Hope for Great Innovations
Interview with Michel André
Michel André is managing the LMJ project within the CEA. The French physicist is a pioneer of laser technology. He has been working in this field for nearly 30 years, in particular on the plasma physics aspects.
France already has a very powerful laser at its disposal with PHEBUS. So what is an even bigger plant required for?
André: In this case it really is a question of size! The physics prescribes certain parameters for our experiments. There is no existing plant that can come up to these figures, but the LMJ will.
That means that you are entering unknown scientific territory. How can you be sure that the LMJ will work?
André: Firstly, we have been planning the LMJ for many years very thoroughly. Secondly, we have chosen partners in research and industry who apply the same high standards that we do. And thirdly, we have the possibility with the LIL to further refine and improve the concept.
Does that mean that the final design is not yet decided?
André: Yes and no. The most important components such as the laser glass have been settled. Others now have to be tested. We expect our suppliers to provide solutions above and beyond the current state-of-the-art. If SCHOTT for example were to offer new highly promising technologies we would be more than happy to look at them.
Is there something like a vision for the LMJ?
André: To start with I am looking forward to technological, scientific and economic progress. In addition to that I firmly believe that the LMJ will bring further innovations. When the laser was developed in 1960, nobody suspected for a moment that it would be an established part of our daily lives today.