Department of Energy

World's Largest Laser Sets New Records

November 10, 2010

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The world's largest laser, located at the National Ignition Facility (or NIF) in California, set new records on October 31 and November 2.

Specifically, on October 31 the NIF laser fired a shot of 300 trillion neutrons, the most neutrons ever yielded by a laser to date, and one step closer to the amount of neutrons (about 10 to the 18th power) needed to reach fusion ignition.

And then on November 2, the team was able use the laser to create a temperature of six million degrees Fahrenheit -- the highest X-ray drive energy ever achieved in an indirect drive ignition target.

Both of these records are milestones along the way for the NIF laser to hopefully eventually create the first ever fusion ignition in a lab, the same force that powers the sun and the stars -- a feat that could provide scientists with a better understanding of the stars in the universe and help the United States become more energy independent.

You can learn more about these new laser feats here.