01 January 2007 ICFO in the European project ELI

ICFO’s Attoscience and Ultrafast Optics Group participates in the European Project \"ELI - Extreme Light Infrastructure\" The Attoscience and Ultrafast Optics (AUO) group, led by Prof. Jens Biegert, is participating in the European Project \"ELI - Extreme Light Infrastructure\".

The mission of ELI is to provide, similarly to the XFEL or ESRF, the first infrastructure dedicated to the fundamental study of laser- matter interaction in a new and unsurpassed regime of laser intensity: the ultra-relativistic regime (> 10^23 W/cm²).

At its center would be an exawatt-class laser ~1000 times more powerful than either the Laser Mégajoule in France or the National Ignition Facility (NIF) in the US. In contrast to these projects, ELI would attain its extreme power from the shortness of its pulses (femtosecond and attosecond).

ELI serves to investigate a new generation of compact accelerators delivering energetic particle and radiation beams of femtosecond (10^-15s) to attosecond (10^-18s) duration. Relativistic compression offers the potential of intensities exceeding >10^25 W/cm², which would challenge the vacuum critical field as well as provide a new avenue to ultrafast attosecond to zeptosecond (10^-21s) studies of laser-matter interaction.

ELI would bring wide benefits to society ranging from improvement of oncology treatment, medical imaging, fast electronics and our understanding of aging nuclear reactor materials to development of new methods of nuclear waste processing.