Imagine a laser that fires super-powerful blasts of light ten times a second. A laser with one quadrillion watts of power. That's one powerful piece of equipment—the most powerful—and it's exactly what's being built for the ELI-Beamlines science facility in the Czech Republic.
The "High Repetition-Rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System," or HAPLS, is being built by Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory to power international laser research at ELI-Beamlines, the central research hub of Europe's Extreme Light Infrastructure project. The giganto-laser, capable of blasting high-power pulses shorter than 30 femtoseconds, will be used to research laser's applications in medical imaging, particle acceleration, quantum physics, and more. You know, cool science.
The HAPLS laser will be built and tested at Lawrence Livermore in California before being installed at the ELI-Beamlines facility in 2016. Let's hope no James Bond villains intercept it along the way. [Lawrence Livermore National Labs via Geek]
Pictured above is the Mercury laser, built by Livermore researchers in the late 1990s. The HAPLS system will use similar diode technology to reliably fire multiple blasts per second for hours on end and will look preeeetty much the same.