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Extreme Light Infrastructure Facility, Czech Republic

Tuesday 26 Apr 2011

Into the light...

Extreme Light Infrastructure Facility by BFLS in Czech Republic
Images courtesy of BFLS 
Extreme Light Infrastructure Facility by BFLS in Czech Republic Extreme Light Infrastructure Facility by BFLS in Czech Republic Extreme Light Infrastructure Facility by BFLS in Czech Republic Extreme Light Infrastructure Facility by BFLS in Czech Republic
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World's most powerful laser project by BFLS given green light by European Commission 

The European Commission has given final clearance to build the world’s most powerful laser, the Extreme Light Infrastructure (ELI) in a K? 6.9 billion (£251 million) facility designed by design studio BFLS in the Czech Republic. The signature of EU Commissioner for Regional Policy Johannes Hahn was delivered late last week, giving the green light for this prestigious project.

“ELI is a unique opportunity for future development of the Czech economy and society. It's also a great challenge for the community of scientists, engineers, architects and technicians to build a pan-European research infrastructure of this magnitude", Professor Vlastimil Ruzicka from the Institute of Physics Czech Republic.

Ian Bogle, Project Director at BFLS comments: “It’s fantastic news – this is a unique opportunity to deliver what will become a flagship for EU scientific research. It’s both an honour and a seriously exciting challenge.”

But for the London based architects, the story started on the 16th June 2009 when Ian first got sight of the project on his daily WAN Tender Alert, he told us exclusively today: “I clearly remember seeing it come in and saying, that’s the one we’re going to win…” The rest of course is history. BFLS went on to win the contract in the summer of 2009 and since then have taken the complex project through the various design stages and planning.

BFLS is one of a growing number of practices relying on WAN to provide a consistent source of international leads for projects, 'we had looked at other services but settled on WAN as it delivers what we need, it’s the only service we currently use'.

The prestigious ELI project marks a new chapter in European scientific research when the facility starts operating in 2015 at Dolní B?e┼żany near Prague. This type of laser technology is expected to be at the forefront of major breakthroughs in medical treatment, such as cancer diagnosis and treatment, and therapy and in new fields of nuclear physics that could, for example, lead to new treatments for nuclear waste. Optics, photonics (experiments involving light), molecular chemistry, pharmacy and nano-science should also benefit. Apart from basic research, it should also bring opportunities for applications and cooperation across high-tech industry.

The building will house the required infrastructure for scientific research in the field of laser development, dedicated to the investigation and applications of laser-matter interaction at the highest intensity level (more than six times higher than current levels of laser intensity). The central element of the design is a massive concrete ‘box’ comparable in size to a football pitch, with a lightweight roof, floating over the complex, providing a unifying element.

The scheme is now being handled by Bogle Architects.

Key Facts

Status Concept design
Value 0(m€)

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