The laboratory missions
As an academic research laboratory and a large-scale national infrastructure, LULI is carrying out three main missions for the benefit of the whole plasma physics community : (i) development and operation of large-scale laser facilities, including R&D on laser technology and diagnostics development, (ii) research on laser-generated plasmas and applications and (iii) training of scientists and engineers in plasma physics and laser technology.
Research infrastructure, LULI is the national academic large-scale laser facility offering to the whole community access to the most energetic laser systems with durations ranging from a few nanoseconds to a few hundred of femtoseconds, and to fully-equipped experimental areas, thus allowing the study of laser-plasma interaction and its applications, either in the high-energy-density regime (HDE) or at high intensities in the relativistic regime (UHI).
This mission includes :
- operation of two HDE laser and experimental facilities at Ecole Polytechnique - LULI2000 and ELFIE - and specific R&D activities which allow improving their performances and their reliability, maintaining their competitiveness within a rapidly evolving international scientific environment while keeping their hands-on nature, flexibility and versatility,
- development of the APOLLON UHI laser and experimental facility, and operation, within the Centre Interdisciplinaire Lumière Extrême (CILEX) on the site of l'Orme des Merisiers, and
- prospective R&D activities for a new generation of lasers for scientific and industrial applications, possibly for instance as IFE drivers for future power plants.
Research center in high-energy-density plasma physics, LULI is developing research programs on radiation-produced plasmas and their applications. Generally performed in close collaboration with well-known French and international research teams, these programs address research fields such as IFE, laboratory astrophysics or planetary sciences, generation and optimization of particle and radiation secondary sources and their interdisciplinary applications, shock-loaded material science and, more generally, the physics and the dynamics of radiation-produced plasmas at high intensities. Apart from getting quantitative data (e.g. equations of state or opacities) in well-characterized conditions, the objectives of the LULI research teams, as defined for the on-going period, are mainly to contribute to a deepened understanding of the fundamental mechanisms underlying laser-matter interaction and hot plasma physics. The strategy to achieve such results was to develop innovative experimental techniques (for instance by coupling strong magnetic fields to the laser pulses) and diagnostics (e.g. XANES), conduct series of experimental campaigns (targeting laser facilities in terms of pulse energy, duration or wavelength, depending on scientific requirements) and properly analyze them thanks to state-of-the–art theoretical and numerical tools. The facilities accessed were, of course, the LULI ones but also other large-scale laser facilities in France, in Europe, in the United States and in Japan or, more recently, free-electron laser systems in Germany (FLASH) and in the USA (LCLS).
Thanks to its wide international expertise, to hands-on high-quality facilities and to an exceptional intellectual environment in Ecole Polytechnique, Paris and Ile de France, LULI is a privileged training center for undergraduate students, PhDs and post-docs in laser and plasma physics.