Jul 31, 2015 I Paul Seaburn

Japan Tests Death Star Laser – Now Looking For Death Star

We’ve just seen the announcement of a new so-called non-lethal “noise weapon” that sends a sound with the decibel level of a fighter jet to a specific target using a laser beam as its delivery device. Next, Japan test-fires a so-called “Death Star” laser capable of producing energy equal to 1,000 times Earth’s total power consumption – in other words, enough power to destroy a Star Wars Death Star. Meanwhile, researchers in the U.S. have created the first white laser that can provide more efficient lighting and someday replace Wi-Fi with high speed Internet connections via a light bulb. Death and destruction or illumination and communications – are lasers the light of good or evil?

According to the journal Plasma Physics and Controlled Fusion, researchers at Osaka University have created and tested a 300-foot-long Laser For Fast Experiments (LFEX) that beamed a 2-petawatt (two quadrillion watt) pulse for one picosecond (a trillionth of a second). Is that enough to demolish a Death Star?

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How the Death Star laser works

In a previous experiment, a 50 kilowatt laser was used to a drone at a distance of a mile. The LFEX was 10 billion times more powerful than that. You do the math. Did that pulse dim the lights in Japan? Not at all, since the LFEX used the same amount of energy needed to power a microwave for two seconds.

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The 300-foot-long Laser For Fast Experiments

Moving over to the side of good, Nature Nanotechnology reports that researchers from Arizona State University have created the first semiconductor lasers can emit the full color range of the visible spectrum that are required to make white laser light. These lasers are brighter and more energy efficient than LEDs and the light is safe for human eyes.

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The spectrum that makes up the white laser

What’s even more exciting is the possibility for Li-Fi - visible light communication where data is encoded at ultra-high frequencies in the light. A Li-Fi laser light bulb would contain a microchip that produces a signal that computers receiving the light could connect to. This has already been done with white LEDs but white laser would push the Li-Fi speeds 10 to 100 times faster.

From death to Li-Fi … the laser has not yet reached its potential where we can decide if it’s a tool of good or evil or both. Any guess what it will be?

Paul Seaburn

Paul Seaburn is the editor at Mysterious Universe and its most prolific writer. He’s written for TV shows such as "The Tonight Show", "Politically Incorrect" and an award-winning children’s program. He's been published in “The New York Times" and "Huffington Post” and has co-authored numerous collections of trivia, puzzles and humor. His “What in the World!” podcast is a fun look at the latest weird and paranormal news, strange sports stories and odd trivia. Paul likes to add a bit of humor to each MU post he crafts. After all, the mysterious doesn't always have to be serious.

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