ICAN: The Next Laser Powerhouse

Toshiki Tajima, William Brocklesby and Gérard Mourou

An international team of researchers is looking toward the next frontier of high-energy laser physics: building efficient, high–average-power lasers. With a revolutionary architecture that combines thousands of coherent fibers, the laser being developed under the ICAN project could transform nuclear medicine, detect nuclear waste and form the basis for the next great particle accelerator.



Today’s high-energy lasers can produce superb peak powers in the petawatt regime—a capacity that forms the cornerstone of the large and active area of high-field physics. Over the past decade, researchers at Lawrence Livermore National Lab have been working with some of the world’s most powerful lasers in a quest to achieve fusion ignition, for example, while Europe’s Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) project is planning to produce a laser so powerful that it could actually tear apart the fabric of space.

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