Extreme Light Infrastructure - Nuclear Physics facility (ELI-NP) will operate two components:
A very high intensity laser system, with two 10 PW laser arms able to reach intensities of
1023 W/cm2 and electrical fields of 1015 V/m.
A system with Max. γ energy: 19.5 MeV with spectral density: 104 ph/s/eV and ~ 0.1 % bandwidth.
Production method: light photons scattered on high energy electrons.
The infrastructure will provide a new European laboratory addressing a broad range of scientific research areas from frontier fundamental physics,
new nuclear physics and astrophysics to applications in nuclear materials, radioactive waste management, material science and life sciences.
For the implementation of ELI-NP we follow two guiding principles:
- a staged implementation of ELI-NP
- a flexible design of the ELI-NP facility.
ELI-NP will allow both combined experiments between the high-power laser and the γ beam and stand-alone experiments.
The γ beam will have unique properties and opens new possibilities for high resolution spectroscopy at higher nuclear excitation energies.
This will lead to a better understanding of nuclear structure at higher excitation energies with many doorway states, their damping widths and
chaotic behaviour, but also new fluctuating properties in the time and energy domain. The detailed investigation of the pygmy dipole resonance
above and below the particle threshold is essential for nucleosynthesis in astrophysics. In ion acceleration the high power laser allows the production
of ion beams 1015 times denser than those achieved with classical acceleration. The cascaded fission-fusion reaction mechanism can then be used
to produce very neutron-rich heavy nuclei for the first time. These nuclei allow to investigate the N = 126 waiting point of the r-process in nucleosynthesis.
This type of new laser acceleration mechanism will bring significant contributions to one of the fundamental problems of astrophysics – the production of the
heavy elements beyond iron in the universe. According to a recent report by the National Research Council of the National Academy of Science (USA), the origin
of the heaviest elements remains one of the eleven greatest unanswered questions of modern physics. The γ beam also opens many new possibilities for applications.
The γ beam itself can be used to map the isotope distributions of nuclear materials or radioactive waste remotely via Nuclear Resonance Fluorescence (NRF) measurements.
At lower energies, around 100 keV, the high resolution of the beam is very important for protein structural analysis. In addition, low energy, brilliant, intense
neutron beams and low energy, brilliant, intense positron beams will be produced, thus opening new fields in material science and life sciences. Studying the same
target with these very different brilliant beams, which will now be available for the first time, will advance science considerably.