Laser systems installed at international research facility

Phase two of the Extreme Light Infrastructure – Beamlines (ELI – Beamlines) project involves installation of instrumental technologies and laser systems at an international research facility developed under the project’s first phase. The facility is situated at Dolní Břežany in the Czech Republic’s Central Bohemia region and the systems are being put into operation with a view to beginning experiments from early-2018.

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The laser systems fitted during the project’s second phase provide six independent beamlines, each for a distinct research activity and located in a different experiment hall. Optical pulse compression devices, vacuum systems and computer and data-storage infrastructure are also being installed.

In addition, the project includes the setting up of a technology transfer centre, library facilities and other general services required to be recognised as a European centre of excellence.

Pioneering cutting-edge research

Phase one of ELI – Beamlines entailed construction of the centre which covers 30 877 m². It will pioneer various fields of cutting-edge research involving the use of ultra-high-intensity lasers, thereby helping to meet the needs of European research communities.

The equipment is to be openly available for use by researchers from academia, as well as the private scientific sphere and the business community. This should promote national- and European-level research, leading to the launch of a range of projects, as well as work on practical applications of laser technology and their transfer to business.

In all, 255 jobs will be created at the centre, half of which are for scientific staff. The facility will also train aspiring scientists and engineers, with some 118 students and graduates getting involved in research and development activities each year.

A new generation of facilities

Nearly EUR 294.7 million was spent on the centre over both phases, with more than EUR 72.5 million of this coming in phase two. EU co-financing for the second phase amounted to around EUR 59. 6 million as part of the roadmap for the next generation of pan-European research facilities laid down by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructures. The Forum brings together delegates from EU Member States, associated countries and the European Commission to support policy-making on research infrastructure and to develop a roadmap to identify infrastructure needs for the coming decades.

ELI – Beamlines is one of four pillars in the ELI research project which aims to use new and emerging laser technologies to generate the most intense light pulses in the world. Implementation of two of the other three pillars is taking place in Hungary and Romania, with the location of the fourth still to be decided. The centre in Hungary works on ultra-short light sources such as ultraviolet rays and x-rays, while the Romanian facility focuses on the use of lasers in nuclear physics.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “ELI- Extreme Light Infrastructure, II. phase” is EUR 72 534 464, with the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributing EUR 59 643 947 through the “Research, Development and Education” Operational Programme for the 2014-2020 programming period.

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