The Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI), the world's first international user facility for laser research, has been established as an International Association during a notarial ceremony on 11 April 2013 in Brussels, Belgium. The ceremony and the subsequent reception were attended by Robert-Jan Smits, former Director-General of DG Research and Innovation, and by Ana Arana Antelo, Head of Unit “Research Infrastructures”, together with representatives from the European Commission and various ELI partner countries.
ELI is part of the ESFRI Roadmap for international research infrastructures of high priority for Europe and is being constructed with strong international collaborations in three pillars in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania utilizing EU Structural Funds.
ELI contains some of the world's most powerful lasers which are available for the international scientific community. These ultra-intense and ultrashort light pulses create new states of matter in dense plasmas; probe the structure of vacuum and produce secondary radiation of high-energy photons or particles. These are used to understand fundamental dynamic processes in such different species including nuclei, molecules, or biological cells.
ELI's technologies and capabilities will bring Europe at the forefront of this scientific field and stimulate the socio economic development in the host countries and in the EU.
ELI Delivery Consortium International Association is a non-profit organisation under Belgian law (AISBL). It promotes the sustainable development of ELI as a pan-European research infrastructure; supports the coordinated implementation of the ELI research facilities and preserves the consistency and complementarity nature of the scientific missions. It organizes the establishment of an international consortium that will be in charge of the future operation of ELI, preferably in the form of a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC).
Founding members of the ELI-DC International Association are three international scientific institutions, the Romanian “Horia Holubei” National Institute of Research and Development for Physics and Nuclear Engineering (IFIN-HH), the Hungarian ELI-HU Research and Development Non-Profit Limited Liability Company, and the Italian Elettra-Sincrotrone Trieste S.C.p.A. The Institute of Physics of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic will join the Association immediately after its establishment. Institutions from other countries such as Germany, the UK, France and others are expected to follow.
Prof. Carlo Rizzuto, President of the Board of ELETTRA-Sincrotrone Trieste SCpA
Florian Gliksohn, designated director, ELI-DC International Association
Michael Prouza, ELI Beamlines project director, plenipotentiary for ELI in the Czech Republic
Mr. Lóránt Lehrner, ELI-ALPS project director, plenipotentiary for ELI in Hungary
Prof. Nicolae-Victor Zamfir, ELI Nuclear Physics project director, plenipotentiary for ELI in Romania
ELI Nuclear Physics
ELI-NP is the Romanian research center pillar of the European distributed infrastructure ELI. ELI-NP is based on two main systems: A laser that will produce two 10 PW beams, and a gamma beam system that will produce highly collimated, high intensity gamma radiation with tunable energy up to 20 MeV. This unique experimental combination will enable ELI-NP to tackle a wide range of research topics in fundamental physics, nuclear physics and astrophysics, and also research that will soon find applications in materials science, management of nuclear materials and life sciences.
The project, valued at almost 300M Euro without VAT, received from the European Commission the approval for funding of the first phase (180M Euro) from Structural Funds (SOP IEC) and began implementation on the Măgurele Physics campus (near Bucharest). ELI-NP is to be completed and start operation in 2018 under an “open access” scheme.
ELI Nuclear Physics
ELI-NP has the potential to be, for many years, in the forefront of worldwide science from theoretical physics to biology. ELI-NP has a great flexibility to cover various interdisciplinary area, as a consequence of the possibility to employ simultaneously in experiments multiple radiation types, produced by equipment that will be unique at the moment of entering operation.
The access to the infrastructure will be “open access” for not-for-profit organisations, researchers being able to submit proposals for experiments, then evaluated and selected by an international commission. Part of the operation time will be allocated to private companies that will pay the access costs, thus bringing a contribution to the ELI-NP operation costs.
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 21 and 22 February 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 is 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:
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.