Unique new centres for laser physics have been established in the Czech Republic: ELI and HiLASE. However, laser and optics research has a long tradition in the country.
It is the most expensive scientific facility in the Czech Republic. The most powerful petawatt laser system will soon be part of the modern Extreme Light Infrasture (ELI Beamlines) research centre in Dolní Břežany u Prahy, which cost CZK 6.7 billion (approx. EUR 250 million). It bears the abbreviation HAPLS. It was developed at the well-known Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) in cooperation with Czech physicists from the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic and it has already demonstrated its uniqueness – not only with a world record for diode-pumped petawatt lasers.
It should be placed in ELI in suburban Prague this year, with launch of operation opened for the international scientific community expected in 2018. “The Lawrence Livermore Laboratory is proud that it could contribute to advancing the scientific and technological boundaries into areas that were previously unreachable,” said Bill Goldstein, director of LLNL. “Twenty years ago, LLNL was a pioneer of the first such lasers with the NOVA Petawatt system. HAPLS now represents a new generation of lasers with previously unseen parameters. In February of this year, the new “superlaser” as it is called in the Czech media, set a world record with energy reaching 16 joules and pulse duration of 28 femtoseconds (which is equivalent to pulse peak power of approx. 0.5 petawatt) at a 3.3 Hz repetition rate (3.3 times per second).
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