CLF 40th anniversary
20 Jun 2017
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The Central Laser Facility celebrates its fortieth anniversary this week

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For 40 years, the United Kingdom’s Central Laser Facility has been at the cutting edge of laser science, discovering and developing new technologies.

From humble beginnings with a single laser, the facility now has a large suite of instruments, and works with and for researchers and organisations around the world. On the way, the CLF has:

  • calibrated the dust sensor for the Giotto space probe to Halley's comet,
  • developed the pioneering technique of Optical Parametric Chirped Pulse Amplification (OPCPA) which enables high-power lasers to break the 1-petawatt power ceiling,
  • demonstrated the world's first high-quality, high-energy electron 'dream beams' by driving the laser into a puff of supersonic gas,
  • developed Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy, to identify the molecular composition of material beneath a sample surface,
  • been certified by the Guiness Book of World Records as the world's most intense laser,
  • and been involved in the formation of more than ten spinout companies

The CLF plays an active role at the heart of the Harwell Campus, co-located with the other major facilities to enable cross-fertilisation of science and technology. We work with a large and leading national and international user community of research scientists that are ​operating at the forefront of their respective fields and require access to the most advanced and sophisticated laser based facilities available.

More information


Contact: Springate, Emma (STFC,RAL,CLF)

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