ELI-NP will be the Romanian research center pillar of the European distributed infrastructure ELI. ELI-NP will be based on two main systems: A laser that will produce two 10PW beams, and a gamma beam system that will produce highly collimated, high intensity gamma radiation with tunable energy up to 20MeV. 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 research that will soon find applications in materials science, management of nuclear materials and life sciences.
The project, valued at almost 300M Euro without VAT, received from the European Commission the approval for funding of the first phase (180M Euro) from Structural Funds (SOP IEC) and began implementation on the Măgurele Physics campus (near Bucharest). ELI-NP is to be completed and start operation in 2018 under an “open access” scheme.
• The extremely high intensity of the laser beam will allow the study of phenomena anticipated by theory, such as vacuum birefringence and pair creation in intense electric fields.
• New methods of identification and remote characterisation of nuclear materials will be investigated. These methods will consequently find many applications, spanning from homeland security (remote automatic scanning of transport conteiners) to nuclear waste management.
• New ways of producing more efficiently radioisotopes currently used in medicine and the producing of newly proposed ones are also a promising research direction for the new infrastructure. The intense neutron source at ELI-NP will find applications in the study of nanostructured systems, molecular and biomolecular physics.
• Simultaneous use of the high intensity gamma and laser beams will enable the study of materials behaviour in extreme radiation conditions and is of great interest for the production of nuclear power plants components as simulation of long functioning periods becoming possible.
•Particles acceleration using of high-intensity laser beams. This is fundamentally different from current employed techniques and has many advantages including a much higher density (108 times with respect to an accelerator beam) and a large beam width, The beam with is advantageous for hadron-therapy as in current proton/ion cancer therapies, the classical acceleratored beam must be scattered up to the desired width and potentially dangerous secondary neutrons are emitted.
• Terahertz lasers. These frequencies lies in the frequency range beyond the possibilities of common electronics but below optical equipment. This radiation corresponds to rotation frequencies of large molecules and characteristic frequencies of some superconductor. These can be a powerful tool and uses include imaging of biological tissue; quality control in pharmaceutical and semiconductor industries; tomography in medicine; remote security screening. Currently, terahertz radiation is only produced in synchrotrons and linear accelerators which are very large and expensive equipment.
ELI-NP has the potential to be, for many years, in the forefront of worldwide science from theoretical physics to biology. ELI-NP has a great flexibility to cover various interdisciplinary area, as a consequence of the possibility to employ simultaneously in experiments multiple radiation types, produced by equipment that will be unique at the moment of entering operation.
The access to the infrastructure will be “open access” for not-for-profit organisations, researchers being able to submit proposals for experiments, then evaluated and selected by an international commission. Part of the operation time will be allocated to private companies that will pay the access costs, thus bringing a contribution to the ELI-NP operation costs.