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Attosecond Laser Facility Gets EC Funding

Photonics Spectra
Aug 2014
BRUSSELS, May 28 2014 — The European Commission recently approved € 111 million (about $150 million) to build an attosecond laser research complex in Hungary.

This will be the third of four parts in a pan-European laser research hub dubbed Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI).

Known as the Attosecond Light Pulse Source (ELI-ALPS), the new facility is to be built near the University of Szeged and is expected to be staffed by 250 scientists by 2020. Its focus will be on applications in biology, biophysics and medicine, chemistry, materials science and energy.

The facility will use NIR femtosecond pulses to drive various secondary sources including terahertz, mid-IR, UV, extreme UV and X-ray pulses with durations from a few picoseconds to attoseconds, depending on the wavelength.

The total costs of the project (including Hungary’s contribution) amount to € 130.5 million (about $177.4 million).

Johannes Hahn, the European Commissioner for regional policy, said ELI-ALPS will give Hungary “a chance to put itself firmly on the map of European research, to retain highly-specialized workers — reversing the ‘brain drain,’ attracting new companies to the region and giving Hungary's young and more established scientists alike new and exciting opportunities.”

The European Commission previously allocated € 416 million (about $565 million) for the first two ELI pillars: the Beamlines Facility in the Czech Republic for examining plasma and nonlinear quantum electrodynamics, and the Nuclear Physics Facility in Romania for exploring photonuclear reactions and other phenomena. A fourth pillar, the Ultra High Field Facility, is planned to build on technologies developed at the first three pillars. A location has not yet been chosen.

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