PARIS -- A 20-year scientific association has been formalized in the creation of the Laboratoire Europeén Associé, a joint European laboratory for high-power laser science. Founders are the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique Laboratory for the Use of Intense Lasers and the Central Laser Facility of the Council for the Central Laboratory of Research Councils in the UK.J.C. Gauthier, director of the partnership, explained that the groups wanted to create "a laboratory without walls not only for research reasons, but in order to better access national and regional funding."The group will focus on x-ray laser research; applications of ultrahigh-intensity lasers, including particle acceleration and interaction of short-pulse lasers with matter; and high-power laser development.Among the applications of the research is the "fast igniter." The work will accelerate the development of laser technology that is required to routinely achieve laser intensities of 1019 W/cm2 and higher.The UK's Central Laser Facility operates two high-power laser installations. Vulcan is a multibeam laser/ matter interaction facility based on an Nd:glass amplifier system. Titania is an advanced electron-beam-pumped KrF excimer laser facility.The French Laboratory for the Use of Intense Lasers operates a six-beam laser facility with 600 J of energy in a pulse of 0.6 ns.This year, the group hopes to complete common experiments and technology transfer in fast electron heating of shock-compressed solids and inversion programs for x-ray lasers.The Laboratoire Europeén Associé will also coordinate greater European Union access to groups working in these fields.