Shining a light into the future

Shining a light into the future

19 October 2015

PRAGUE – The ELI Beamlines International Laser Research Centre – co-designed by Peter Brett Associates and recognised as one of the European Union’s most significant research projects – was officially opened near Prague today.

The ELI (Extreme Light Infrastructure) facility in Dolní Břežany is part of the Czech Institute of Physics and will house some of the world’s most powerful lasers. PBA was responsible for the design, co-ordination and management of the structural, transportation and site utilities, working alongside Bogle Architects, structural engineers Nemec Polak and civil engineers AED Project. The opening was attended by leading scientists from across Europe, Czech politicians and the Cardinal of Prague.

“It was a great pleasure to be at the official opening of the ELI Laser Centre today, alongside our project partners and some of Europe’s most eminent scientists,” said PBA Partner Martin Duris. “This was a unique project with some specific design challenges that we were able to overcome thanks to intense collaboration within the design team and with the client. It is wonderful to see this important building completed; knowing that we have contributed in some way to supporting cutting-edge research.”

Due to the high calibration and sensitivity of the extremely powerful laser to be operated within the building, many challenges were encountered in the design of the structure and M&E systems. The structure carrying the laser equipment had to be completely independent from the rest of the building and extremely stiff to ensure no vibrations are transferred to the laser equipment. The laser hall was essentially designed as a two-storey monolithic concrete box with a natural frequency of ~20Hz.

The lasers installed within the complex will be used for research into material sciences and engineering, medicine, biology, chemistry, pharmacy and astrophysics, and this new generation of laser technology will make important contributions to cancer diagnosis and therapy.