Czech and UK laser facilities team up in new EU initiative

Swindon, Wiltshire, England - A state-of-the-art laser facility currently under construction in Prague, Czech Republic, 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; Didcot, Oxfordshire, England) have been awarded around $561,000 (€500,000) in the first phase of funding for a new Teaming initiative under the EU's Horizon 2020 framework program. Competition for the funding is fierce and less than 20 percent 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 $22 million (€20 million)—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.

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 develops 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.

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