Today we are talking about the dynamic and most powerful laser, christened “Zetawatt-Equivalent Ultrashort Pulse Laser System, or Zeus,” that has been worked on at the University of Michigan in the United States and is poised on the brink of being sent to an experimental target. This remarkably amazing laser has vast applications in the fields of electronics as well as medicine and can also be used to do real-time exploration of outer space. Interestingly enough, the laser has been designed in such a way that it can nail down valuable details on quantum physics as well.
As part of the project, the laser will be initiated at a power of 30 terawatts (30 trillion watts), and the ZEUS team on the backend will control and monitor the whole process. However, on reaching the full power capacity, the laser can achieve the remarkable output of three petawatts, or three quadrillion watts. It should be noted that the examination of this testing has been carried down under the supervision of Michigan alum Franklin Dollar, who is an associate professor of physics and astronomy at the University of California Irvine.
In order to pick up a new version of X-ray imaging through this laser, it has been programmed to hit the “high-repetition target area” which will also be its first step in the whole process. Hence, to transform the helium target into plasma, infrared laser pulses will be dispatched from ZEUS by the team. As a result, the highly compact X-ray pulses can be received when plasma excites the electrons to high energy levels. The method has great implications in medicine and can reduce the impact of radiation exerted on the patients during the X-ray process.
Considering this, Dollar said, “We could see every little organ as well as the tiny micro hairs on its leg. It’s very exciting to think of how we could use these laser-like X-rays to do low-dose imaging, taking advantage of the fact that they’re laser-like rather than having to rely on the absorption imaging of the past.” Along with this, it should be noted that the first test is anticipated to take place in the year 2023.
In addition to being used in medicine, the laser can also make valuable contributions to exploring objects in outer space, such as magnetars. This is because a beam of a zettawatt laser is extremely powerful and intense. Louise Willingale, who is an associate director of ZEUS and an associate professor of electrical and computer engineering, said, “We can recreate the microphysics of hot plasma in extremely strong fields in the laboratory.”