The European Strategic Forum for Research Infrastructures (ESFRI) has selected in 2006 a proposal based on ultra-intense laser fields with intensities reaching up to 1022-23 W/cm2 called “ELI” for Extreme Light Infrastructure. The construction of a large-scale laser-centred, distributed pan-European research infrastructure, based on three pillars received the approval for funding in 2011-2012.
The three pillars of the ELI facility are being built in Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania. The Romanian pillar is ELI-Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP). Its mission covers scientific research at the frontier of knowledge involving two domains. The first one is laser-driven experiments related to nuclear physics, strong-field quantum electrodynamics and associated vacuum effects. The second is based on a Compton–backscattering high-brilliance and intense low-energy gamma beam (<20 MeV), a marriage of laser and accelerator technology. These two installations will allow us to investigate nuclear structure and reactions as well as nuclear astrophysics with unpreceded resolution and accuracy. In addition to fundamental themes, a large number of applications with significant societal impact (energy, biology, medicine, material sciences) are being developed.
The ELI-NP project is implemented by “Horia Hulubei” National Institute for Physics and Nuclear Engineering (IFIN-HH) at Magurele near Bucharest, Romania. The project started in January 2013 and the new facility will be operational by the end of 2018.
During the last three years, a significant fraction of the international scientific community contributed to the shaping of the ELI-NP facility science program through a series of international workshops. The ELI-NP White book and the Technical Design Reports (TDRs) for the proposed experiments envisage a very wide range of experiments in 8 experimental areas. A description of the present status of the im-plementation of the ELI-NP project and an overview of the proposed experiments will be presented.