Navigation path


The Extreme Light Infrastructure - ELI

test tubes

Launched in November 2007, the Preparatory Phase of ELI, involving nearly 40 research and academic institutions from 13 EU Members Countries, has led to the decision (on October 1st, 2009) that this pan-European Laser facility will form an integrated infrastructure based on three to four sites: The three firsts have been selected. They will be located in Prague (Czech Republic), Szeged (Hungary) and Magurele (Romania). The fourth one, dealing with the ultrahigh peak power will be decided in 2012, according to the validation of the adopted technology. The facility should be operational in 2015 for the three first pillars and 2017 for the highest intensity one. 

ELI will be the first large scale infrastructure based on the Eastern part of the European Community. It is an investment in laser science and applications of an unprecedented amount, exceeding 700M€. It will have the capability to attract and offer the best opportunities to the very best students and researchers world wide.

The three countries with equal status have been mandated to start forming a pan-European Research Infrastructure Consortium, named ERIC, which constitutes an appropriate legal vehicle approved by the European Commission. ERIC will be open to all European nations willing and ready to contribute to the realization of ELI.

ELI’s vocation is to be pan European. It will be under a unique centralized management that will preside over this integrated infrastructure aspiring to promote knowledge-sharing.

In Czech Republic, Prague, the ELI pillar will focus on providing ultra-short energetic particle (10 GeV) and radiation (up to few MeV) beams produced from compact laser plasma accelerators to users. Operation in 2015, commitment of 280M€, running cost of 30M€/year, personnel on the site 300.

In Hungary, Szeged, the ELI pillar will be dedicated to extremely fast dynamics by taking snap-shots in the attosecond scale (10-18 s) of the electron dynamics in atoms, molecules, plasmas and solids. It will also pursue research in ultrahigh intensity laser. Operation in 2015, commitment of 200M€, running cost 20M€/year, personnel on the site 300.

In Romania, Magurele, the ELI pillar will focus on laser-based nuclear physics.
Since the beginning, the laser was applied to atomic Physics. Atomic processes are well suited to the visible or near visible laser radiations. ELI will make possible radiation and beam particles with much higher energy suited to nuclear process studies. The Magurele pillar will give the laser its second wind. Operation 2015, commitment 280M€, running cost 30M€/year, personnel on the site 300.                      

The highest intensity pillar location will be decided in 2012. The laser power will reach the 200PW or 100 000 times the power of the world electric grid. It will depend among other things on the laser technology development and validation. It could be built on one of the existing three sites or in a new country. With the possibility of going into the ultra-relativistic regime, ELI will afford new investigations in particle physics, nuclear physics, gravitational physics, nonlinear field theory, ultrahigh-pressure physics, astrophysics and cosmology (generating intensities exceeding 1023 W/cm2). It will offer a new paradigm in High Energy Physics.

ELI will promote an aggressive technology transfer. Technological developments outsourced by ELI to European industries will help to maintain their leadership. Fields such as laser and particle accelerator engineering, nuclear pharmacology, oncology, X-ray and gamma-ray imaging could be revolutionized by ELI. The participation of industrial actors is first required during the construction phase through the supply and development of the finest equipments and components, but also during the operation, in order to guarantee the sustainability and the potential upgrade of the infrastructure.

ELI will foster Societal Applications. ELI could help to clarify the aging process limiting the lifetime of nuclear power reactor, control the lifetime of nuclear waste, fabricate new nuclear pharmaceutical products at the patient’s bedside, or develop new types of hadron therapy. ELI will interest a very broad community of physicists, engineers, oncologists, and environmental scientists. With its broad scientific and engineering offering ELI will attract and train a large number of students in the field of ultra-high intensity laser technology, ultra-relativistic optics, atomic and molecular physics, plasma physics, etc.


More information on:
Information on other EC funded projects in their preparatory phase for the construction of new research infrastructures
More information on the ERIC legal framework