The system for the Horia Hulubei National Institute of Physics and Nuclear Engineering will set the stage for a new generation of particle accelerators for research in materials physics and for medical use, the company said.
"This is the largest contract ever awarded to industry by a national research institute under a European-funded program, Thales said. "Thales has considerable experience in this field, having developed and built the BELLA petawatt-class high-intensity laser, currently the most powerful laser in the world, which has been operated by the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in California since 2012.
The laser will be developed as part of an Extreme Light Infrastructure – Nuclear Physics (ELI-NP) program which the European Union last year agreed to fund.
The contract awarded Thales is worth $78.3 million and includes a scientific and technical training agreement between the University Politehnica of Bucharest and Thales University.
The laser will be operational in 2017.