Czech and UK laser facilities team up in new EU initiative

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A state-of-the-art laser facility, currently under construction in Prague, is on the road to becoming one of Europe’s Centres of Excellence, thanks to a new partnership project with the UK Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC). The Czech Institute of Physics’ HiLASE facility and the UK’s STFC Central Laser Facility (CLF) have been awarded around €500,000 in the first phase of funding for a new Teaming initiative under the EU’s Horizon 2020 framework programme.

Competition for the funding is fierce and less than 20 per cent of bids made it through this first stage.

The partners will use this money to build a strong business case for the partnership. The business case will go forward for examination at the second stage of the Teaming initiative. If they are successful at this stage the partners will receive further funding – which could be as much as €20M – to transform HiLASE into a technologically advanced Centre of Excellence, aimed at serving a broad scientific and industrial laser user community. This will allow HiLASE to access the world-leading expertise and technology already available within the CLF. It will also establish the Centre as an innovation hub, raising the region’s scientific and economic performance.

We are delighted that we have been selected for the first stage of funding to develop a full business case for the implementation stage of our project. This is a wonderful opportunity for us to develop our HiLASE laser into a world-class Centre of Excellence as a user facility. We are greatly looking forward to working with our STFC partners over the coming months.

Professor Jan Ridky, Director of the Institute of Physics in Prague
Teaming project members tour one of the STFC Central Laser Facility laboratories. (L-R Bedrich Rus, Institute of Physics ASCR; John Collier, Director of CLF, Tomas Mocek, Institute of Physics ASCR.), (Credit: STFC)

The Teaming initiative aims to establish and reinforce partnerships between countries with collaborations between regional research institutes and their international leading counterparts.

STFC’s CLF is recognised as a world leader in the development of the ‘next generation’ laser technology based on diode pumping, which is at the heart of this partnership project. This technology enables high power laser operation at high repetition rates of many pulses per second. It will drive new laser-based applications in industry, such as advanced material treatments and energy production.

Professor John Collier, Director of STFC's Central Laser Facility, said "Selection of our stage one proposal is excellent news. CLF and the Institute of Physics in Prague have a long and highly productive history of collaboration and partnership in many areas of laser development, and our user communities have conducted many successful experiments together. I congratulate the project team on their success and look forward to the next stage in the collaboration.”

Radka Kozáková
Tel.: (+420) 314 007 705
Mob.: (+420) 601 560 164
E-mail: radka [dot] kozakova [at] hilase [dot] cz

More detailed information on the project HiLASE website.