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“I don’t know of another place in the universe that would have this intensity of light.” That’s a quote from physicist Karl Krushelnick of the University of Michigan. It might sound a bit bold, but he and his team believe they’ve developed a laser beam with record-smashing intensity. According to the scientists, the HERCULES laser is so powerful that it’s roughly equivalent to concentrating all the sunlight heading towards Earth on a single grain of sand.

The pulsed beam lasts 30 femtoseconds, each just a millionth of a billionth of a second.

The work should earn them bragging rights at engineering and physics conferences, but the group also says the laser could lead to better proton and electron beams for cancer treatment.

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