Future photon and ion research facilities will permit the investigation of previously inaccessible processes of radiation—matter interaction. At the acceleration facility FAIR, which is currently under construction, the combination of heavy-ion beams and intense lasers allows for the experimental investigation of relativistic effects, phenomena of quantum electrodynamics and even atomic parity violation.

In the future, physics of strong fields will be a subject of research not only at the large partner facilities (DESY, FAIR), but also at the Helmholtz Institute itself. For instance, it is intended to set-up an EBIT (Electron Beam Ion Trap), where experiments regarding relativistic ionization processes are planned.

Apart from the experimental work at high-intensity photon and ion sources, the Helmholtz Institute focuses on the theory of strong-field physics, the dynamics of heavily correlated systems and light-induced states of matter.