ELI-NP project: International nuclear physics research centre with ultrahigh intensity lasers. Interview with Prof. Dr. Nicolae-Victor Zamfir – Project Manager (I)

* The team includes researchers and specialists from 12 countries so far * 250 specialists will work at ELI-NP in 2018 * The installation of the equipment will start next year

Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics facility (ELI-NP) will be the only European and International Centre for high-level research on ultra-high intensity laser, laser-matter interaction and secondary sources with unparalleled possibilities. Its pulse peak power and briefness will go beyond the current state-of-the-art by several orders of magnitude . Because of its unique properties, this multidisciplinary facility will provide magnificent new opportunities to study the fundamental processes unfolded during light-matter interaction. ELI will create a platform, where Extreme Light applications for the benefit of society will be dynamically promoted.

What is the stage of the project and how does it stand in relation to the timetable agreed with European financers and scientific circles?

The implementation of the ELI-NP Project started in 2012 (the European Commission approved the project in September 2012 and the Financing Contract was signed in December 2012), will end in 2018 and has 3 main components: Experimental Arrangements; Large Equipments; the High-Power Laser System and the High-Intensity Gamma Beam System; Buildings.
The experimental arrangements will be made on the basis of Technical Design Reports (TDRs). Starting off from the ELI-NP White Book, drafted in 2010 as the Project’s scientific basis by Romanian researchers along with over 100 collaborators from around the world, these TDRs were devised, were approved by the scientific community in February 2015, were analyzed by independent assessors (peer-review process) and were approved by the International Scientific Advisory Board (21 scientific personalities from the world’s great scientific research labs) in June 2015. The creation of the ELI-NP team is a part of this component of implementation. The recruitment process started in 2013 and will last until 2018 when the ELI-NP team will consist of 250 researchers and support personnel. It’s a continuous process that entails applications, the studying of files, interviews, the recognition of studies and diplomas for those coming from abroad. The ELI-NP team currently has approximately 100 members – researchers, engineers, technicians, research assistance – and based on their origin I would put them into 3 categories that are currently approximately equal: from Romania, Romanians who returned from abroad in various stages of their professional development (from those who recently completed their higher education to those that are already consecrated researchers or specialists), and foreigners. The ELI-NP team now includes researchers and engineers from Germany, France, Italy, Sweden, UK, US, Canada, Japan, Pakistan, India, Turkey, Poland and Bulgaria.
The high-power laser system is built by the Thales Optronique France and Thales SRL Romania Association and the first components, some a world’s first, have been completed. The High-Intensity Gamma Beam System is built by the EuroGammas Association led by Italy’s Instituto Nazionale di Fisica Nucleare (INFN) and includes Research Institutes and High-Tech Companies from 8 European countries. The first components, some of them of special performance, have been built in line with the timetable.
The buildings that will house the equipment are under construction, the construction works started in June 2013 and will be completed at the end of 2015.
All components are built in line with the stipulations, only the construction of the buildings is delayed by a few months.

Emphasize the main activities that will take place as part of the project by the end of 2015 and in 2016.

In 2015 the procurement of equipment for experiment arrangements and the construction of the 2 large equipments will continue, and the construction of the buildings will be finalized. In 2016 we will move on to fitting out the experiment arrangements and equipment. Of course, the process of recruiting new members for the ELI-NP team will continue.

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