The Extreme Light Infrastructure ELI represents the consensual effort of 13 European countries, more than 50 laboratories and numerous international collaborators.

  • ELI will be implemented as a distributed research infrastructure based on specialized and complementary facilities located in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania
  • ELI is the first project on the European ESFRI Roadmap to be fully implemented in the newer EU Member States
  • ELI is pioneering a novel funding model combining the use of structural funds (ERDF) for the implementation and contributions to an ERIC for the operation

ELI will comprise several different branches:

  • Attosecond Light Pulse Source (ELI-ALPS, Szeged, HU): Attosecond facility providing light between THz and X-ray frequency range for developers and users in the form of ultrashort pulses with high repetition rate.
  • ELI-Beamlines (ELI BL, Dolní Břežany, CZ): High-energy beam facility, responsible for development and use of ultra-short pulses of high-energy particles and radiation stemming from the ultra-relativistic interaction.
  • Nuclear Physics Facility (ELI-NP, Magurele, RO) User facility with ultra-intense 10 PW laser beam and a brilliant gamma source (up to 19 MeV), enabling also brilliant neutron beam generation with a largely controlled variety of energies

A fourth site for Ultra-High-Field Science centered on direct physics of the unprecedented laser field strength is yet to be decided.

History and outlook

The Preparatory Phase (PP) of the ELI project started in November 2007 and finished in December 2010. The total cost of about 8 Million Euro was funded by the European Commission with 6 Million Euro. The ELI preparatory phase aimed at establishing all the elements for the start of a successful construction and operation of the facility. It included the technical studies that defined within strict safety guidelines, the laser and its experimental ancillary’s characteristics, and finally the successful selection of sites for the first three pillars. More information can be found at the EC’s Community Research and Development Information Service CORDIS.

The Implementation Phase of the first three pillars, proceeding in parallel in the Czech Republic, Hungary and Romania, started in 2011 and is expected to be completed in 2017. It is being funded by a combination of European Regional Development Funds (ERDF) and national contributions from the host countries, totaling about 850 Million Euros. The ELI Beamlines facility, located in the Czech Republic, was approved for funding by the European Commission on 20 April 2011 (€ 236 million, out of the total € 278 million budget, being funded by structural funds). The ELI implementation Phase is coordinated by the ELI Delivery Consortium International Association (an international non-profit association under Belgian law “association internationale sans but lucratif AISBL”), comprising of representatives from the three host countries and other countries.

ELI's Operation Phase is expected to commence in 2018. The three pillars will be operated, governed and funded by a newly established European Research Infrastructure Consortium ERIC, composed of interested member countries. ELI will operate as an international laser user facility, open to access by an international user community.