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When the world's most powerful laser zaps a target, it's eerily silent. If you're close enough to know the exact moment the system fires, chances are you're standing in a darkened control room, watching a silent countdown. The only hint that something has occurred is a timer that hits zero and immediately starts counting up again. But hidden from view is an experiment of staggering proportions and precision: 192 laser beams streaming through halls that span the length of football fields, steadily gaining in strength before they finally converge within millimeters of one another, triggering the implosion of a peppercorn-size capsule.

Published in:

Spectrum, IEEE  (Volume:50 ,  Issue: 4 )