The Extreme Light Infrastructure ERIC


The Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences together with the ELI Beamlines laser facility have finished this year 2016 very successfully. Both of their research projects ELIBIO and HIFI are approved by the Czech Ministry of Education, Youth and Sports and are funded from the Call „Support to Excellent Research Teams“ within the Operational Programme Research, Development and Education EU. Additionally, both of projects will have really excellent scientists with many years of experience in major international scientific institutions, who may be aspirants for the Nobel Prize.

The ELIBIO project explores new frontiers in light and optics to create breakthrough science in biology, chemistry and physics. We will establish an Interdisciplinary Centre of Excellence at ELI Beamlines for life sciences together with BIOCEV and the foreign partners, for example the European XFEL in Hamburg and the LCLS at Stanford. An essential goal of the project is to understand photon-material interactions in extremely intense X-ray fields where new physics can be expected. The experiments will explore fundamental questions in the physics of photoemission and electron dynamics in the relativistic regime with X-rays. The new knowledge in studies on structure, function and dynamics in cells, organelles, and biomolecules will be used to perform experiments that were impossible so far. We will develop new methods and technologies to enable such measurements and answer key questions in health and disease.

The research team of ELIBIO is formed at the interface between two complementary research centers, ELI Beamlines oriented to photon physics and BIOCEV oriented to biomedical and biotechnological research. The project team is headed by Prof. Janos Hajdu making strategic decisions as for research direction and scope of experimental work. Prof. Hajdu has a rich scientific career. He worked as a professor of photon science at Stanford University in the USA, a professor of molecular biophysics at the University of Uppsala in Sweden or as advisor to the director of the European XFEL in Germany.

Project leader: Janos Hajdu

Janos Hajdu

– The 4th dimension in X-ray crystallography: First molecular movies on chemical reactions. This work started in 1981 in Oxford and utilised the new Synchrotron Radiation Source of Daresbury.
– Development of Laue crystallography: First electron density maps for protein and virus crystals.
– High-resolution studies on catalysis by fast mono chromatic diffraction methods.
– Discovery of X-ray-driven catalysis in redox enzymes.
– Proposal for a link between late steps in protein folding and structural changes in protein function
– First structural characterisation of the family of mononuclear ferrous enzymes.
– The structural basis of penicillin and cephalosporin formation.
– Proposal for reaching femtosecond time-resolution in X-ray diffraction studies.
– Estimates on the physical limits in ultrafast imaging.
– Proposal for reaching atomic resolution in studie s on non-repetitive structures.
– The scientific case (in imaging) for building X-ray free-electron lasers.
– Starting SPPS, the Short Pulse Photon Source, at SLAC.
– 1st experiments with X-ray lasers.

Distinctions, Awards and Commissions of Trust
2012 Rüdbeck Medal for Scientific Achievement
2011 Knut and Alice Wallenberg Award
2008-present: Co-chair, Scientific Advisory Committee, Extreme Light Infrastructure of the EU.
2008-present: Scientific Advisor, Hungarian Academy of Sciences, Budapest.
2005: Centre of Excellence Award, Swedish Research Council.
2004-present: Team Leader, Coherent Diffractive Imaging Task, LCLS, Stanford, USA.
2004-present: Photon Science Advisory Committee (PSC) of DESY.
2004-2008: Working Group on Scientific and Technica l Issues for the European XFEL.
2001: Excellent Research Environment Award, Swedish Research Council.
2001-present: Member of the Kungliga Vetenskap-Societeten (The Swedish Royal Society).
1999-2002: Member of the Scientific Advisory Committee, LCLS, SLAC, Stanford, USA.
1988-present: Member of Congregation, Oxford University, U.K.


Janos Hajdu portrait