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The Future of Nuclear Physics – Extreme Light Infrastructure

A research and development facility is already in the works in Romania for undertaking advanced research in nuclear physics. The facility, which is now called the Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics or ELI-NP will be using top-of-the-line laser technologies.

The ELI-NP will be the most advanced facility to date and it will be comprised of a super high-intensity laser made with two 10PW ultra-short pulse lasers. Additionally, it will also have a brilliant and tunable gamma-ray beam.

ELI-NP Coverage

The creation of the facility is part of the ELI project. The ELI project is a pan-European research project that already has a few facilities located in Hungary and the Czech Republic. The very aim of this project is to promote the availability of research in the whole of Europe by providing a state-of-the-art infrastructure that will provide unlimited opportunities to the academic, government, and businesses in different private sectors.

When ELI-NP is done, it is expected to put its focus on tackling the development and innovation strengths and weaknesses of Romania. Some of the issues that will be addressed are the lack of big-time research facilities and researchers, limited budget in both the public and the private sector, and the limited knowledge in terms of technology by some innovative companies.

Applications at ELI-NP

The utilization of the extremely high laser and bright gamma-beams will be crucial in achieving improvements in the following fields:

  • The investigation of the relation between high-power laser and matter and the interaction that happens.
  • The deeper study of different theories like vacuum birefringence and pair creation in intensified electric fields.
  • The search for new methods and ways of producing radioisotopes that could be more efficiently used in medical facilities today.

Construction and Funding

The project commenced in 2009 and it is expected to be finished this year. The entire facility will cover an estimated area of 33,000 square meters and it will be composed of energy-efficient buildings. Since the facility will be open access, a guest house and a canteen will be constructed alongside the main office building.

The total investment for the project has reached EUR 205+ million. A part of the total investment, specifically EUR 140+ million, came from the EU’s European Regional Development Fund.