Jefferson Lab breaks the record for free-electron laser power
Jefferson Lab researchers say they have broken a power record for a free-electron laser, a light beam that can burn through 20 feet of steel per second. Charles Fishburne reports.
Researchers at the Department of Energy’s nuclear physics lab are working on a super laser for the Navy.
Neil: Ultimately, the Navy believes they can put it on board a ship and use it as a defensive weapon to protect them against incoming cruise missiles.
Dr. George Neil is Associate Director of Jefferson Laboratories in Newport News, Virginia.
Neil: It travels at the speed of light, so you can hit something as soon as you can see it. The other thing it does for you is that it runs on electricity.
Their research has other applications in medicine and in making super-strong and light materials for planes and space vehicles, among other things. And just how powerful is their one-of-a-kind laser?
Neil: You're probably used to seeing laser pointers; they typically have a power of one milliwatt, and our laser has 14,000 watts, so it's 14 million times more powerful.
Charles Fishburne, WCVE News