STFC's Central Laser Facility to be replicated in Romania

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NTE Vacuum Technology in the UK has delivered a £300,000 contract for the CETAL Petawatt facility in Romania, a hugely advanced set up which is expected to lead to major scientific breakthroughs with applications in oncology, X-ray and gamma-ray imaging. The contract was accepted thanks to support from the Science and Technology Facilities Council (STFC).

The laser chamber is modelled on the Central Laser Facility at STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) which was also built by NTE. A delegation from Romania saw the Gemini laser target interaction chamber at RAL and wanted a replica for the CETAL Petawatt laser facility.

Professor John Collier, director of the Central Laser Facility, said: ‘We are really pleased that NTE Vacuum Technology was awarded the contract to replicate our Central Laser Facility laser chamber in Romania. We are pleased both that UK expertise is being used internationally and that it resulted in more business for a UK company. It is a great demonstration of CLF and STFC collaborations supporting UK science, technology and engineering exports.’

CETAL is due to be installed at the National Institute for Laser, Plasma and Radiation Physics (INFLPR) in Bucharest-Magurele later this year and will have a programme of work very similar to the Gemini laser in the STFC Central Laser Facility. Gemini was used during some of the first demonstrations of ultra-intense laser pulses driving high quality electron acceleration. These have opened up the possibility for developing compact particle accelerators for use in medical and imaging applications.

CETAL, together with the Extreme Light Infrastructure-Nuclear Physics Pillar that Romania will host at the Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering, will perform cutting-edge research, bringing together several fields of physics such as high-power lasers and optics, relativistic plasma physics, particle physics, nuclear physics, ultrahigh pressure, and nonlinear physics.