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World's most powerful laser.

World's most powerful laser

Ten arms join together to make up Nova, the world's most powerful laser, which was dedicated recently at the Lawrence Livermore (Calif.) National Laboratory. Each of the arms is a laser amplifier chain 137 meters long. The whole arrangement fills a large building.

Nova is a neodymium-glass laser with a fundamental wavelength in the near infrared (1.05 micrometers). The infrared can be converted to green (0.53 micrometer) or blue (0.35 micrometer) by passage through arrays of potassium dihydrogen phosphate crystals. Through an arrangement with mirrors, Nova's arms can concentrate between 80 and 120 kilojoules of energy (in 3 nanoseconds) or between 80 and 120 terawatts of power (in a 100-picosecond pulse) on pinhead-sized targets of deuterium and tritium. Nova will be used in weapons simulation studies and in a program aimed at peaceful use of thermonuclear power.

Construction of Nova took eight years and cost $176 million. According to a Livermore announcement it surpasses all previous lasers in power and wavelength flexibility. Experiments are expected to start in the summer.
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Title Annotation:Nova at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory
Publication:Science News
Date:Apr 27, 1985
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