Killer Lasers Could Destroy the Void

China’s got killer lasers, and they might just destroy the very foundations of existence itself.  I welcome my killer laser overlords, by the way.

We Could Soon Get Lasers Powerful Enough to Literally Rip Emptiness Apart

Lasers powerful enough to tear the fabric of matter itself are being developed in a special laboratory in China, potentially giving scientists the chance to create and study experimental environments unlike anything we have on Earth.

The stats behind these lasers are impressive: One has already reached a peak of 5.3 million billion watts or petawatts (PW), which is around 500 times the power of all the world’s electrical grids combined. There are plans to double that figure before 2018 is out, and yet these intense bursts of light last less than one trillionth of a second.

Meanwhile a new 100-PW laser is on the drawing board that could produce a pulse of light capable of ripping electrons and positrons (the antimatter counterparts to electrons) right out of empty space, showing that matter and energy are interchangeable – as Einstein so famously proposed with E=mc^2.

“That would be very exciting,” the lead scientist on the project, physicist Ruxin Li, told Edwin Cartlidge at Science. “It would mean you could generate something from nothing.”

Read More at Science Alert
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