOVA laser. It is locatedat the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California. The NOVA laser isabout as long as a football field and is three stories high. The power of theNOVA laser is approximately 1.0 × 1014 watts (100 terawatts).
The main aim to produce a laser this powerful is to reproduce the conditionsin the center of the sun. The energy produced by the sun results from the processof fusion. The NOVA laser is used to fuse hydrogen atom and produce helium. Duringthis process, enormous amounts of energy are released. For the hydrogen atomsto fuse, they have to be under tremendous pressure and temperature (20 millionkelvin). The amount of energy released from fusion is about 1 million times greaterthan from any chemical reaction. The use of the NOVA laser will help decreasepollution. This is because the fusion energy is relatively clean and safe. Today,many of the fuels that we depend on for energy (like coal) produce air pollution.Similarly, the energy from nuclear reactors leave radioactive wastes behind. Theenergy derived from the fusion process is not only greater but will also not pollutethe air. The Earth also has an abundant supply of heavy hydrogen (deuterium andtritium) to fuel the fusion process in the NOVA laser to release energy for everyoneon the planet for millions of years.
Although the NOVA currently is the largest and the most powerful laser, theNational Ignition Facility (NIF) is planning to build a laser that would be tentimes more powerful.
Liza Li -- 1999
|Bibliographic Entry||Result |
|Petawatt, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. December 1996.|| "The extraordinarily powerful laser is called the Petawatt because the prefix 'peta' refers to a quadrillion, or 1015. The laser reached a peak of 1.25 petawatts of peak power, about 25% more powerful than expected and more than ten times the peak power of Lawrence Livermore's Nova laser, the world's largest. The historic shots shattered the existing record for laser power (125 trillion watts) by more than a factor of 10, set by Livermore researchers using a Petawatt prototype during the summer of 1995…. |
Although the shots exceeded by more than 1,200 times the entire electrical generating capacity of the US, they lasted less than half a picosecond (a trillionth, or 10-12, of a second). In that exceedingly fleeting moment, nearly 10,000 times shorter than the typical Nova laser shot, only enough energy (about 600 joules) was generated to keep a 100-watt light bulb burning for about 6 seconds."
Editor's Supplement -- 2001
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