In DepthLaser Science

Eastern Europe's laser centers will debut without a star

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Science  24 Feb 2017:
Vol. 355, Issue 6327, pp. 785
DOI: 10.1126/science.355.6327.785

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The first of the three laser centers in the Extreme Light Infrastructure is due to open in early 2018 in Prague, powered by a 1-petawatt (PW), high-repetition-rate laser that will be used for research in plasma physics, x-ray imaging, and cancer therapy. It will be followed by centers in Szeged, Hungary, and Bucharest. But the originally intended centerpiece of ELI—a massive 200-PW laser—has quietly been put on ice. A scientific advisory committee has recommended postponing the site decision for the 200-PW laser until the first three centers are operating smoothly, which could take until 2022. Some scientists are worried that the delay risks ceding the lead in high-power laser research to other countries.