The United States is upgrading its laser capabilities with new three-petawatt system ZEUS to be built at the University of Michigan.
ZEUS could help develop methods and technologies for use in defense, science and astrophysics, such as improving detection of nuclear weapons materials as well as exploring how materials change on very fast timescale.
“This laser will have the highest peak power in the United States and will be among the world’s most powerful laser systems for the next decade,” said Karl Krushelnick, director of the Gérard Mourou Center for Ultrafast Optical Science at U-M, where the laser will be built.
Funded with $16 million from the US National Science Foundation, the facility will enable both basic and applied research.
Three petawatts is equal to three quadrillion watts, or a 3 followed by 15 zeros.
ZEUS will be what is known as a “user facility,” providing access to extreme laser intensities to scientists and engineers across the US.