The Extreme Light Infrastructure European Research Infrastructure Consortium
General Info

Extreme Light Infrastructure European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ELI ERIC)

Za Radnicí 835, 252 41 Dolní Břežany, Czech Republic

legal status




ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure) stands as a world-leading European research infrastructure, hosting an unparalleled collection of the most advanced and diverse high-power laser systems. Established in 2021, ELI ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) comprises the ELI Beamlines Facility in Dolní Břežany, Czechia, where the ELI ERIC Statutory Seat is hosted, and the ELI ALPS (Attosecond Light Pulse Source) Facility in Szeged, Hungary. Czechia and Hungary are joined by Italy and Lithuania as Founding Members, with Bulgaria and Germany participating as Founding Observers. The third, ELI NP (Nuclear Physics) Facility in Măgurele, Romania, is yet to be integrated under the single legal umbrella, with Romania, its Host Country, currently holding the status of Founding Observer. ELI marks a significant milestone as the first-ever large-scale research infrastructure implemented in Central and Eastern Europe, aiming to address historical disparities in the distribution of such facilities in Europe. By doing so, ELI contributes to bridging the research gap and closing the innovation divide. Unique to ELI is also its funding model, with all three ELI Facilities built using EU Cohesion Policy Funds of the Host Countries, relieving other participating countries from financial commitments during the construction phase. Additionally, ELI holds the distinction of being the world’s pioneering large-scale international laser research facility dedicated to serving users, empowering scientists to leverage ELI’s disruptive potential to address a broad range of R&I and societal challenges. In terms of scientific and technical capabilities, ELI’s laser systems can generate high-energy (J) and ultra-short light pulses reaching femtosecond (10^-15 s) durations and even pushing towards shorter, attosecond (10^-18 s) durations. ELI is the only facility in the world operating lasers at simultaneously high repetition rates (in the Hz range), achieving high average output power in the hundreds of watts (W) and very high peak power, up to a maximum output of 10 petawatts (PW). Serving as primary sources, the ELI lasers are complemented by an extensive array of secondary sources, collectively powering experimental stations and end-stations to conduct research experiments across various scientific fields. These fields include physics, chemistry, materials science and engineering, and biology and medical science, as well as multi-disciplinary studies. ELI’s capabilities are based on a number of groundbreaking technologies. These include Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA), invented by Gérard Mourou and Donna Strickland, for which they were awarded the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics. CPA, coupled with new pumping techniques and systems to achieve high average power, empowers lasers to drive secondary sources of particle beams with unparalleled combinations of flux and ultra-short pulse length. Furthermore, ELI has developed the shortest light pulses ever produced, reaching into the attosecond domain. In acknowledgment of their achievement, Pierre Agostini, Anne L’Huillier and Ferenc Krausz earned the 2023 Nobel Prize in Physics. ELI is pushing the boundaries of this technology, providing new insights into the dynamics of electrons in matter, revealing basic steps in chemical and biochemical reactions, and enhancing the understanding of quantum electronic materials, with profound implications for cutting-edge digital technologies.
Total Investment Design Preparation 6 M€ Implementation 850 M€ Operation 78 M€/year Project Landmark 2006 2008 2010 2012 2014 2016 2018 2020 2022 2024 2026 2028 2030 2032 2034 2036 2038 RM06 RM08 RM10 RM16 RM18 RM21 LA24
Roadmap Entry
as project: 2006
as landmark: 2016
Total investment
Design Phase
Preparation Phase
6 M€
Implementation Phase
850 M€
Operation start
78 M€/year
The impact of ELI, as the world’s leading high-power laser research infrastructure, extends far beyond driving the advancement of science and expanding the horizons of knowledge. By pioneering state-of-the-art laser and particle acceleration technologies, ELI promotes technology-intensive innovations. Central to ELI’s mission is the nurturing of talent and the furnishing of the next generation of scientists, engineers and technicians with top-tier competencies and skills. Additionally, as a flagship initiative implemented using EU Cohesion Policy Funds, ELI plays a pivotal role in catalysing broader structural changes in the economy and society at large. Focusing on the impacts of ELI’s core missions, ELI ERIC paves the way in achieving their objectives by supporting research experiments. In mission-based endeavours, the envisioned impacts are amplified, as research experiments are tailored to tackle specific scientific and technological challenges of grand societal relevance. Notable examples include the study of ICF (Inertial Confinement Fusion) to advance concepts for future laser-driven fusion energy reactors; the demonstration of technologies for a high-energy, high-flux and mobile muon source with wide-ranging application opportunities across diverse fields such as science, security, medicine and industry; and collaborations on the design of the world’s first GeV plasma-based particle accelerator, an intermediate step towards developing revolutionary, compact, small-sized and cost-effective laser-driven plasma-based particle accelerators, intended for widespread commercialisation and utilisation in industry and medicine. These endeavours rely on highly qualified scientists, engineers and technicians within ELI’s staff, the user community and the industrial partners supplying ELI’s technologies. ELI ERIC is therefore strongly committed to promoting education and training at schools, academia and the entrepreneurship sector to nurture the talents, who will play pivotal roles in addressing grand societal challenges empowered by ELI.
ELI ERIC offers access to the ELI Facilities through three modes: Open Excellence-Based, Mission-Based and Proprietary Access. Despite ELI NP not being integrated into ELI ERIC yet, its scientific instruments and technical equipment are also accessible to users under ELI ERIC’s Open Excellence-Based Access. Coordinated by the ELI ERIC User Office, this unified approach establishes a joint ELI User Programme, integrating user services across all three ELI Facilities, ensuring coherence and efficiency in the services provided. When it comes to experimental offerings, ELI operates a diverse array of parameters for its ultra-fast laser portfolio. This includes a wide range of laser wavelengths, very high average power systems up to 500 W, very high peak power systems up to 10 PW, and a unique combination of high average and peak power systems in the PW range. These primary sources are complemented by an extensive array of secondary sources, which encompass forefront photon sources ranging from attosecond XUV to the gamma range, as well as particle beam sources including high current electron and ion beams. Together, these sources power experimental stations and end-stations, facilitating the exploration of extreme light-matter interactions and high-energy-density physics, including plasma physics up to the relativistic regime, and the study of phenomena relevant to inertial confinement fusion. Another focus is the investigation of ultra-fast electronic processes that are fundamental to understanding chemical and biochemical reactions, such as catalysis and photosynthesis, as well as electronic processes in materials and nanomaterials key for the development of next-generation ICT technology and sensors. Furthermore, the light-based particle beams generated by ELI serve applications in medical therapy, imaging and diagnostics. The areas covered by extreme laser power encompass frontier fundamental relativistic plasma physics, quantum electrodynamics, laboratory astrophysics and nuclear physics, as well as applications in nuclear materials and particle acceleration.
S S H D I G I T E N E E N V H & F
ELI maintains its global competitive edge through continuous in-house technology development and cooperation with research infrastructures in the ERA (European Research Area) and beyond. Projects supported by the European Commission under the EU R&I Framework Programmes serve as essential platforms for these collaborative efforts. As an active participant, ELI ERIC shares expertise, exchanges best practices, fosters synergies and addresses common challenges in shaping research infrastructure policy and regulatory frameworks, and tackling scientific, technological, management and operational needs. Notable examples include ELI ERIC’s involvement in the ERIC Forum project. Further initiatives encompass THRILL, conducted in cooperation with FAIR, European XFEL and the Apollon Laser Facility, addressing key technical bottlenecks in operating high-power high-repetition-rate laser technologies. Additionally, ELI ERIC’s collaboration with EuPRAXIA in pioneering the design of the world’s first GeV plasma-based particle accelerator, should be noted. Another project worth mentioning is FlexRICAN, developed in cooperation with ESS ERIC and EMFL. This project aims to propose innovative solutions for enhancing energy efficiency while mitigating environmental footprint and impact. ELI ERIC fosters strategic partnerships also via cooperation agreements. Notable collaborators include CERN, ESRF and ELETTRA in Europe, LLNL in the USA, INRS in Canada, KPSI-QST in Japan, or NSRRC in Taiwan.