PHELIX – Status and First Experiments
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The high-energy high-power laser system PHELIX (Petawatt High Energy Laser for heavy Ion eXperiments)  is currently under construction at the Gesellschaft fuer Schwerionenforschung mbH (GSI) Darmstadt. With PHELIX GSI will offer the unique combination of a high-current, high-energy (GeV/u) heavy-ion beam with an intense laser beam. This will open the door to a variety of fundamental science issues in the field of atomic physics, plasma physics and nuclear physics. The project will gain further interest in the near future by the dramatic increase of the accelerator performance with the starting FAIR project at GSI . This paper reports the current status of the project as well as the laser architecture. The proposed physics program and a first experiment carried out with PHELIX, the realization of a transient collisionally excited x-ray laser , will also be reviewed briefly.
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