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Benefits for industry

Public investment in the construction of the Megajoule Laser facility (LMJ) amounts to nearly €3 billion over a 15-year period. CEA has implemented an exemplary industrial policy that calls on businesses in construction, defense and mechanical engineering as well as many high-tech SMEs/SMIs and middle-market companies.

A challenge for French companies

With over 40 years of experience, CEA's Military Applications Division (CEA/DAM) is the organization with the expertise and resources needed to design high-energy laser systems. Once the decision to launch the LMJ had been taken in 1995, the DAM decided to take ownership of it, i.e. to take responsibility for designing the entire system and for obtaining the desired performance.

It called on the leading companies in each relevant field to build the laser infrastructure and subassemblies.

The facility is divided into well-defined work packages (subsystems) that were entrusted to different companies selected after the bidding stage. The feedback acquired with the Laser Integration Line  (LIL) prototype facility has demonstrated the relevance of this work breakdown structure and of most of the companies selected.

A pool of technologies and innovations

Sol-gel treatment of the CEA/DAM Le Ripault Centre.  © CEA
Sol-gel treatment of the CEA/DAM Le Ripault Center. © CEA

The LMJ and the LIL promote the development of new technologies. They make up a pool of innovations that can be leveraged by industry and SMEs and SMIs. Some innovations have already found their place in daily life; others are full of promise. For example, a special "sol-gel" process has been developed in the laboratories at the CEA/DAM center in Ripault. This anti-reflective surface treatment is used for the glass plates used at the LMJ and everyday eyeglasses.


An asset for regional economic development

 © CEA

The figure above shows the path of a laser beam from its creation in the laser source (Quantel) to its frequency conversion from infrared to ultraviolet and its focusing in the frequency conversion system (EADS CILAS and Sodern, Thales, Alsyom, SEIV, Euriware, Elta and Bertin).

Some 1,000 companies participated in the LMJ project in fields as varied as optics, optomechanics, electronics, computing, building construction, and engineering and design.

The establishment of the LMJ facility in the Aquitaine region has led to the creation of approximately 350 jobs at Cesta. The construction of the LMJ facility has generated 700 industrial jobs a year on average. When construction is completed, the facility's operation will generate approx. 150 to 200 long-term industrial jobs (not including CEA) primarily in the Aquitaine region.

In addition to building the laser, the LMJ has supported the development of a national high-tech industry in optics, optomechanics and electronics. Facilities for receiving industry players have been built in the Laseris technology park, near CEA's Cesta center.


Created in 2005, the Laser Route competitiveness cluster now brings together 75 companies and 700 researchers. This cluster promotes the transfer of technology in industrial laser applications.
MàJ: 20/11/2014
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