ELI-ALPS: Research drives collaborative laser project

The high-tech ELI-ALPS laser technology research facility is advancing scientific understanding and serves as the backbone of the EU’s laser research infrastructure.

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The ELI-ALPS research facility is set to develop high-tech laser technology. Specifically, it will focus on the generation and application of super-short pulses with very high repetition rates. These lasers are valuable to applied research, as they allow scientists to observe basic processes in atoms and molecules, and reveal light-matter interactions on the surface of solid substances.

The end objective of this research is to make a wide range of ultra-short light pulses available to the international scientific community, advancing research in the fields of biology, chemistry, material science, energy and medicine.

Based in Hungary, the site was chosen for the region’s high number of scientific facilities. The project is expected to attract hundreds of scientists, advancing the careers of many. Located within the University of Szeged’s science park, the research facility is part of a larger effort to develop laser technology across Europe. In addition to the Hungarian operation, similar facilities are being built in the Czech Republic and Romania.

Multi-phased construction planned

Construction of the research facility is planned in two phases, giving scientists time to develop the pioneering laser technology required for the facility’s many projects. When complete, the campus will comprise four buildings, each housing specific functions. It is expected to be fully operational by 2018.

ELI-ALPS is one part of the "Extreme Light Infrastructure"(ELI), which was identified in 2006 by the European Strategy Forum on Research Infrastructure (ESFRI) as one of the top priority projects of research infrastructure for Europe. It is the third pillar of the ELI pan-European Laser facility. The Commission approved EUR 236 million in funding for the first ELI pillar in the Czech Republic in April 2011 and EUR 180 million for the second pillar in Romania. A fourth pillar will be built in a location that has yet to be determined.

ELI will involve 40 research and academic institutions from 13 Member States. During the implementation of the ELI project, representatives of the host countries (Czech Republic, Romania and Hungary) constitute an international non-profit association under the name of "Extreme-Light-Infrastructure Delivery Consortium International Association (ELI-DC)". ELI-HU Research and Development Non-Profit Limited Liability Company represents Hungary and ELI-ALPS in this ELI-DC, which was formally established on 11 April 2013. It is the first pan-European multidisciplinary network to research the potential of state-of-the-art laser technology.

Total investment and EU funding

Total investment for the project “Attosecond Light Pulse Source (ALPS) of the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI)” is EUR 130 550 459, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund is contributing EUR 110 967 80 from the Operational Programme “Economic Development” for the 2007 to 2013 programming period. Work falls under the priority axis “R&D and innovation to encourage competitiveness”. This is the first phase of the project which counts two phases in total.  The second phase of this project will be financed by the EU during the 2014-2020 programming period.

Draft date