The network of European laser research on the threshold to the future
LASERLAB-EUROPE, the consortium of the major European
laser research institutions, gathers in Bratislava to enter a new phase
of collaboration. It will celebrate this event together with
representatives of the European Commission, the Slovak Government and
the Slovak Academy of Sciences at a launch ceremony on 15 March.
The local host, the International Laser Centre (ILC) / Medzinárodné Laserové Centrum, with its Director František Uherek and Deputy Director Dušan Chorvát, became a member of LASERLAB-EUROPE in early 2009. Since then it plays a key role as national contact point in one of the EU’s new Member States, and as coordinator of LASERLAB-EUROPE’s training activities.
“We have deliberately chosen Bratislava for this important event and are grateful to our hosts” says Prof. Wolfgang Sandner of Max Born Institute in Berlin who coordinates the LASERLAB-EUROPE consortium. ”Lasers and photonics, one of only five key technologies of the European Union, are not only essential for the scientific but also for the socio-economic future of any country.”
The world's most powerful scientific lasers, comprising the European “Extreme Light Infrastructure” ELI, a close collaborator of LASERLAB-EUROPE, are presently being established in three sites in the Czech Republic, Hungary, and Romania. Another civilian European mega-project, HiPER, will investigate the possibility of creating energy from fusion, a clean and practically inexhaustible source of energy which also powers the sun. The latest generation of laser devices developed within the LASERLAB-EUROPE consortium span the bridge from these two mega-projects to world-leading table-top devices for science, life sciences, medicine, engineering, or environmental sciences.
In the now starting phase 2012 - 2015 LASERLAB-EUROPE comprises 28 of the largest European laser infrastructures and, together with subcontractors and associate partners, covers 19 European countries. The consortium regularly offers free access to its facilities for a large number of single principal investigator groups from European universities. “Thanks to LASERLAB-EUROPE the community of European laser researchers has established close bonds. Today, Europe appears to be the most powerful and successful region for laser research worldwide”, says Sandner.