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The ELIMAIA user beamline opening ceremony

The “Laser Accelerator” which is part of the ELIMAIA beamline has been designed and developed at the Institute of Physics of the Czech Academy of Sciences (IoP) in Prague, while the ELIMED beam transport and dosimetry line has been designed and built at the National Laboratories of Southern Italy of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics (LNS-INFN) in Catania. ELIMED represents a key technology of the entire ELI Beamlines facility since it will enable users to carry out pre-clinical research for future applications in cancer therapy, such as irradiation of biological cells with short bunches of protons/ions accelerated by the laser system L3-HAPLS.

“ELIMAIA will be the first laser-based ion acceleration beamline entirely dedicated to users interested in investigating multidisciplinary applications with such non-conventional ion bunches, and the ELIMED line will be crucial to improve the ion beam quality and to deliver a shot-to-shot controlled dose into user samples”, says Daniele Margarone, the leader of the Research Program for commissioning and operating ELIMAIA.

The ceremony was attended by the Vice-president of the Czech Academy of Sciences Jan Řídký, the Italian Ambassador Francesco Saverio Nisio, the President of INFN Fernando Ferroni and other representatives of the National Institute for Nuclear Physics in Italy, the ELI Beamlines research facility, ELI-Delivery Consorcium and the Institute of Physics CAS. The program included not only the launch with a banquet but also a tour in the experimental hall hosting the ELIMAIA beamline.

The initial ELIMED R&D project was launched in 2011 and subsequently formalized through a Memorandum-of-Understanding between IoP-ASCR and LNS-INFN, thus demonstrating the strategic scientific partnership between LNS-INFN and IoP-ASCR. “The realisation of the ELIMED line was made possible thanks to the experience gained by INFN-LNS researchers in the realisation of the first Italian protontherapy facility (CATANA) and in their competences in Medical Physics. ELIMED will be the first facility in the world, open to users across the globe where researchers will be able to investigate the behaviour of such unique beams with unprecedented characteristics for various applications, including the medical ones”, says Pablo Cirrone, the leader of the INFN-LNS team in charge of the design, realization and delivery of the ELIMED beam transport and dosimetry line for pre-clinical and multidisciplinary applications.

ELIMAIA will be fully operated by the end of 2019 and will be open for user access of an international scientific network particularly interested in future applications of laser-driven ions for hadrontherapy and other different fields (Physics, Biology, Medicine, Chemistry, Material Sciences and Engineering).