Some news websites, including Romanian and non-Romanian ones, claim that the laser built in Măgurele, România (which is going to be used starting today), is the most powerful (and in other sources the biggest).

Digi24 (Romanian News websites)

Mentions it's the most powerful, however, until it will reach the maximum power of 10PW it will take a while.

Article | Translation


Romania’s high-power laser is assembled

The most powerful laser in the world, which is being built near Bucharest, in Magurele, has been assembled and the first tests have begun, Nicolae Zamfir, the director of the Extreme-Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) project in Magurele, told News.ro.



The world’s most powerful laser, under construction in Magurele, close to Bucharest, is almost complete. The team of researchers will start the two-year tests in April. The investment, estimated at 300 million euros and financed from European grants, will become operational in 2019, Professor Nicolae Zamfir, director of the Extreme-Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics Project (ELI-NP), stated.




So, my question is: is it really the biggest/most powerful laser in the world?

  • 1
    It's all tricks, it will be built, with laser headlines power is increased by decreasing time, so its like power = watts = 1 joule per second, not realultimatepower.net
    – daniel
    Commented May 18, 2018 at 10:29
  • 1
    I don't understand all the science talk enough to figure out what I'm even comparing, but I figure others might make use of the official site for the project behind the laser where they give lots of detailed specs, but not much in the way of comparisons. It's mostly over my head, but I can offer my opinion as a layman: it sounds friggin' sweet.
    – LazyGadfly
    Commented May 18, 2018 at 14:27
  • There's also en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Extreme_Light_Infrastructure Commented May 19, 2018 at 3:43
  • 2
    Define "powerfull". Potency is energy spent divide by time. Decrease time and you got more potency. So you can "easily" have a high potency laser with a very short pulse time (to be fair building a reliable circuit.able to discharge a lot of energy in a very short time is pretty hard)
    – jean
    Commented May 21, 2018 at 17:27

1 Answer 1


Likely true

The article in Nature about this facility states that it will offer a laser capable of 10 petawatt pulses and another one aiming to deliver "up to" 100 petawatt pulses (the 100 petawatt device is not a laser).

The article contrasts this facility with other extremely powerful lasers, namely PETAL in France (1.2 PW) and LFEX in Japan (2 PW).

It's hard to prove that ELI-NP is the most powerful in the world, as that requires proving that there exist no lasers more powerful than it, but the evidence favours this conclusion. A 2015 PopSci article calls the LFEX the "World's Most Powerful Laser" (obviously as of 2015), and ELI-NP offers a more powerful laser than that.

  • 1
    Considering that we are talking about the edge of current engineering and science here, we might expect that any more powerful laser would have articles in some of the top scientific and engineering journals. It is highly unlikely that someone would come up with something like this in his garage, and even military lasers of this size would have white papers associated with at least some of their technology. For that reason I would argue, "absence of evidence" really highly correlates with "evidence of absence" in this instance. Commented May 31, 2018 at 11:32

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