From 1st January 2018, the project of the ELI Beamlines research centre ADONIS has been launched. The name is an abbreviation derived from the title Advanced research using high intensity laser produced photons and particles. The project will run until the end of October 2022 and is funded by the Operational Program Research, Development and Education from the Excellence Research Challenge.

Project ADONIS

High intensity lasers are proposed to drive advanced short pulse optical, IR, x-ray and particle beams (secondary sources) beyond state of the art by controlling and extending the parameters of lasers and secondary sources concerning their intensities, stability, synchronization, quality, energy range and repetition rates. This allows performing new investigations spanning the range from fundamental to applied sciences and medicine, ultimately leading to a better understanding of nature and providing future societal benefits. The proposed upgrade of the existing facility will extend the scope of societal and fundamental applications and widen the potential user base, in particular from the industrial sector, while continuing to provide a unique research platform for the academic sector. ELI’s worldwide competitiveness will increase considerable, making it the foremost user installation in the European landscape and at the same time positioning the Czech Republic at the forefront of photonic research.

The projected center development is thus two-fold: enhancing the capabilities and versatility of the laser systems and subsequently use these improved lasers for new experimental possibilities. There is therefore a strong interconnectivity/interdependence of lasers and experimental applications. Improving the lasers leads directly to improving the endstations, beamlines and platforms of ELI-Beamlines.

The ELI-BL project is a unique endeavor in the field of photonic-based research worldwide and also the first large-scale user facility in this domain. By construction it will serve the academic research community as much as the applied research community, which is oriented towards industry, societal benefits and medicine and health sector. By its very nature, projects on the scale of ELI-BL are many years in the making. During this construction, installation and commissioning period new technological developments take place, which are of prime importance to the project especially in such unexplored field of physics. Any facility, which intends to remain state-of-the-art has therefore to upgrade continuously, even before commissioning is over. In order to remain competitive ELI-BL has to innovate in parallel to construction and commissioning. ELI-BL cannot afford to be out-of-date the moment it opens its doors to the prospective user community. The present technological infrastructure is designed in such a way as to allow a very efficient and rapid upgrade within the existing building layout. Any upgrade will therefore be very cost-effective, as almost all expenditure goes directly into equipment destined for the users and only minimally into adjusting the building infrastructure.

The specific nature of the ELI-BL user facility is its multi-disciplinary features as far as its laser systems and corresponding usage is concerned. The planned upgrade will affect each of the dedicated experimental target areas in the infrastructure in a particular way. Nevertheless, the specific upgrades are not completely independent and have to be considered interconnected since both the laser development and the fundamental science new achievements will allow enhancing the features of the developed secondary radiation and particle sources, thus, as a consequence, the user capabilities at the end-stations.

The trend in laser-based research are sophisticated pump-probe experiments which require synchronized multiple laser beams. The scope of experimental possibilities is enhanced considerably by increasing the wavelengths available as well as variability of pulse lengths and number of beams.

The details of the improved capabilities are presented in chapter 5 of this document for lasers as well as experiments. The project outputs and activities inscribe themselves in the generic domain “Photonics” and “Industrial Biotechnologies” of the National RIS3 strategy. The excellent research, which will become possible, will give consequently excellent scientific achievements. New paths of applied and fundamental research will be opened.

ADONIS is devided into nine programmes:

Research programme I: DUHA (Dual-beam Ultra-fast High energy OPCPA Amplifier)

Programme leader: Bedřich Rus
Programme coordinator: Johnathan Tyler Green

ELI-Beamlines is a facility dedicated to fundamental research in a wide range of fields including chemistry, physics, medicine, and materials science. The mission of ELI-Beamlines is to provide users with a wide range of experimental tools such as laser driven X-ray pulses and accelerated particles which can drive new discoveries and help increase our understanding of materials and processes in nature. What makes ELI-Beamlines unique, when compared to other laser facilities in the world which often feature just a single laser, is the versatility, variety, and flexibility of the laser infrastructure. Because it houses four different synchronizable state-of-the-art lasers, each based on a different technology and serving a different purpose, the experimental possiblities at ELI-Beamlines are greatly expanded. In order to continue providing users the tools they require for cutting-edge research, ELI-Beamlines must continually evolve its capabilities.

Here we propose a significant expansion of the laser capabilities of the ELI-Beamlines facility. The end goal of this research is a dual-color 100 TW, joule-level diode-pumped solid state laser (DPSSL) pumped OPCPA system operating at an unprecedented repetition rate of 20 Hz. The key idea is to use existing ELI-Beamlines infrastructure to serve as a pump for two separate state-of-the-art OPCPA amplifiers, one centered near 800 nm and one at > 2 μm (see Picture 2 in Annex of FS ). This will increase the range of wavelengths available to experimentalists at ELI-Beamlines and the higher repetition rate will enhance the quality of experimental data acquired at the ELI-Beamlines facility.

One of the major goals of this work is to double the repetition rate of the high energy, 10 Hz, DPSSL pump currently in the ELI-BL L2 laser system. Doubling the repetition rate of the laser (to 20 Hz) cuts the acquisition time of the associated experiments in half, which can be beneficial to the users allowing quicker modifications to the experimental setup or allowing a larger volume of data to be acquired. The experiments that would benefit from such a high repetition rate, high energy laser system, for example laser wakefield acceleration, have strict requirements on pulse to pulse energy stability and pointing as well. A key emphasis of the design and engineering of this laser will be stability and performance and reliability to ensure the laser is an effective experimental tool.

High energy, short pulse mid-IR lasers are becoming increasingly interesting for experiments as long wavelengths can be beneficial in driving intense laser-atom interactions [1]. Expanding the capabilities of ELI to include this interesting part of the spectrum fits with our goal of providing a variety of laser sources that are useful and interesting for the scientific community. When combined with the other lasers and laser driven secondary sources at ELI-Beamlines, this investment would enable scientists to perform experiments which can’t be performed anywhere else.

The specific scope of the work proposed here would be to develop a high energy OPCPA system with a design output of 100 TW, 20 Hz, centered at 800 nm, for which existing infrastructure can be utilized, and to develop the supporting technologies required for high-energy mid-IR OPCPA amplification, including a high repetition rate mJ-level mid-IR source, a thorough study of large aperture optics suitable for high energy mid-IR laser systems, and a technical design for a 100 TW mid-IR OPCPA system

Research programme II: F-SYNC (Development of femtosecond synchronization capability and coherent combination of high energy pulses)

Programme leader: Bedřich Rus
Programme coordinator: Pavel Bakule

The ELI-Beamlines (ELI-BL) L1 laser system, designed to generate sub-20 fs, 100 mJ pulses at a repetition rate of 1 kHz, is currently under development in-house by a team of ELI-BL scientists under the existing funding for the construction of the ELI-BL facility. The L1 project has met all development milestones thus far and is on track to achieve sub-20fs, >30 mJ, 1 kHz by November 2017. Currently the team has already demonstrated operation at 11 mJ, 1 kHz with sub-aperture compression to 12 fs, and all of the subsystems necessary for the 30 mJ operation are in production and many of them already operationally tested (e.g. 230 mJ, 1 kHz thin disk pump lasers). During 2018, the L1 laser system will start to be utilized for user experiments on ultrafast dynamics in the fields of Molecular, Bio-medical and Materials science and at same time the ELI-BL team will ramp up the laser performance to above 50 mJ using the existing equipment. The laser, occupying one half of the ELI-BL L1 laser hall, will be used for user experiments in the E1 experimental hall located directly below the L1 hall. In E1, the laser pulses will be converted to cover a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum and be used for spectroscopy, diffraction and imaging experiments.

While the current performance of the system is on par with some of the most advanced lasers in the world and the anticipated 50 mJ, 1 kHz, 20 fs performance will be beyond anything thus far reported, the purpose of the L1 laser ultimately is to serve as a tool for experimentalists. For this reason, it is necessary to continue developing the laser in such a way as to allow as wide a range of experiments as possible. Only with this focus on developing flexible tools for experimentalists and users will ELI-BL be able to continue to serve as a foundation for new research and scientific findings.

Here we propose a research program, F-SYNC, which is intended to further develop femtosecond pulse synchronization techniques and thus significantly enhance the capability and availability of the L1 laser system for the user experiments in E1 with the following research activities:

RA1 – Development of highly synchronized auxiliary system for pump-probe type experiments

Pump-probe experiments are the cornerstone of studies in ultra-fast dynamics and will be a critical component of research at the ELI-BL facility. In the current scheme, the dynamics that can be probed by this method via L1 laser-driven experiments are limited to a time-scale of nanoseconds. This is due to the fact that the probe pulse must be physically split from the pump pulse and delayed using an optical delay line. Additionally, pump-probe experiments using a laser pulse and laser-driven X-ray pulses must compensate for the optical delay inherent in the X-ray generation systems.

With research activity 1 (RA1), we propose to dramatically improve the L1 laser pump-probe capability by developing a fully synchronized, independent auxiliary laser system with energy exceeding 10 mJ @ 1 kHz (L1.2). As a direct result of this work, we will vastly expand the number of physical processes which can be explored via pump-probe at ELI-BL by allowing any arbitrary delay between pump (laser or laser driven X-ray) and probe pulses. This delay control would be completely electronically controlled, eliminating the need for delay lines in the experimental hall and giving the user the maximum flexibility in his/her pump-probe experiment and the ability to rapidly scan across different pump-probe delays. To our knowledge, no high power system in the world offers such flexibility and precision as the one we are proposing here, which will be described in more detail below. This unique capability is particularly important for research in molecular biology, advanced material science and catalysis where abilities to investigate inter-connected dynamics, covering the femtosecond to millisecond time scales, are needed to reach an understanding of complex phenomena such as natural and artificial photosynthesis.

RA2 – Development of techniques for coherent beam combining of high energy picosecond and femtosecond pulses

Coherent combination of lasers is a technique that is gaining increasing attention in the field of high-power and high-energy laser systems, and is seen as a means of generating unprecedented laser intensities at an experimental target. While this has been the subject of research at many other facilities and has even been proposed as a key technology to be used in the future fourth pillar of ELI, to our knowledge none of the ELI facilities have made significant investments in the direction of coherent combination of laser pulses.

We propose to enter the field of coherent combination through research activity RA2 by investigating techniques for coherent combining of high energy pulses requiring sub-fs synchronization of coherent pulses. As a direct result of successful coherent combination, we would be able to increase the laser intensity on target from the L1 beamline and as an indirect benefit of this line of research ELI-BL would have the opportunity to investigate the potential of this method and develop the skills and technologies needed to apply it to larger-scale ultra-high intensity laser systems as outlined by the ELI project. At the heart of these techniques is the capability to actively control the pulse synchronization, dispersion and pulse wavefront, so these would be the key technologies deployed and developed in this research program.

Research programme III: FLIP (increasing Focused Laser Intensity capabilities and control of PW and multi-PW systems)

Programme leader: Bedřich Rus
Programme coordinator: Daniel Kramer

The FLIP research program is concentrating on increasing the focused intensity control and quality of the highest power ELI-BL lasers. Maximization and characterization of the focused intensity plays a fundamental role in the operation of most experiments. By introducing relay imaging telescopes into the beam transport, fundamental benefits arise for the whole facility. Higher beam energy can be used because the amplitude modulations on the critical final focusing elements are minimized, pinhole areas protect the laser from machine safety critical back-reflections, electromagnetic pulses as well as from the contamination from high repetition rate experiments. At the same time, the imaging inherently stabilizes the position of the beam on the final elements hence increases the performance of deformable mirrors. 

The L3 HAPLS laser beam transport from E3 into E4 will profit the most from the relay imaging telescope as it is transported over the largest distances and aims at reaching the highest intensities while using solid targets.

The 10PW class high energy laser L4 has an extremely large beam size and therefore its full diagnostics is highly challenging. In order to properly estimate the focused beam intensity and to create a feedback for the active wavefront control loop, the main spatial characteristics of the representative leaky beam have to be assessed with large resolution and accuracy. An appropriate de-magnifying system will be designed as well as procedures for the qualification and alignment of such system.

The planned research activities are as follows:

RA1 - Design and implementation of relay imaging transport telescopes for the compressed HAPLS L3 main beamline

RA2 - Design of a de-magnifying telescope and high resolution spatial diagnostics for the L4 10PW class beamline

Research programme IV: FLAX (Femtosecond laser-driven X-ray sources)

Programme leader: Jaroslav Nejdl
Programme coordinator: Marcelo Ciappina

The main goal of this research program is to develop and implement ultrashort X-ray beamlines, both coherent as well as incoherent, paving the way towards studying nature with atomic resolution both in space and time with university-lab sized devices. The laser-based sources have, in contrast to large-scale facilities such as third-generation synchrotrons or X-ray Free-Electron-Lasers (XFELs), the great perspective of having only university-lab size and can, thus, offer a much broader accessibility as only few large-scale facilities exist world-wide. Another added value besides reduction in size and costs is the intrinsic synchronization between the driver laser and the generated X-ray pulses as well as the spectrum of different X-ray sources each delivering its specific features from single attosecond spikes to coherent X-ray bursts with peak brilliances competitive with large-scale facilities. An additional interesting possibility will be the combination of perfectly synchronized sources of short pulse coherent optical radiation, UV, XUV and X-ray radiation (coherent and incoherent) and short pulse high energy particle beams including electrons, protons and ions. The available wavelength range of these ultrashort pulses will be spanning from IR to the gamma range well above 100 keV.

Research programme V: LUIS (Laser Undulator Illuminating Source)

Programme leader: Georg Korn
Programme coordinator: Lukáš Přibyl

Nowadays there is a large demand from the life sciences and material science community for high brightness coherent photon sources – XFELs, see [60, 61, 62] – currently driven by expensive classical accelerators affordable only for international collaborations. Laser-driven XFELs, on the other hand, will be compact sources with overall length of several tens of meters and with cost affordable for larger universities or national laboratories.

The ELI Beamlines LUX team has been intensively working in collaboration with University of Hamburg on the development of the LUX [63,64,65] As a next step towards laser driven XFEL, this proposal focuses on the following research areas:

1) Development of advanced plasma diagnostics methods and various electron injection schemes to enhance understanding of the electron injection and acceleration and decrease the energy spread of the accelerated electron bunch to enable FEL level gain in the future undulator section;

2) Study in detail principles of plasma based electron beam transport lenses and develop advanced electron beam transport matching the requirements of the FEL.

Since early phase of this programme LUIS will also provide ELI Beamlines users photon beams using the LUX undulator and auxiliary beams for pump and probe experiments. In parallel with this programme the multi-undulator section of the FEL will be developed and commissioned in collaboration with University of Hamburg, which will provide ELI Beamlines EUV FEL very attractive for international users.

Research programme VI: IAL (Ion acceleration by Lasers)

Programme leader: Daniele Margarone
Programme coordinator: Marco Borghesi, Sergey S. Bulanov

The Research Program “Ion Acceleration by Lasers” will focus on the demonstration of proof-of-principle experiments aimed to envision future fundamental and applied science, including societal applications in various areas. The optimization of the developed secondary sources (proton/ion beams) in terms of beam quality and reproducibility (spatial profile, pointing, divergence and energy stability) will be a crucial issue. In order to realize such a challenging and wide range of envisioned activities, the scientific group, who is currently implementing the ion acceleration target area at ELI-Beamlines (ELIMAIA beamline), will be involved in the project with additional support provided by international strategic partners specialized in this field.

The development of short bunches of particles (protons and heavier ions) beyond the state-of-the-art will allow to perform new investigations ranging from fundamental to applied sciences and, ultimately, medicine, thus leading to a better understanding of nature and improving of life and health. Such non-conventional ion beams are very promising for a wide range of applications such as irradiation of sample of interest for biomedicine and material science, innovative approaches to hadrontherapy, time-resolved pump-probe investigations (sub-nanosecond resolution), pulsed radiolysis, radiation damage of different materials/detectors (ultrahigh dose rate) and advanced nuclear reactions for generation of secondary sources (alphas, neutrons,…).

Within the project we will focus on certain areas of development which will strongly enhance the Science and Technology capability at ELI-Beamlines in the target area dedicated to ion acceleration. In fact, we aim at implementing advanced and complementary experimental setups which are currently not covered at the ELI-Beamlines user facility. The general goals to be achieved within this research project are:

  1. design, development and implementation of new advanced schemes for laser driven ion acceleration;
  2. design, development and implementation of additional secondary sources (alpha-particles, neutrons) and their combination with the available ion beams for multidisciplinary applications (including advanced user end-stations);
  3. design, development and implementation of advanced experimental setups (including diagnostics and targetry) for a full control of laser driven ion beams both for fundamental science and for multidisciplinary user applications.

Research programme VII: EAL (Electron Acceleration by Lasers)

Programme leader: Tadzio Levato

Programme coordinators: Victor Malka, Dino Jaroszynski, Giannini Vincenzo

The Research Program “Electron acceleration by Lasers” will focus on the demonstration of proof-of-principle experiments aimed to envision future fundamental and applied science, including societal applications in various areas. The optimization of the developed secondary sources (particle beams) in terms of beam quality and reproducibility (spatial profile, pointing, divergence and energy stability) will be a crucial issue. In order to realize such a challenging and wide range of envisioned activities, the scientific group, who is currently implementing the high-energy electrons target areas at ELI-Beamlines ( the “High-energy Electron by Laser” –HELL- experimental platform), will be involved in the project with additional support provided by international strategic partners.

The development of short bunches of electrons, as well as gamma-rays, beyond the state-of-the-art will allow to perform new investigations ranging from fundamental to applied sciences and, ultimately, medicine, thus leading to a better understanding of nature and improving of life and health. Such non-conventional particle beams are very promising for a wide range of applications such as irradiation of sample of interest for biomedicine and material science, innovative approaches to radiotherapy, time-resolved pump-probe investigations (sub-picosecond resolution), pulsed radiolysis with electrons, radiation damage of different materials/detectors (high dose rate), generation of secondary sources for compact gamma-ray sources, medical diagnostics (X-rays, gamma-rays) and advanced nuclear reactions (neutrons, muons). In fact, the requested resources to develop laser driven electron sources within the RP “Electron acceleration by Lasers”  will also support other research programmes within this project such as FLAX (X-rays and gamma-ray sources), LUIS (laser driven XFEL beamline), MBMS (Applications of secondary sources), Hi2LMI (high density plasma backlighter for probing and Exotic Physics).

Within the project we will focus on certain areas of development which will strongly enhance the science and technology capability at ELI-Beamlines in the target areas dedicated to high-energy electron acceleration. In fact, we aim at implementing advanced experimental setups which currently are not covered at ELI-Beamlines. The general goals to be achieved within this research project are:

  1. design and implementation of new advanced schemes for laser driven electron acceleration oriented to the stability improvement and energy enhancement;
  2. development of advanced experimental setups (including diagnostics and targetry) for a full control of a “laser-electron collider” both for fundamental science and generation of additional secondary sources (gamma-rays, X-rays, neutrons, muons) and their combination with the available particle beams for multidisciplinary applications at the available user end-stations.

Research programme VIII: MBMS (Molecular Bio-medical and Materials Science)

Programme leader: Jacob Andreasson

The research program for Material, Bio-medical and Material Science (MBMS) will upgrade and develop the ELI Beamlines scientific end-stations used to study electron and molecular dynamics, coherent diffractive imaging and the interactions between electronic, magnetic, optical and structural properties of new advanced materials. These upgrades will allow unique experimental capabilities based on combinations of synchronized pulsed light sources covering a wide range of the electromagnetic spectrum (from THz to hard X-rays). The MBMS research program will also participate actively in research at major international user facilities such as synchrotrons and X-ray Free Electron Lasers and have active collaborations with leading international research laboratories.

Research programme IX: Hi2LMI (High intensity & high-energy laser-matter interaction)

Programmeleader: Stefan Weber

The high-intensity and high-energy reserach program of ELI-Beamlines is centered in the experimental hall E3 around the plasma physics platform (P3) and managed by the experimental groups R5 and R6. P3 is a unique technological infrastructure for investigating high-intensity and high-energy laser-matter interaction offering multiple synchronized laser beams. On the one side the experimental/technological setup is geared towards the operation of the first 10 PW installation worlwide. This area of research will explore the new physics regime dominated by radiation-reaction effects, pair creation and gamma-photon production. On the other side the research also explores high-energy density physics phenomena using the same laser in un-compressed configuration together with new, unique diagnostic tools to advance the understanding of warm dense matter and laboratory astrophysics phenomena. To explore these new regimes of laser-matter interaction in an optimized way and considerably increase the potential of the installation as a user facility an upgrade around the 10 PW installation is proposed in this research program. There is a very strong synergy of the experimental research group R5 and the theory/simulation group R6 (under the same leadership), which provides input and support for the forthcoming experiments. The nonlinearity and complexity of the interaction processes require large-scale simulation support. The success of the experimental program is therefore tied to a strong simulation initiative depending on local high-performance computing capabilities.