Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) is one of the 35 large-scale European projects identified on the latest ESFRI roadmap. The Preparatory Phase of ELI, involving nearly 40 research and academic institutions from 13 EU Member States, was officially launched in Paris on February 21st and 22nd 2008. The main objectives of the ELI Project include the construction of a modern, cutting-edge laser facility and realization of many research and application projects involving interaction of light with matter at high intensities (100 - 1,000 times greater than current technology). ELI will be delivering ultrashort laser pulses lasting typically a few femtoseconds (10-15 fs) with a peak output of approximate 200 PW.
The ELI infrastructure will be composed of three pillars under one European umbrella. The ELI Beamlines in Dolní Břežany in Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic; the ELI Attosecond facility in Szeged, Hungary and the ELI Nuclear Physics in Magurele in Romania.
The primary mission of the ELI Beamlines Facility is the production of a new generation of secondary sources driven by ultra-intense lasers. These secondary sources will produce pulses of radiation and particles inclduing X-rays, gamma-rays and bunches of accelerated electrons, protons and ions. These will be used as unprecedented research tools in many research disciplines and in the development of new technologies. The research agenda using the ultrashort and ultra-intense pulses delivered by the ELI laser is structured into six research programs:
• Lasers generating reprate ultrashort pulses and multipetawatt peak power
• X-ray sources driven by ultrashort laser pulses
• Particle acceleration by lasers
• Applications in molecular, biomedical, and material sciences
• Laser Plasma and high-energy-density physics
• Exotic physics and theory
The ELI Beamlines project is managed in the Czech Republic by a dedicated team of the Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences and supported by the Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports, the Academy of Sciences and the Central Bohemia Region. The Consortium ELI-CZ, which already includes 14 Czech universities and research institutions, is key player demonstrating the strong support of the Czech scientific community to the project.
The ELI Beamlines Facility is a 6-hectare lot located in the southern vicinity of Prague, in the town of Dolní Břežany, in the Central Bohemia Region. This location is accessible from downtown Prague by public transportation within less than half an hour. It is in close proximity to the nearly completed Prague motorway ring, which directly connects to the European motorway network and provides direct communication with the Prague International Airport.
The ELI Beamlines facility is being built on a brownfield site with sufficient infrastructure. The site is suitable for future upgrades and facility developments. There is also space for spin-off companies and/or future industrial activities related to laser and optical science. This cluster approach will certainly foster the scientific and economic impact of the future facility.
The construction of the building started in autumn 2012. ELI Beamlines will be composed of three buildings. There will be an offical opening in October 2015. Laser and experimental halls, including a three-stones single monolithic laser hall of the footprint 110 x 65 m, with all development and installation of laser systems will be finished by 2017 and by January 2018 will be open for user experiments.