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ELISS 2021: more than 300 participants from 29 countries

17 Sep 2021

On 24 – 27 August 2021, the 8th edition of the ELI Summer School series took place online, hosted by the ELI Beamlines facility. The main goal of ELISS is to provide young scientists with a comprehensive overview of the generation and application of intense laser pulses and laser-driven particle and radiation sources. As the first ELISS marked by the recent establishment of ELI ERIC, the ALPS and Beamlines facilities cooperated closely to introduce all the research opportunities for young professionals provided by the ELI infrastructure.

This year’s ELI Summer School offered 26 lectures and 8 workshops for young scientists to introduce them to the most recent achievements and innovations of the generation and application of intense laser pulses, as well as the available systems, end-stations, and overall research opportunities provided by the ELI facilities. The program kicked off with an overview presentation about the recently established Extreme Light Infrastrastructure ERIC by ELI ERIC Director General, Allen Weeks, in addition to an introduction to the IMPULSE project which facilitates the integration and joint operations of ELI ALPS and ELI Beamlines.

More than 300 summer school students from 29 countries followed the scientific program throughout the week. Each facility gave a respective overview, followed by scientific presentations such as the Fundamentals of Laser Physics, Applications of Nonlinear Phenomena in Laser Physics, Ultra-flash Radiobiology with Laser Driven Ion Beams, Laser plasma accelerator based X-ray sources, Plasma Optics, Laboratory Astrophysics, and Laser Wakefield Acceleration and Betatron Emission. Distinguished speakers from ELI but also from several key players from the global laser physics scene, such as, for example, Imperial College London (United Kingdom), INFN (Italy), Instituto Superior Técnico (Portugal), Université Pierre et Marie Curie (France), and Hiroshima University Japan presented during the course of the week.

A special student poster prize offered a platform for participating students to present their own research. The 3 best poster contributions received a cash prize sponsored by ELI ERIC. The winners of the ELISS 2021 competition were: 1. Arsenios Hadjikyriacou, 2. Petr Valenta, 3. Valeria Istokskaia.

According to poster competition winner Arsenios Hadjikyriacou, a master student at ČVUT, FJFI, “ELISS 2021 was exceptionally well-organized despite the challenges posed by the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. Every talk was immensely interesting in and of itself but if I had to single out a particular topic, it would be Ultra-flash Radiobiology because I find the cross-over between physics and biology quite intriguing. I strongly feel that my general understanding of the field of extreme light (theory, experiment, and applications) has received a huge boost thanks to ELISS”. His winning poster described how laser light incidents on solid targets can produce energetic ions. This technology offers the potential for a new type of compact, cheap, and versatile ion accelerator for use in multidisciplinary applications. Understanding the properties of the accelerated ion beams and being able to manipulate them is crucial.

The winner of the second place in the poster competition, Petr Valenta, a student at ELI Beamlines, commented the following about the week: “ELISS provides a solid overview in quite a broad range of disciplines actually. This is always good for your future career and I would recommend it to everyone from lasers/plasma physics background.” Valenta’s scientific poster addressed a phenomena noticed during an experiment on laser-wakefield acceleration. “We observed an electron signal which contained high-energy rings around the axial beam. We wanted to know where these rings come from and how to use them. The research that the poster is based on will be published soon”.

Additionally, students also had the chance to win a prize by participating in a student test. The winners were: 1. Adeline Kabacinski, 2. Kalyani Chordiya, 3. Carolina Fajanda Vega.

Adeline Kabacinski of ENSTA-Paris, CNRS, Ecole Polytechnique, Institut Polytechnique de Paris, who won the best student test prize, has her research focus in plasma-based soft X-ray lasers. She explained “ELISS 2021 gave me the opportunity to extend the field of my knowledge and to open my mind to topics that I am less familiar with but which are no less captivating and as varied as nuclear physics or laboratory astrophysics. Intense lasers are truly great sources and they pave the way for many applications in a wide scope of domains. I wish to be a part of these scientific and technologic advances. All the talks were enthralling”.

The second-place student test winner, Kalyani Chordiya, a third year PhD student at ELI ALPS, participated to better understand the real-world application of the research done at all ELI facilities. “I truly enjoyed the entire ELISS 2021, I liked the way the summer school was held, organised and structured. In context to the scientific part, the main highlights for me were the talks about Radio biology, Plasma optics and HHG. I attended the workshop on Monte Carlo simulation which was very helpful for me to get started with the MC simulation”.

Thanks to all the students for their engagement and all the speakers for their contributions. Congratulations to the ELISS 2021 organising team for a job well done! See you next year at ELISS 2022 which is planned to take place towards the end of summer and hosted at ELI ALPS.