Today, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory joined the cutting edge of laser research, receiving $45 million dollars to build a laser system of unprecedented power for a European Union project outside of Prague. The project, called ELI-Beamlines, is developing something called a "High repetition-rate Advanced Petawatt Laser System" (HAPLS), which employs short, frequent bursts of intensely high-powered lasers reaching power greater than 1,000,000,000,000,000 watts. If successful, it will be the most powerful laser ever constructed.
With funds in place, construction is expected to begin immediately. The Czech Institute Of Physics will help to construct the device at Livermore until it can be completed and shipped to the Beamlines facility in Dolni Brezany in 2016. After that, the project will open up to the research community at large. Researchers expect the laser's unique energy density to enable new projects in medical imaging, particle acceleration, and quantum physics, among other fields. See an official EFI-Beamlines video describing the project below.