There’s a new big laser in town and its name is Bijov. Named after a mythical Czech strongman, this laser is so sweet it would make Imperial Director Krennic cream his space jeans. This $48 million laser has a 1,000-watt power output, making it 10 times more powerful than any other laser on the planet.
Bijov was developed by scientists at the Central Laser Facility in the United Kingdom and HiLASE, a state research and development project in the Czech Republic. It is operated in a testing facility near Prague.
Weighing 40 tonnes, the “high peak power laser” is also a world record breaker. On Tuesday, its creators publicly announced that the laser had broken the so-called “magical barrier” of 1,000 watts in output in December. This makes Bijov more powerful than the Petawatt Laser in Austin, Texas and the Laser for Fast Ignition Experiments in Osaka, Japan.
“They do not have so called ‘average power’,” HiLase director Tomas Mocek explains in a statement, “This is a combination of the repetition rate and the energy. Our laser has the highest average power, which is important.”
The purpose of Bivoj is unclear. Its creators, however, say that it could have “revolutionary potential in engineering.” High-power lasers are used to heat treat, and extend the lifetime of steel parts, process semiconductors, and micro-machining — which is drilling, cutting, and structuring metal with high-precision.
“It is good for putting things on the map,” explains Central Laser Facility director John Collier, “but the more important point is that the underlying technology that has been developed here is going to transform the application of these high power, high energy laser.”