ELI will be a new scientific infrastructure devoted to scientific research in lasers' field, dedicated to the investigation and applications of laser-matter interaction at the highest intensity level (more than 6 orders of magnitude higher than today's laser intensity).
The ELI project will comprise four pillars:
- Attosecond Science: designed to conduct temporal investigation of electron dynamics in atoms, molecules, plasmas and solids at attosecond scale (10-18 sec.: a billionth of a billionth of a second)
- High Energy Beam Science: development and use of ultra-short pulses of high-energy particles and radiation stemming from the ultra-relativistic interaction
- Laser-based Nuclear Physics: nuclear physics methods to study laser-target interactions, new nuclear spectroscopy, new photonuclear physics, etc.
- Ultra High Field Science: investigation of laser- matter interaction in an energy range where relativistic laws could stop to be valid.
Laser intensities have increased by 6 orders of magnitude in the last years reaching a frontier where the laws of optics change in a fundamental way. This new optics field is called Relativistic Optics.
Among the important by-products of this field there are the generation of particles, x-ray and gamma-ray beams. The wealth of discoveries made in the relativistic regime justifies going further to the ultra-relativistic regime. One important aspect of ELI is the possibility to produce ultra-short pulses of high energy photons, electrons, protons, neutrons, muons and neutrinos in the attosecond and possibly zeptosecond (10-21 sec.) regimes on demand. Time-domain studies will allow unravelling the attosecond dynamics in atomic, molecular and plasma physics.
ELI will be the gateway to new regimes in physics. At the same time, it will also promote new technologies such as Relativistic Microelectronic with the development of compact laser-accelerators delivering particles and photon sources with extremely high energies (more than 100 GeV).
ELI will have a large societal benefit in medicine with new radiography and hadron therapy methods. It will also considerably contribute to material science with the possibility to unravel and slow down the aging process in nuclear reactors and in the environment by offering new ways to treat nuclear wastes.
The Preparatory Phase (PP) of the ELI project started in November 2008 and finished in December 2010.
ELI SAC Report