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When Multipetawatt Lasers Strike! The Physics and Applications of Laser Beams Hitting Solids

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posted on 2020-12-07, 16:34 authored by Stuart Morris
When we talk about extremely powerful lasers, it's easy to conjure up images of spies strapped to tables, Sci-Fi guns and planet destroyers, but facts are often stranger than fiction. Modern lasers on the intensity frontier are capable of focussing huge amounts of light energy into tiny, micron-scale focal spots over less than a trillionth of a second in duration - creating an incredibly high energy density. When such a pulse strikes something solid, we end up with a bright flash of X-rays, ion beams and even antimatter can be generated in the extreme fields - but how? And what applications can such exotic particles provide?





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