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Science and research at the ELI Facilities

ELI opens up possibilities to new investigations in particle physics, nuclear physics, high energy beam science, nonlinear field theory, and ultrahigh-pressure physics. Besides its fundamental physics mission, a paramount objective of ELI is to provide ultra-short energetic particle (10 to 100 GeV) and radiation (up to a few MeV) beams produced with compact laser plasma accelerators. ELI brings together its scientific, engineering and medical missions for the benefit of industry and society alike.

ELI will have a considerable impact on several fields of materials sciences, medicine, and environment protection. In collaboration with medical doctors, laser-driven ion beam therapy will be developed further, in materials science, ELI will help clarify the mechanisms leading to defect creation and aging of materials in nuclear reactors. It must be emphasized that the optical, X-ray and particle beams provided by ELI-lasers will be perfectly synchronized due to their generation process. This enables pump-probe investigations in a very broad range of energies for photon (eV–MeV) and particle beams (eV–GeV) with very high accuracy.

The ELI facilities are the most multifunctional of all existing laser facilities, and are among the most extreme in terms of power and pulse duration. ELI boosts the peak power of single lasers into the 10 petawatt regime, compresses pulse durations into the attosecond regime, and scales up repetition rates to multiple kilohertz, constituting an evolution of more than one order of magnitude in these laser parameters.


ELI consists of three sites, housing complementary record-breaking high-power laser systems:


The ELI Attosecond Light Pulse Source (ELI-ALPS) in Szeged, Hungary provides light sources between THz (1012 Hz) and X-ray (1018 – 1019 Hz) frequency range in the form of ultrashort pulses with high repetition rates. ELI-ALPS will be dedicated to extremely fast dynamics by taking snap-shots in the attosecond scale (a billionth of a billionth of second) of the electron dynamics in atoms, molecules, plasmas and solids. It will also pursue research with ultrahigh intensity lasers.


In Dolni Brezany, Czech Republic, the ELI-Beamlines facility focuses on the development of short-pulse secondary sources of radiation and particles, and on their multidisciplinary applications in molecular, biomedical and material sciences, physics of dense plasmas, warm dense matter, laboratory astrophysics. In addition, the pillar utilises its high-power, high-repetition-rate lasers for high-field physics experiments with focused intensities of about 1023 W/cm2, investigating exotic plasma physics and non-linear QED effects.


Laser-based nuclear physics is the main focus of the ELI Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) facility in Magurele, Romania. The facility hosts two machines: a very high intensity laser, where beams from two 10 PW lasers are coherently added to get intensities of the order of 1023 – 1024 W/cm2, and a very intense, brilliant gamma beam. Applications include nuclear physics experiments to characterize laser – target interaction, photonuclear reactions, and exotic nuclear physics and astrophysics.