eli_np, the largest scientific project in central and eastern europe

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By Andra Beltz
ELI-NP (Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics) is the most advanced research facility in the world focusing on the study of photonuclear physics and its applications, comprising a very high intensity laser of two 10PW ultra-short pulse lasers and the most brilliant tunable gamma-ray beam.
This unique experimental combination will enable ELI-NP to tackle a wide range of research topics in fundamental physics, nuclear physics and astrophysics, and also applied research in materials science, management of nuclear materials and life sciences.
ELI-NP has been selected by the most important science committees in Nuclear Physics in Europe – NuPECC – in the Nuclear Physics Long Range Plan in Europe as a major facility.
ELI-NP facility will consist of two components:
– A very high intensity laser system, with two 10 PW laser arms able to reach intensities of 1023 W/cm2 and electrical fields of 1015 V/m.
– A very intense, brilliant γ beam, narrow bandwidth, with E γ up to 19.5 MeV, which is obtained by incoherent Compton back scattering of a laser light off a very brilliant, intense, classical electron beam.
This infrastructure will create a new European laboratory with a broad range of science covering frontier fundamental physics, new nuclear physics and astrophysics as well as applications in nuclear materials, radioactive waste management, material science and life sciences.
During the first phase of implementation (2013-2015), there were accomplished: recruitment of specialized staff, the components of the first 10PW laser in the world, the first part of gamma beam system and civil constructions.
“The ELI-NP project is in line with the planned schedule, in most of its components, the constructions being made and functional (as early as 2016), while the main component of the Thales France High Power Laser System a group that designs and builds systems for the aerospace or defense industry) and Thales Romania is on budget and in time, “says academician Nicolae Zamfir, general manager of Horia Hulubei’s National Institute for Research and Development for Physics and Nuclear Engineering (IFIN-HH) , project director for ELI-NP.
The use of the very high intensity laser and the very brilliant, intense γ-beams will achieve major progress in nuclear physics and its associated fields.
The scientific and technological ELI-NP development activities are distributed in 5 Research Activities, each of them aiming to realization of a significant part of the new Research Infrastructure.
The directions of research to be studied at the new facility, mainly in the field of nuclear physics and related areas, are grouped in three other Research Activities. Strong local teams, continuously growing during implementation phase, will develop state-of-the-art instrumentation for experiments in the emerging field of laser-driven nuclear physics.
The five Research Activities (High-Power Laser System, High-Brilliance Gamma Beam, Nuclear Physics with High-Power Lasers, Nuclear Physics and Applications with high-brilliance gamma-beams and Fundamental Physics with combined laser and gamma beams) emerged naturally, as a logical division between the R&D related to the experimental systems and the research pursued employing them, during the debates within the scientific community.
“Currently, the ELI-NP team counts over 150 researchers and support from Romania and 27 other countries. We are in a continuous process of evaluation and engagement so that by the end of the implementation more than 100 researchers, engineers and technicians will be employed, “says Zamfir.
At the same time, the Science Park project was launched this summer with the goal of attracting high-tech firms that usually revolve around research institutes.
The Magurele Science Park project will span 5 hectares – targeting a final area of 16 hectares – with a budget of 17.5 million euros, of which 2 million have recently been obtained as European funding.

 

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