Top arrow pointing up



Another Institution Joins Nationwide High-intensity Laser Network

Oct 30, 2018. News


Scarlet Laser Facility

Source: Ohio State University

By Chris Booker

The Ohio State University announced that it is part of a new research network called LaserNetUS.

The U.S. Department of Energy is backing the new network with $6.8 million in funding over the next two years to help restore the United States’ once-dominant position in high-intensity laser research. The department’s Fusion Energy Sciences program (FES) within the Office of Science is supporting the network that includes institutions nationwide operating high-intensity, ultrafast lasers.

Ohio State’s Scarlet Laser Facility, co-directed by Department of Physics professors Douglass Schumacher and Linn Van Woerkom, will receive $1 million to fund its part of the network.

“This is an exciting opportunity. High-intensity lasers generate extreme states of matter like those found near supernova explosions or in the earth’s interior and they have a broad range of applications in manufacturing and medicine,” Schumacher says.

“Best of all, this will connect our students with some of the most talented scientists in the country as they come here to do their research.”

LaserNetUS will provide U.S. scientists increased access to the unique high-intensity laser facilities at nine institutions: Ohio State, Colorado State University, University of Michigan, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, University of Texas at Austin, University of Rochester, and the SLAC, Lawrence Berkeley, and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories.

The network includes the most powerful lasers in the U.S., including those with powers approaching or exceeding a petawatt. Petawatt lasers generate light with at least a million billion watts of power, or nearly 100 times the output of all the world’s power plants — but only in the briefest of bursts.

High-intensity lasers can generate particles for high-energy physics research or intense X-ray pulses to probe matter as it evolves on ultrafast time scales.

They are also promising in many potential technological areas such as for generating intense neutron bursts, which could evaluate aging aircraft components, precisely cut materials or potentially deliver tightly focused radiation therapy to cancer tumors.

The U.S. was the dominant innovator and user of high-intensity laser technology in the 1990s, but now Europe and Asia have taken the lead, according to a recent report from the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine.

Currently, 80 to 90 percent of the world’s high-intensity ultrafast laser systems are overseas, and all of the highest power research lasers currently in construction or already built are also overseas.

LaserNetUS follows the recommendation by the report’s authors to establish a national network of laser facilities to emulate successful efforts in Europe.

LaserNetUS will hold a nationwide call for proposals for access to the network’s facilities. The proposals will be peer reviewed by an independent proposal review panel. This call will allow any researcher in the U.S. to get time on one of the high-intensity lasers at the LaserNetUS host institutions.

More From News

Dec 8, 2023    News

X-ray Free Electron Lasers: What Are They and How Do They Work?

X-ray lasers allow scientists to observe ultrafast chemical reactions and behavior of atoms in real-time. Read more...

Read more

Nov 30, 2023    News

Kramer Akli elected as Fellow of Optica

This prestigious recognition is a testament to his outstanding contributions to research, business, education,...

Read more

Nov 22, 2023    News

Plasma Acceleration: Intro to Laser Plasma Accelerators

Plasma acceleration is a process that may usher in a new age in particle acceleration. Here’s what you should know...

Read more

Nov 2, 2023    News

Celebrating Kramer Akli's Election as 2024 Optica Fellow

Kramer Akli, elected as a 2024 Optica Fellow, is a distinguished figure in the field of laser-driven high-energy...

Read more

Sep 7, 2023    News

Laser Inertial Fusion Energy: How to Make Star Power

Laser inertial fusion energy may be the key to finding the ultimate sustainable power source. Here’s the role that...

Read more

Sep 1, 2023    News

History of Lasers 1960 - Today's Innovations

The history of lasers is as long as it is exciting. From the early 1900s to the sub-molecular manipulation of matter,...

Read more