Within the French laboratories that are involved in the ICAN Project, the ones from the Research Centre of Ecole Polytechnique are the most involved in the Project; the Project itself has emerged from this Research Centre. As such Ecole Polytechnique will naturally be the leading French entity and its aim is to manage the work performed by the Experts mentioned above.
The former Institut de la Lumière Extrême (ILE) was a joint laboratory between CNRS, Ecole Polytechnique ParisTech, ENSTA ParisTech (Ecole Nationale Supérieure des Techniques Avancées), the Institut d’Optique Graduate School and the Paris XI University. It has been created to keep the community of the Plateau of Saclay at the cutting-edge of science and technology. It was composed of the Plateau-de-Saclay’s top laboratories in laser and laser-matter interaction. In addition, by creating and coordinating the European Infrastructure, Extreme Light Infrastructure, ELI, it played a major role in federating and shaping the ultra-high-field community at the European and also International level. ELI has completed its preparatory phase and is considered as the flagship of the High Field science by the High Field community at large. Chartering new waters demands to pursue a vigorous laser technology program. It has designed and started building the laser Apollon 10PW, that will be used by the four ELI’s pillars. Looking at societal applications, ILE was initiating and leading the effort to identify and demonstrate a laser system capable of producing simultaneously, ultrahigh peak power and high average power (High repetition rate) with high efficiency. Apollon 10 PW project, launched by ILE and currently under construction, will now be driven by another laboratory of Ecole Polytechnique, the LULI (Laboratoire d’Utilisation des Lasers Intenses), and other activities of ILE, including ICAN project, driven directly at the level of the DGAR (Direction Générale Adjointe à la Recherche) of the Ecole Polytechnique.
The main contractor for France is thus the ECOLE POLYTECHNIQUE. French laboratories from the Research Centre of Ecole Polytechnique have a more than 35-year- expertise on femtosecond lasers and are some of the world leaders on high intensity lasers but also on secondary sources as can be evaluated by the large number of high- impact publications (Nature, Science, PNAS etc).
Key persons involved in ICAN:
- Gérard Mourou, coordinator of ICAN:As one of the inventor of the Chirped Pulse Amplification (CPA) technique, which is now used to achieve nearly every ultrashort pulse, very high-intensity (up to pettawatt) laser pulses, Gérard Mourou has always been considered as a pioneer in the field of electrical engineering and lasers. CPA revolutionized the physics of lasers and opened up many original and unexpected fields of applications. Those scientific achievements as well as the overall contribution of Gérard Mourou to the clearer understanding of laser physics will allow gathering the European and international laser and high energy communities around ICAN in a cohesive way. Moreover, Gérard Mourou founded the Centre for Ultrafast Optical Science at the University of Michigan and directed it for 15 years. This Centre is the first and sole centre on High-Field science created by the US National Science Foundation. It aims to perform multidisciplinary laser research, to educate students and to spur the development of new technologies. Gérard Mourou’s past experience as well as his experience as the founder and Director of the former Institut de Lumière Extrême (ILE) – France – will enable him to continuously orientate and follow the evolution of the ICAN Project, as well as manage the day-to-day progress of it. His valuable experience as well as his will to build a strong and efficient team around ICAN will definitely contribute to the successful completion of this Project.
- Catherine Sarrazin- Catherine Sarrazin was the Administrator of ILE and was also the Administrative Network Leader of ELI-Preparatory Phase