ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The University of Rochester will be receiving over $17 million in funding towards their primary laser.

The laser, which will be called the EP-OPAL laser facility, will be created at the UR Laboratory for Laser Energetics. Once it is finished, it will be the highest-power laser system in the world.

EP-OPAL is a new facility that aims to study ultrahigh-intensity laser-matter interactions that could be built at LLE after the design project is completed.

The funding was announced Monday morning by Senators Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand, and Congressman Joe Morelle. According to them, the investment will help UR to design and make prototypes for the facility’s technologies.

“The development of EP-OPAL will provide a unique research environment and prepare the Laboratory for Laser Energetics to lead the country in this cutting-edge research and technology,” Morelle said. “Our region truly is an innovation leader.”

“It will draw top researchers to the region and affirm Rochester’s place as a national leader in laser technology,” said Gillibrand.

EP-OPAL will be the laboratory’s third primary laser, along with OMEGA and OMEGA EP at the Omega Laser Facility. These lasers are used by scientists across the Earth. These lasers are used to advance scientific discovery and for applications in medicine, clean energy, and national security.

“Rochester is building on its legacy and charging forward as a global leader in the future of the laser industry, which is vital to our national security and can revolutionize our quest for both clean energy,” said Schumer. “This award is the critical first step needed to design and advance UR’s proposal to build a new state-of-the-art laser right here in Rochester, leveraging the talent of LLE’s over 400 employees to push the frontiers of U.S. scientific research for decades to come.”

Back in May, the University of Rochester was awarded $1 million after the National Science Foundation chose the institution as a finalist to develop its proposal to supercharge laser tech research.