ELI – Extreme Light Infrastructure
- A European project aiming to create facilities for studying the physical nature of things on the frontiers of science
- Financed by EU during the 2007-2013 and 2014-2020 EU funding periods from structural funds, to the tune of some 80% of a total cost of some 850 Mio EUR
- Spread across 3 different locations in the Czech Republic (ELI-Beams), Hungary (ELI-Attosecond), and Romania (ELI-NP), each accounting for about 1/3 of the investments. They are purportedly
specialized in three differing aspects of advanced high power lasers, namely provision of reliable all-purpose beams for users, provision of ultra-short pulses, and investigations into extreme
- At the present time, one facility is functioning reasonably well (ELI-Beams), another is still under assembly (ELI-Attosecond), and the third (ELI-NP) has been seriously delayed by fundamental
- As a consequence, none of the ELI infrastructures have so far succeeded to reach the initially set objective of mastering the very high energies (exceeding the Quantum-Electro-Dynamic critical
field of 1.3x10exp16 V/cm) required to investigate certain classes of novel phenomena.
- The initial idea was to have one single facility, which would have been less costly and could have achieved more by concentrating Europe’s efforts to become a leader in high power laser
- Regrettably, this was abandoned en route due to the European penchant for not carrying through a clear strategic line, and ceding to the pressures of individual countries’ and institutions’
frequently contradictory interests.
- There was an attempt to maintain the ultimate goal by claiming that eventually a 4th single large high power laser facility would be constructed. This appears unrealistic wishful