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News stories from the Central Laser Facility
Calls for access to the High Power Lasers
The latest call for High Power Lasers is now open
Donna Strickland Attends Signing Ceremony for EU XFEL Beamline which houses CLF’s DiPOLE-100X Laser
Nobel Prize in Physics winner Prof. Donna Strickland visited the EU XFEL recently to attend a Signing Ceremony for the Helmholtz International Beamline for Extreme Fields (HIBEF).
New method for high-yield production of proteins from E. coli
Scientists from the University of Kent and Fujifilm-Diosynth Biotechnologies have explored a non-traditional method of extracting functional proteins from E. coli. These proteins have a wide range of applications in biotechnology and medicine.
CLF Scientist Sourav Maiti Presents Poster at Parliament
“It was exciting as a finalist in STEM for Britain to represent STFC's CLF in the Parliament and reach a new audience."
Meet head of the HPL division, Cristina Hernandez-Gomez
For International Women’s Day 2023, we interviewed Cristina Hernandez-Gomez, head of the CLF’s HPL division. Hear about her career journey in high power lasers and her role as a leader at the CLF.
Meet Artemis group leader, Emma Springate
For International Women’s Day 2023, we interviewed Emma Springate, the group leader for the CLF’s Artemis facility. Hear about her career journey in ultrafast science with lasers and her role as a leader at the CLF.
For International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2023 (IDWGS2023), we asked CLF and Johnson Matthey joint Research Fellow Sneha Banerjee to tell us about her job and why she loves working in STEM.
For International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2023 (IDWGS2023), we asked Gemini Systems Analyst/Computer Programmer Victoria Marshall to tell us about her job and why she loves working in STEM.
Meet Ellen Clancy
Ellen Clancy completed an industrial placement as part of the Octopus group in 2021-2022, where she undertook a project studying the dimerization of the Ku protein and its role in DNA damage and repair.
Gold could be the missing piece to increasing RPA efficiency
As laser technology has developed over the past couple of decades, interest in laser-driven ion acceleration has increased. One promising mechanism of laser-driven ion acceleration is Radiation Pressure Acceleration (RPA).
For International Day of Women and Girls in Science 2023 (IDWGS2023), we asked Calta Laser Scientist Danielle Clarke to tell us about her job and why she loves working in STEM.
Calls for access to OCTOPUS and ULTRA
Call for access to OCTOPUS and ULTRA is now Closed
Gemini creates 'ghostly mirrors' for high-power lasers
Laser-driven ‘mirrors’ capable of reflecting or manipulating light have been produced using the CLF’s Gemini during research led by the University of Strathclyde, published in Nature Communications Physics.
HPL Christmas Meeting 2022: Thank you to all who attended!
The 2022 Christmas Meeting of the High Powered Laser Science Community took place on the 19th-21st December in 2022.
Creating a protein library for blood using 2D-IR at Ultra
Current protein diagnostic methods require lengthy preparation with large sample volumes, making them less accessible as a quick analytical tool. Can 2D-IR be applied to protein diagnostics and used to create a protein library for blood serum?
Many Congratulations to Connor Barker for Passing his PhD Viva!
Conner Barker a PhD student working with the Octopus team, passed his PhD Viva recently!
Defence mechanism discovered in cells that may be preventing effective gene therapy
Through fluorescence and phosphorescence lifetime imaging, scientists have recently discovered a peculiar defence mechanism in cells that may be preventing effective gene therapy.
Investigating DNA damage and repair to improve radiotherapy
When cells are damaged, they sometimes are triggered to repair themselves, depending on the severity. In general, this is a feature that greatly benefits living organisms, but not always.
OCTOPUS is helping research a protein linked to aging and cancer
At CLF OCTOPUS, Professor Stanley Botchway has been investigating the mechanistic (previously referred to as mammalian) Target Of Rapamycin (mTOR), a protein linked to aging, cancer, and obesity.
MicroTarget Physicist Accepted into Foundation Future Leaders Programme
The CLF would like to say a huge congratulations to Pawala Ariyathilaka for being accepted into the Foundation Future Leaders programme, which is run by the Foundation for Science and Technology (FST).
Advantageous Non-Destructive Analysis Technique Brought to Light by UKRI Fellow
A recent piece of research published in Analytical Chemistry from Paul Donaldson (CLF) has highlighted a potentially useful non-destructive analytical method for determining the relative concentrations of materials in samples that show IR absorption.
Unravelling the mysteries of hybrid perovskites
Hybrid perovskites, a complex material containing both an organic and inorganic part, are a promising candidate for next generation solar cells.
2022 CLF User Impact Awards
Are you a CLF User or staff member with research you think might have made an impact in the economy or society? Find out below how you can apply to be awarded a CLF User Impact Award for your work!
UK Contributes to a Leap Towards Fusion Energy
“It cannot be understated what a huge breakthrough this is for laser fusion research. More importantly however, is that fact that it paves the way for the rapid development of Laser Inertial Fusion Energy – power generation by Laser Fusion.”
Unpicking the energy transfer processes in miniature laser-plasma accelerators
Using the CLF’s laser Gemini, scientists demonstrated a new diagnostic technique that can be used to improve the efficiency of the next generation of ultra-compact particle accelerators.
Meet the 2022-23 CLF Placement Students
Every summer we welcome a variety of placement and sandwich students to the CLF to spend a year with us performing research projects, helping in the labs, and assisting in the offices with communications.
CALTA Scientists Visit ISTEC as Part of a Project to Develop Transparent YAG-based Ceramics for DiPOLE Lasers
On the 20th and 21st October, CALTA scientists visited the CNR Institute of Science and Technology for Ceramics (ISTEC) in Italy to collaborate on the development of YAG-based transparent ceramics.
Congratulations to Professor Gianluca Gregori
Prof. Gregori has worked with the Central laser Facility (CLF) for over a decade, using our high power laser facilities to conduct his many lab-astro experiments.
The CLF aims to make Laser Shock Peening more accessible to industry
Laser Shock Peening (LSP) can improve the wear resistance of metals used in racing cars, tokamaks, aviation, and more. However, most current LSP techniques require a confinement layer, which puts a major limitation on its accessibility to industry.
Target Fabrication Workshop 2022 Summary: Thank you to all who attended
Many productive discussions were held on challenges delivering for next-generation laser facilities as well as tackling Inertial Fusion Energy targetry challenges.
Studying fluorescent cells to improve lung-cancer treatment
A review by Professor Marisa Martin-Fernandez (OCTOPUS) has highlighted the usefulness of fluorescence imaging to help improve the effectiveness of a common type of lung cancer treatment.
eBIC and Octopus Research on an Intriguing Bacteria Published in Nature Communications
The CLF's Octopus team recently worked in collaboration with eBIC to understand the inner workings of a type of bacteria called Methanotrophs.
First external user on Artemis 100 kHz beamline
Artemis is commissioning its new 100 kHz laser beamline for material science. The beamline is dedicated to understanding the electronic properties of crystals and the evolution of those properties after interaction with an intense laser pulse.
Cover of ACS Chemical Biology's supplementary September issue featured Ultra research into light-activated proteins
A recent publication using Ultra to investigate light-activated proteins in the BLUF domain was featured on the supplementary journal front cover of ACS Chemical Biology.
Laser Shock Peening - Can it improve Tokamak Reactor Lifetime by enhancing Tungsten Divertors?
Scientists used the CLF DiPOLE10 laser system to investigate Laser Shock Peening of tungsten, a metal crucial to Tokamak-based fusion power research.
EuPRAXIA Collaboration takes us one step closer to ultra-compact particle accelerators
The Central Laser Facility (CLF) has recently been involved in an exciting multi-national collaboration to take us a step closer towards ultra-compact laser-plasma accelerators that could revolutionise medicine, science, and industry.
Vulcan searches for maximum X-ray production from metal foils
Pushing forward the boundaries of science often starts with fundamental research. At the CLF, we often use our range of lasers to conduct experiments of this nature.
Register Here for the 2022 High Power Laser Christmas Meeting!
Happening on Monday 19th - Wednesday 21st December 2022
Ultra follows the journey of protons in proton conducting electrolytes
The need to store energy efficiently, cheaply and safely is a hot topic. Batteries have their pros and cons, so researching other kinds of energy storage solutions is important.
Ultra Utilised to Improve our Understanding of Catalysts
This achievement was recently highlighted in a Chemistry World news piece which details the techniques the scientists used to collect their results.
Scientists mimic an inkjet printer by levitating droplets with lasers
Researchers at the CLF OCTOPUS Facility, Royal Holloway University of London and University of Birmingham have studied in “slow-motion” how micro-droplets react in air and the ways they can merge into structures whilst airborne.
Target Fabrication Workshop 26-28th Sept 2022
This page contains details of the 8th Target Fabrication Workshop.
D-100X reaches 70 J, 1 Hz milestone during commissioning at XFEL
A team of scientists and engineers working on the D-100X project at the European XEFL in Hamburg reached the important commissioning milestone of 70 J laser output at 1 Hz on 16th June 2022.
EPAC Building Completion Ceremony
On Monday July 25th, we hosted EPAC's building completion ceremony, with collaborators from all different backgrounds in attendance.
Registration Now Open: 2022 Christmas Meeting of the High Power Laser User Community
Monday 19th - Wednesday 21st December 2022
Interaction between growth signal receptors in muscle provides clue to muscle degenerative disease mechanism
The research may point to fine tuning the response of androgen receptors to testosterone as a promising target for treatments for Spinal Bulbar Muscular Atrophy (SMBA) and similar diseases.
Combining state of the art with traditional microscopy at Octopus reveals new insights into protein function regulation
Research combining the newest technique available at Octopus with one of the oldest, to investigate a novel interaction between proteins, has just been published online ahead of full publication in the Structure journal.
£17.2m Announced for HiLUX in UKRI’s Infrastructure Fund
HiLUX will be a major upgrade of the Central Laser Facility’s (CLF’s) ultrafast laser and infrared spectrometer infrastructure (Ultra and Artemis).
£59.7m Announced for Vulcan 20-20 in UKRI’s Infrastructure Fund
Subject to business case approvals, the CLF's Vulcan 20-20 project has been awarded £59.8m by UKRI, the project will take just over 6 years starting in 2023/24 and will cost £81M in total .
£3.2m in Funding Announced for UK XFEL Research and Development
£3.2m in UKRI Infrastructure funding has been announced today for a Conceptual Design and Options analysis for a UK XFEL (X-ray Free Electron Laser).
CLF Scientists collaborate in environmental study: ‘Real’ atmospheric samples covering pollution particles analysed using neutrons for the first time
A new approach of studying the behaviour of surface films covering particles taken directly from the atmosphere has been developed by scientists.
Octopus Scientist Receives Funding from Laserlab Europe’s Scientific and Technological Exchange
Octopus scientist Dr. Robert Lees has just been awarded funding to do an exchange programme with the Department of Physics at Politecnico di Milano.
New CLF Target Fabricator awarded Chartered Physicist Status
The CLF would like to congratulate one of our Target Fabricators, Pawala Ariyathilaka, for being awarded Chartered Physicist (CPhys) status.
Revealing how long-lived oil droplets could affect air pollution
The way that molecules can organise themselves into nanoscale structures may have an impact on how long pollution can stay in our cities.
Octopus Paper Published in Nature Communications
"CLF-Octopus is proud to have contributed super-resolution imaging methods to aid the completion of this superb piece of science."
Ultra Paper Makes Front Cover of ACS Inorganic Chemistry
A publication from Ultra recently featured on the front page of the American Chemical Society Journal “Inorganic Chemistry”.
Dr Greg Greetham Becomes New Ultra Facility Group Leader
We are pleased to share that Dr Greg Greetham is stepping into a new role as Ultra Group Leader.
Meet Professor Pavel Matousek
This week marks British Science Week and Alison Oliver, Communications and Engagement Officer at the Research Complex at Harwell, talks to Professor Matousek about his career so far.
CALTA Scientist Receives Grant from Royal Society’s International Exchanges Scheme
CALTA scientist Dr Mariastefania De Vido (Stefania) has received funding from the Royal Society’s International Exchanges scheme to embark on a new project that could plant the seeds for advancements in high energy laser design and operation.
A new world record for DiPOLE100
A laser system designed and built by the Central Laser Facility has achieved another world record.
Octopus brings new light to crystal formation
Many chemical compounds can exist in multiple forms, known as isomers. Aspirin (Acetylsalicylic acid) is one such substance. Different isomers of a substance can have different properties and crystalline forms.
Annual High Power Laser Meeting 2021
Despite last minute changes due to the omicron variant, the High Power Laser (HPL) Christmas conference still went ahead on the 13th-15th December 2021 at Abingdon School.
Laser Peening to Strengthen Ceramics used in Hip Replacements
Recent research using DiPOLE has shown laser shock peening can improve the toughness of silicon nitride ceramics for use in applications such as hip replacements and rocket nozzles for the space industry.
Dr Bucker Dangor Receives the IOP 2021 Michael Faraday Medal and Prize
Dr Bucker Dangor, a strong supporter of the CLF, has been awarded the IOP 2021 Michael Faraday Medal and Prize.
New Scitech Precision Micromachining Lab Opens
John Collier (Director of the CLF) and Elizabeth Kirby (Director of BID) opened the new Scitech Precision laser micromachining laboratories on Friday with a ribbon cutting ceremony.
CLF Newsbite: Scitech and Target Fab Provides Targets for First Academic Access Experiment on LMJ
Gemini Tests the Theory: Turning Light into Matter
Scientists at Imperial Collage London and the CLF’s Gemini Laser Facility have published a paper on testing an 84-year-old theory that was once thought impossible to prove.
Investigating sol-gel catalyst chemistry
Sol-gels are a way to create a small scale ‘framework’. So, imagine, if you will, a microscopic honeycomb. By combining optical trapping and spectroscopy, researchers have been able to shed light on the mechanism of catalyst synthesis itself.
Gemini Laser Technique Could Potentially Offer Improved Cancer Treatment
A new tool using high-power lasers could be used to improve the treatment of cancer.
Levitating droplets to help understand air pollution.
Air pollution doesn’t come solely from car exhausts and fossil fuel power stations; another key component are tiny droplets of oils from, amongst other things, cooking. The presence of these fatty acids may add to the pollution of our environment.
CLF Octopus: How Do Viruses “Hitch-Hike” on Airborne Droplets?
STFC's Central Laser Facility (CLF) has just received funding from the UK government to investigate, in microscopic detail, how viruses are transmitted from person to person, and how this varies in different settings and environments.
Ribbon Cutting Ceremony Marks Milestone for Artemis Upgrade
A major milestone was achieved for the Artemis Laser Facility last Friday (17th September) when the engineering phase of the upgrade project was officially completed.
Meet Marta Szynkiewicz
“I feel very lucky working at RAL, because it’s a truly inspiring place to be,” Marta says, “You can see the ideas being born in front of you."
Meet the 2021-22 CLF industrial placement students
Every summer, STFC welcomes roughly 70 new placement students to spend a year working at one of their sites across the UK. Four of this year’s students took time out to sit down with and tell me about their placements.
Investigating ‘ignition-scale’ laser plasma instabilities, "an important result for laser fusion research".
An international team, led by the CLF’s Robbie Scott, has developed a new experimental platform for investigating ‘ignition-scale’ laser plasma instabilities in direct-drive, inertial confinement fusion.
Using CRISPR-Cas9 to understand DNA repair pathways, a new technique.
Researchers from the Universities of Sheffield, Kent, and UCL have collaborated with the CLF’s Octopus Imaging team to investigate a new technique involving CRISPR Cas-9.
How do plants fight infections?
Research carried out at CLF’s Octopus facility, and published in The Plant Journal, has shown the role of chloroplasts in the plant’s immune system, travelling around cells to respond to infection.
Fusion Success at NIF
At around 4pm on Tuesday 17th August 2021, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory (LLNL) released a press statement declaring that the National Ignition Facility (NIF) had carried out a shot which had achieved a fusion yield in excess of 1MJ of energy.
From whole cell to individual molecules: a novel insight to the replication cycle of COVID-19
Central Laser Facility involved in research that provides new insights into COVID-19's replication cycle.
CLF Scientist Dr Paul Donaldson Presented Emerging Researcher Award
Congratulations to Dr Paul Donaldson for being awarded an Emerging Researcher Award at the Time Resolved Vibrational Spectroscopy (TRVS2021) conference.
Latest Calls for Octopus and Ultra
Access to be scheduled January 2022 to June 2022 subject to the progress of our COVID recovery programme.
Mapping out Haemoglobin’s Binding Activity in Milliseconds
CLF researchers and collaborators get closer to understanding haemoglobin's function.
STFC’s laser scientists win prestigious new prize for sustainable catalysis research
The Royal Society of Chemistry has recognised scientists at the UK's Central Laser Facility (CLF) who worked with the University of York and Syngenta Crop Protection to develop a technique giving unprecedented insights into how catalysts work.
CLF Newsbite: Uncovering Disease States in Chromosomes
CLF Newsbite: How can 2D-IR be used in fuel cell research?
Zooming in on Zeolites
Using multiple imaging techniques at the CLF leads to novel insights about industrial zeolite catalysts.
Meet Naomi Omori
We sat down to talk to Dr Naomi Omori – a CLF PhD student turned Research Scientist at RAL based company, Finden.
CLF News Bite: Target Fab helps recreate extreme plasma environment
2021 Christmas Meeting of the High Powered Laser Science Community
Registration is now open for the Christmas meeting of the High Power Laser User Community (13th - 15th December 2021)
An Appreciation of Bill Toner
We were very sad to hear that Mr. WT (Bill) Toner passed away recently. Bill was a founding member of the CLF and Acting CLF Facility Director before his retirement in 1996.
Can spectroscopy allow us to see more than computers?
Time-resolved infrared spectroscopy at the CLF allows scientists to take snapshots of key synthetic chemistry reactions involving earth abundant catalysts.
British Science Week: Smashing Stereotypes at the CLF
This year's British Science Week is all about #SmashingStereotypes. To celebrate, we spoke to 3 CLF staff members who do just that!
Artemis Laser’s High-Speed Measurement Capabilities Used to Study Intriguing 2D Material
An international collaboration involving the Artemis Laser Facility has been looking at an intriguing 2D material.
International Women’s Day 2021: Meet Kathryn Welsby
Kathryn is a Senior Applications Scientist for Johnson Matthey and the Interim Group Leader of the Industrial Partnership & Innovation Group at STFC.
CLF News Bite: Using Octopus and Ultra to Understand Complex but Vital Processes in Solar Cells
New world record for CLF-built laser technology
A laser developed by scientists at the Central Laser Facility (CLF) has set a new world record.
CLF News Bite: CLF Scientist and Colleagues Probe Electronic Properties of Current-Carrying Device
£0.47M Investment into Octopus Imaging Cluster as part of Multi-million pound funding boost for Oxfordshire science laboratories
The UK Government has announced up to £8million will be invested in laboratory upgrades and a further £13million in science campus improvements in Oxfordshire.
The First Fully Automated Plasma Accelerator
An international group of researchers have used the CLF’s Astra-Gemini Laser to implement AI in order to optimize a new type of particle accelerator.
Porous Carbon Microparticles - Potential Future of Safe Drug Delivery
Researchers from Dublin and the Central Laser Facility demonstrate the potential of porous carbon microparticles as a vehicle to transport agents, such genetic material and anti-cancer drugs, to cells.
Mariastefania De Vido Wins MacFarlane Prize 2020
Mariastefania's work was noted by the panel to be; “an outstanding piece of research as indicated by the Examiners and an exemplar of the very high standards expected of MacFarlane Prize award winners."
Octopus Analyses Chlamydia’s Lesser Known Role in Respiratory Infections
“The majority of Chlamydia pneumonia infections occur from early childhood to teenage years, and while its symptoms are often mild, it can cause complications."
High Power Laser Christmas Meeting 2020
2020 Update on the Annual CLF High Power Laser Christmas Meeting.
Dr Antonio Lucianetti
It was with very great sadness that we heard that our friend and colleague, Antonio Lucianetti has passed away after a short illness.
Meet the 2020/21 CLF Sandwich Students
Central Laser Facility would like to extend its welcome to a fresh batch of sandwich students for 2020. The sandwich student scheme offers students the opportunity to spend a year away from their university degrees to gain work experience.
CLF News Bite: Octopus Team Analyses Potential New Drug to Treat Diseases Such As Cancer
UK’s new advanced imaging centre takes shape
The UK's pioneering Extreme Photonics Applications Centre (EPAC) in Oxfordshire is a major step closer with the structural concrete pour for three key experimental areas and the laser source floor now complete.
Plasma: The Key for Unlocking Compact Multi-Petawatt Lasers?
EPSRC Award £1.1m Grant to UEA and CLF Team to Develop Coherent Chemistry
The project will bring people and equipment together across UEA and the CLF to explore coherence in chemistry, over 2½ years. The hub for this research will the CLF's ULTRA Facility.
CLF News Bite: New method developed for studying the behaviour of hot aerosol particulates
Congratulations to Professor Simon Hooker for Winning an IOP Award!
Congratulations to Professor Simon Hooker for winning the IOP 2020 Cecilia Payne-Gaposchkin Medal and Prize for pioneering contributions to the development of high-power plasma waveguides and their application to laser-driven plasma accelerators.
CLF Director, Professor John Collier, awarded prestigious medal
The long-standing Director of the Central Laser Facility (CLF), Professor John Collier, has today been awarded the Richard Glazebrook Medal and Prize by the Institute of Physics (IOP).
CLF News Bite: Developing New Light Activated Catalysts
Cooking oil emissions polluting urban environments
The University of Birmingham has collaborated with the Central Laser Facility and Diamond, alongside researchers from the University of Bath, to lead to a new insight on urban pollution.
New Family of Spectroscopic Techniques Invented at the CLF
CLF-Ultra's UKRI Fellow Dr Paul Donaldson has invented new approaches to measuring multidimensional spectra that give unique spectral fingerprints.
2020 William F. Meggers Award goes to CLF-led Spectroscopy Innovation Paper
A CLF-led team has been awarded the 2020 William F. Meggers Award from the Society for Applied Spectroscopy (SAS) for their outstanding paper published in the journal Applied Spectroscopy.
After screening 100,000 compounds, scientists discover a new cancer treatment opportunity
The Octopus Imaging Cluster at the Central Laser Facility (CLF) has aided a long-term study by researchers from the Francis-Crick Institute, AstraZeneca, and Kings College London to find a more effective drug to treat breast cancer.
Scientists plan new facility to transform UK cancer treatment
Clinicians, biologists and physicists are pooling their expertise to design a pioneering radiobiology facility for the UK intended to make proton beam therapy for cancer treatment a reality.
Review of laser-generated electromagnetic pulses published in HPLSE
The CLF, alongside a collaboration of 21 universities and research organisations, has published a 60-page review of laser-produced electromagnetic pulses, covering aspects such as generation, detection, and mitigation.
Gemini Laser used for industrial X-ray tomography: Paving the Way for EPAC applications
"These experiments have shown great promise in offering another imaging dimension to what is available to the X-ray imaging community."
Studying processes that Could Enhance Certain Types of Solar Cells
Vulcan Produces a Terawatt of Terahertz
The collaborative team between the CLF and the Chinese Academy of Sciences (pictured above) led by Dr Guoqian Liao have had their terahertz paper accepted into PRX. Using Vulcan Target Area West, the team managed to produce a terawatt of terahertz.
Scientists Discover a Case of Mistaken Identity in Industrial Catalysts
Zeolites are industrial catalysts and are very effective at converting methanol for the production of chemicals and fuels, especially to gasoline, aromatics or olefins.
New Compound that could kill Antibiotic Resistant Superbugs Discovered
Scientists have developed a new compound that has the ability to kill both gram-positive and gram-negative antibiotic resistant bacteria.
CLF News Bite: Octopus Paper Selected as a PrePrint Highlight by the PreLights: Nuclear myosin VI regulates the spatial organization of mammalian transcription initiation
CLF News Bite: Observing Interactions between 4 Stranded DNA and the “Light-Switch” Complex
Rest in Peace Prof. David Neely
It is with profound sadness that I report the untimely passing of one of our most adored, respected and loved colleagues, Dave Neely, after a short and sudden illness.
A Great Week for DiPOLE
World Record output energy of 150J and second harmonic conversion efficiency of 77% in green wavelength.
CLF News Bite: Watching charge flow in organic semiconductors
The CLF has its First Non-COVID 19 Related User Experiment since March
As the CLF enters COVID Level 3, our first user experiment has commenced! The research, led by internal user Dr Paul Donaldson as part of his UKRI Fellowship, is focussing on the road to clean energy using the Ultra Laser Facility.
OCTOPUS 10th Anniversary
Congratulations OCTOPUS! It's been 10 fantastic years of delivering innovative science.
STFC team helps national consortium deliver 13,437 ventilators
Technicians, engineers and scientists from STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory have helped deliver 13,437 ventilators as part of Ventilator Challenge UK, more than doubling the stock available to the NHS.
CLF COVID-19 Update
Following STFC's transition from COVID Level 4 to Level 3, for the last 3 weeks the CLF has been working to restore the operation of our Facilities.
Kerr gated Raman spectroscopy Used to Characterise Lithium Ion Batteries
Researchers from the University of Liverpool have used Kerr gated Raman spectroscopy – a technique which was developed and first demonstrated in CLF in 1999 – to characterise Lithium ion batteries.
Replicating space's strange magnetic phenomena in the lab
Magnetic reconnection is a process that occurs in a wide range of astrophysical processes, from the birth of Coronal Mass Ejections to the interface between the solar wind hitting earth’s magnetic field. Scientists found a way to replicate it in the lab.
Artemis facility Images Neurons in Incredible Detail Revealing a Potential Application in Studying Alzheimer’s Disease
The extra detail available means that the technique has potential applications in medicine, particularly in studying neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's disease.
Pig Tissue Used to Create Standard Model to Mimic Disease
Researchers at Politecnico di Milano in partnership with Dr Sara Mosca from CLF and the University of Exeter have systematically studied the optical properties of pig tissue.
Direct evidence of mitochondria physical association with the endoplasmic reticulum in tobacco leaf epidermal cells
The Group of Imogen Sparkes, based at the University of Bristol, has been using the CLF OCTOPUS Imaging Facility under a successful 4-year Programme Mode access application.
CLF Technicians Support Rapid Ventilator Production
Forty STFC technicians are forming part of a national collaboration that's producing ventilators for the NHS; developing and delivering the training needed for over 300 others to carry out the necessary testing and calibration.
D100X Milestone Completed: Packed and Shipped to the European XFEL
After 5 years in the making, we are pleased to share that our latest DiPOLE model, D100X has been successfully shipped to the European Free Electron Laser (XFEL) in Hamburg where installation has already begun.
Science Minister Chris Skidmore and Nobel Laureate Donna Strickland Host EPAC Ground Breaking Ceremony
The building of the Extreme Photonics Applications Centre (EPAC) has begun!
Head of Octopus Marisa Martin-Fernandez Wins TechWomen100 Award!
We would like to share a huge congratulations to Marisa Martin-Fernandez, who has been selected as a winner in the WeAreTechWomen's TechWomen100 Awards 2019!
Target Fabricators Donna Wyatt and Ian East have won an IOP Technician Award!
We are delighted to announce that two of CLF's Micro Target Fabrication technicians, Ian East and Donna Wyatt, have won this year's IOP Technician award in the team category for their work creating targets which are feats of incredible micro-engineering.
UK Hub for the Physical Sciences on XFELs – PhD funding opportunity
The launch of EPIC
This September, EPIC was officially inaugurated at TIFR in India. The inauguration of EPIC represents a genuine collaboration between the two countries, as the joint project is mutually beneficial for the UK and India.
On the Cover of HPL: Bremsstrahlung Emission from High Power Laser Interactions with Constrained Targets for Industrial Radiography
'Due to the range of size, density, and resolution demands associated with industrial X-ray radiography, there is not a source that is "one-size ﬁts all".'
How to beat a mind-controlling parasite
A team of scientists working at the Central Laser Facility (CLF) have made a key breakthrough in understanding how a parasite called Toxoplasma gondii reproduces with its host.
Previously Unknown Sugar modification of proteins Discovered by BOKU and the CLF’s Octopus Laser Could Lead to Hardier Crop
During the experiment, the team discovered a previously unknown sugar modification protein relating to plant hardiness which could potentially lead to plants that are more robust to changing environmental conditions, thus securing global crop production.
Novel 3D cell structures that mimic living tissue to be studied using Octopus Laser Facility
A collaborative Harwell team from MRC Harwell Institute and a University of Oxford spinout company along with CLF scientists will apply Octopus’ powerful laser microscopes to examine their innovative drug-responsive 3D adipose model.
CLF’s DiPOLE lab identifies acoustic signature of laser shock peening for qualitative evaluation of residual stresses
Laser shock peening (LSP) experiments were carried out using the DiPOLE laser system at the Central Laser Facility by a team led by Dr. Saumyabrata Banerjee (CLF).
UK India laser technology programme to benefit both countries economies
Project will fund the new UK-India Extreme Photonics Innovation Centre.
Rest in peace to Prof. Chris Hawes, a friend of the CLF for many years
It is with great sadness that we have to report the untimely death of Prof. Chris Hawes, a friend of the CLF for many years.
International Laser Operations Workshop 2019: Day 3 hosted by the CLF
Last week, the Central Laser Facility hosted one day of the three day International Laser Operations Workshop (ILOW2019) with a selection of talks and tours related the High Power Laser field.
New Probing Beamline to be added to Vulcan Target Area Petawatt
An exciting update is happening at the moment to our oldest and most powerful laser, Vulcan. Vulcan's Target Area Petawatt (TAP) is going to have a new beamline installed that will allow us to conduct unique imaging and pump-probe experiments.
Science Case Update for a UK Free Electron Laser
In light of progress against STFC's strategy for Free Electron Lasers (FEL's) over the last 2-3 years and recognizing the growing experience of the UK Science Community, STFC is seeking to update the science case for a UK based FEL.
Lasers for Science Facility & Artemis User Meeting 2019
This year’s “Lasers for Science Facility/Artemis User Meeting” ran from the 9th – 11th of April in St Catherine’s College, Oxford. Delegates gathered to discuss research from the CLF’s Octopus, Ultra and Artemis Facilities.
CLF scientist Paul Donaldson has been awarded a UKRI Fellowship: Molecular stopwatch measurements of dynamics in catalysts, battery electrolytes and ionic liquids in situ.
Paul has recently been awarded a UKRI fellowship to aid his efforts in improving the science of catalysts and batteries, in the hopes for creating a greener future in transport.
A potential new method for future blood sample analysis developed at the CLF
This week, the paper was selected for “Pick of the Week" by Chemical Science, the flagship journal of the Royal Society of Chemistry.
South African and British researchers utilise label-free imaging as an effective tool to measure mitochondrial metabolism
A paper published in Scientific Reports describes the use of CLF’s two-photon fluorescence life time imaging microscopy (2-P-FLIM) to measure cellular metabolism in precursory cardiac cells.
CLF spinout Scitech Precision Limited contributes bespoke silicon targets
Perhaps surprisingly, silicon is one of the most abundant elements in nature. We use it for many things including electronic equipment, solar panels and optical fibres...
Christmas meeting of the High Power Laser User Community
Registration has now closed for the Christmas meeting of the High Power Laser User Community (16th - 18th December 2019)
New study on anti-cancer drug treatment could greatly lessen negative side effects on patients
That was fast – making movies of picosecond laser plasma dynamics
Using a new approach to ultra-fast imaging, researchers at the University of Strathclyde and CLF have been able to capture snapshots of laser plasma interactions on the picosecond scale and measure the evolution of important plasma processes.
Scientists tackle the great unpredictability of turbulence using Vulcan Laser
Several decades ago, Richard Feynman called turbulent flow one of “the last unsolved problems of classical physics”. This is still the case now.
Team use Astra Laser to create “fibre-optic cables” made of sun-surface temperature plasma
Compact particle accelerators such as laser plasma accelerators offer huge potential in scientific research, medicine and industry.
Member of CALTA team wins AILU prize 2019
We would like to offer a huge congratulations to Mariastefania De Vido for winning a prize from the Association of Industrial Laser Users (AILU).
CLF Sandwich Student takes part in I’m a scientist – Live! in Swindon
On Tuesday 19 March, almost 300 secondary school students from five different Swindon schools came to Ridgeway School and Sixth Form College to participate in 'I’m a Scientist – Live!', part of the STFC Bringing Science to Swindon programme.
Zooming in at the molecular level with OCTOPUS
The cell structures of plant and mammal bacteria have been brought into focus thanks to a new technique used at the OCTOPUS imaging cluster at the Central Laser Facility (CLF).
How to supercharge the ultimate X-ray machine
Record result for T-ray pulse energy obtained in a laboratory so far using Vulcan laser
Results published today in PNAS show that a laser-generated burst of T-rays (electromagnetic waves between infrared and microwaves known as terahertz emission) produces pulses containing millijoules of energy – a world record for laboratory sources.
World-class target fabricator creates tiny masterpieces
When working at these tiny, sometimes nanoscale, sizes, very strange problems start to arise.
Accepted into Nature Catalysis: Providing a first glimpse of the chemistry of electrocatalysis through the ‘eyes’ of a powerful surface technique
From a recent successful experiment which was noted as “sorely needed by the electrochemistry community", the CLF's Paul Donaldson, Gaia Neri and Alex Cowen (both of whom are from the University of Liverpool) made a second surprising discovery.
OCTOPUS imaging cluster identifies protein structures on the surface of cells that can help with cancer drug development
In a new Nature Communications publication, the research group have identified at least three different structures on the surface of the cell that interchange depending on certain cellular factors - membrane compositions and mutations.
Meet the 2018/2019 CLF Sandwich Students
Each year the Central Laser Facility welcomes a number of sandwich students to work as part of various teams across the department. The scheme offers undergraduates the opportunity to take a year out of their degree to gain experience of working life.
Artemis, Octopus and ULTRA User Meeting 2019
9th - 11th April 2019 at St. Catherine's College, Oxford. Registration deadline 11th Feb. Spaces limited.
Breakthrough in Studying Sustainable Synthesis
Research carried out using Ultra Laser Facility by the research groups of Professor Ian Fairlamb and Dr Jason Lynam have developed a new method to probe chemical catalysts in a collaboration with CLF and leading agriculture company Syngenta.
Mariastefania De Vido awarded £80k fellowship by the Royal Commission
Congratulations to Mariastefania De Vido, who has been made an Industrial Fellow by the Royal Commission for the Exhibition of 1851.
From Placement to PhD: Following the Story of Alfred Jones
The Sandwich Student Scheme has been running successfully for over 20 years, with the number of students increasing year-by-year to over 50 across STFC in 2018.
Registration Open for the 2018 Christmas Meeting of the High Power Laser Community
Registration is now open for the 2018 Christmas Meeting of the High Power Laser User Community. The deadline for registration is the 15th October 2018.
Results from experiment on Ultra into analysing surface interfaces of an electrochemical reaction received as “Sorely needed by the electrochemistry community.”
Starting in the era of Michael Faraday in the 19th century, people have long known that if there is a voltage on a metal surface and you place a solution of molecules above it, you can alter the molecules in a process called electrochemistry.
FROM ICE TO FIRE: Nanostructured cryogenic targets form relativistic plasma accelerators
This feat involved the use of pioneering cryogenic targetry jointly developed by the A-SAIL consortium and the CLF and has been considered a world first in the field.
Using ultrashort pulsed, hard, bright X-rays to ‘freeze’ laser driven shock waves in silicon
Using ultrafast imaging; Jonathan Wood and a group of scientists at Gemini captured images of laser driven shock waves in a silicon target, enabling bright X-ray probing of high energy density physics without the use of larger, light synchrotron sources.
Light so intense that it can even slow matter down
Scientists from Queen’s University Belfast have used the CLF’s Astra-Gemini laser to provide the first direct experimental evidence that ultrafast light can significantly slow down a high-energy electron beam.
Illuminating the mechanism of photoactivation of a prototypical fluorescent protein
Using time resolved infrared spectroscopy; scientists have unravelled with great accuracy the extremely fast structure changes that occur in a photochromic fluorescent protein as it switches from its dark (off) to light (on) state.
CLF collaborative study highlights flaws in breast cancer drug
A consortium of scientists from across the UK have used the OCTOPUS imaging facility at the CLF to prove that a well-established breast cancer drug paradoxically boosts the growth of tumour cells in vitro.
Who really wins the race? Mapping the complete reaction path of a complex photochemical reaction
Using Artemis laser, a team from University of Southampton in collaboration with scientists at the CLF have been working to try to uncover what really happens during these extremely fast timescales.
From Western Cape to Great Western: South African PhD student Cathrine Pfukwa wins award for experiment with ancient antibiotic here at the CLF
Only 2 years into her PhD, Cathrine has already made huge strides in this exciting, cutting-edge project, which has particular importance in our current climate where more and more bacteria, funguses and viruses are becoming resistant to antibiotics.
ULTRA study could facilitate large-scale screening tests of drugs using 2D-IR spectroscopy
A team of scientists from the University of Strathclyde have used the CLF’s Lifetime laser to retrieve sequence-specific information about DNA-ligand binding.
Get to know the CLF Lasers
Our lasers have made it into the Guiness Book of World Records, been broadcast on national radio and even created supernovas in the laboratory.
Accepted into Nature Comms: Shedding Light on Laser Additive Manufacturing
What happens to materials during laser additive manufacturing? A paper produced from research on this has been published in Nature Communications that brings new insights into how laser beams melt metal powders to make 3D objects.
Putting the T into STFC: Engineering at the Central Laser Facility
In response to the ever-increasing shortage of engineering graduates and technology professionals, the Government has launched a new campaign initiative; declaring 2018 to be the Year of Engineering.
Writing The Code for Clean Energy
A new project led by the CLF is exploring the viability of the recently proposed 'Shock Ignition' approach to laser fusion.
Industrial Impact of the Central Laser Facility
“Innovation is not the product of logical thought, even though the final product is tied to a logical structure.” Albert Einstein.
Lasers, camera, action: Shining a light on Public Engagement at the Central Laser Facility
Possessing some of the most powerful lasers on the planet certainly makes promoting the incredible, awe-inspiring science of the Central Laser Facility (CLF) easier indeed.
The Central Laser Facility at 40
Last year, the CLF celebrated its fortieth anniversary. Here we provide a brief history of the facility and relive four decades of incredible laser science.
Life in the fast lane: Fast electrons bypass light in glass
What happens when you combine the expertise of three fantastic laser facilities, a bunch of motivating minds and one fundamental question about the movement of electrons within solids?
CLF scientists help to solve mystery of why comets emit X-rays
A team of scientists including members of STFC’s Central Laser Facility and RAL Space have been able to unravel the mystery of why comets travelling through Space give off X-ray emissions.
Space Weather in the Lab
60 years ago, the first manmade object was sent into space.
Explosive Potential - Gemini laser creates artificial gamma ray burst in the laboratory for the first time
A team, led by Gianluca Sarri from Queen's University Belfast, have used the Gemini laser at the CLF to recreate a mini gamma ray burst (GRB) - one of the most powerful explosions in the universe.
The art of decoding: SORS spin-off acts as a tool for investigation of heterogeneous painted systems
Micro-Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy, a recently developed technique, has been used for the non-destructive chemical characterisation of stratified paint samples.
Featured in Science Advances: Artemis Laser Reveals the Dynamics of Electrons in a Superconductor
The results of an experiment on our own Artemis laser facility is featured in Science Advances this month.
Featured in Nature Comms: Record High Energy Protons from Vulcan
A recent experiment on the CLF's own Vulcan laser to created proton energies close to 100 MeV.
Odd one out: CLF imaging facility identifies abnormality of plant ER protein
A team of scientists from across Europe have used the FRET-FLIM microscopy system at the Central Laser Facility to investigate plant reticulon dynamics.
A tough nut to crack: Using Raman spectroscopy to test the quality of coconut cream
The CLF has been very cultured this month with an experiment into the feasibility of using Raman spectroscopy on coconut cream which will be used to make yogurt.
UK Laser Experiment Mimics Black Hole Environment
UK physicists have for the first time used an extremely powerful laser beam to slow down electrons travelling at near-light speeds – a quantum mechanical phenomenon thought to occur only around objects like black holes.
CLF Research Partnership receives £5.7 million grant from EPSRC
The grant from EPSRC will fund a nanotheranostics research partnership between the University of Exeter, the University of Cambridge, London School of Pharmacy (University College London) and the Central Laser Facility.
CLF visiting scientist awarded the coveted Hannes Alfvén Prize for 2018
Professor Tony Bell is a theoretical plasma physicist, whose work has gone on to open up new research fields in both astrophysical and laboratory plasmas.
We Need You!
Seeing The Bigger Picture: Why Correlative Microscopy is Important and How It Can Be Explained
The CLF is constantly striving to find new means of opening up the complex world of science to the public in ways which are thought-provoking and engaging.
Changes in Secondary Structure of Key Calcium Binding Protein Quantified at CLF
Scientists from the University of Strathclyde, UCB Pharma and STFC’s Central Laser Facility have used 2D-IR spectroscopy to quantify changes in the secondary structure of the multifunctional calcium-binding messenger protein Calmodulin (CaM).
Artemis and Research Complex User Meeting 2017
Tuesday 5th September saw the beginning of the LSF and Artemis user meeting, made particularly pertinent by the future plans to move Artemis to join Ultra and Octopus in the Research Complex.
Business Development Manager Ric Allott Appointed Professor
The CLF is proud to announce that Ric Allott, the facility's Business Development Manager has been appointed to Visiting Professor at the University of Coventry.
CLF welcomes installation of state-of-the-art computing cluster
DeRevolutionibus, a computer cluster consisting of 1608 cores, completed commissioning in August 2017.
Joint project between CLF and India's Tata Institute of Fundamental Research announced
UK Science Minister announces joint pilot innovation project between the Central Laser Facility and India’s Tata Institute of Fundamental Research during two-day trip to India.
Public Engagement in the Physical Sciences: What We Can Learn
INTERACT Physics Engagement Symposium, Thursday 14th September 2017, University of Birmingham
CLF Scientist and STFC Senior Fellow honoured by the Royal Academy of Engineering
We are delighted to announce that Pavel Matousek, Chief Scientific Officer of Cobalt Light Systems Ltd and STFC Senior Fellow, has been named as one of this year’s 50 people to receive a Royal Academy of Engineering Fellowship
CLF hosts pioneering Industry Focus Day on Laser Driven Sources
The theme of the 2017 Industry day was Laser Driven Sources and was the first multi-sector collaborative event of its kind for the department, which celebrated its fortieth anniversary in June.
Final Call for Post-Doctoral Fellowships at the CLF
Deadline for applications for the programme is the 29th September 2017
Registration Open for the 2017 Christmas Meeting of the High Power Laser Community
Registration is now open for the 2017 Christmas Meeting of the High Power Laser User Community. The deadline for registration is the 30th September 2017
Photons are like Cows: Here's Why
For as long as lasers have existed, scientists have been trying to explain to others what lasers actually are. This is, alas, is one of the hazards of working with something that is at the forefront of technology.
Vulcan experiment provides first demonstration of moderated, epithermal neutrons from a laser accelerator source
Meet the Sandwich Students - CLF's Latest Recruits
This summer, the Central Laser Facility will welcome 12 new sandwich students. We sit down with several of the latest recruits to discuss their roles within the organisation and share their aspirations for the year 2017/18
CLF Spin-off Company Cobalt Bought by U.S Tech Giant, Agilent Technologies
We are pleased to announce that Cobalt, a spinoff company which originated in the CLF, and which markets technology using Spatially Offset Raman Spectroscopy (SORS), has been acquired by Agilent Technologies, a U.S. company.
Gemini Laser Facility Used to Deepen Knowledge of Polarization Dependence of Bulk Ion Acceleration
A recent experiment led by the Queens University Belfast has deepened our knowledge of how to gain the best results out of this process. The team used the CLF's Gemini laser to access a new regime – Light Sail - in laser-driven ion acceleration.
ASTRA short, low-energy laser pulses drive low amplitude plasma wakefields
Ultra Demonstrates Sign-posting for Electrons in Photochemistry
Using the Ultra facility at the CLF, Sheffield scientists Dr Anthony Meijer and Professor Julia Weinstein, have published new research that takes an important step forward in advancing the techniques used in creating molecular devices.
CLF 40th anniversary
The Central Laser Facility celebrates its fortieth anniversary this week
Artemis, Octopus and ULTRA User Meeting 2017
The CLF’s Lasers for Science (Octopus and ULTRA) and Artemis user meeting: 5-7th Sept 2017 at St Catherine's College Oxford.
Workshop on Advanced Characterisation of Functional Materials
This workshop aims to bring together researchers and facility scientists to identify new methods of answering new questions in Chemistry and Materials Science, with a particular focus on Catalysis.
CLF Training Weeks for High Power Laser experiments to be held in May 2017
Laserlab and ELI Training weeks held at the CLF
During 21st November – 2nd December the CLF hosted 12 scientists from across Europe for a two week training school on performing High Power Laser (HPL) experiments.
Symposium and Workshop on correlative light, electron, and X-ray microscopy
PRL front cover for rapidly spinning laser beams theory
An international research team led by researchers at Instituto Superior Técnico (IST) in Portugal and the CLF Plasma Physics Group has unravelled a concept to generate photons that whirl at high speed.
Funding confimed for CLF-Czech partnership
Funding confirmed for major CLF-Czech partnership for 'next generation' laser centre
New research overturns decades of thinking on how Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) signals
Four decades of thinking on signal transduction has been overturned thanks to a research project involving contributions from scientists and engineers in the UK.
Hydrogen Bonding Comes to the Rescue
Experiments on Artemis have studied the role of hydrogen bonding in safeguarding biomolecules against the damaging effects of UV light. The research is published in Physical Review Letters, and highlighted in an APS Physics synopsis article
Gemini laser contributes to new way to manipulate beams of protons
A targeted way to manipulate beams of protons accelerated using ultrashort and ultra-intense laser pulses has been demonstrated by a team of researchers led by the University of Strathclyde and performed using the Gemini laser
Band gap control of a two-dimensional semiconductor
An international collaboration working on Artemis has shown how the electronic properties of a two-dimensional semiconductor layered on graphene can be controlled by light
Designer nanomaterials caught by laser Octopus
Researchers using the CLF's Octopus facility have discovered a new way of observing designer nanomaterials - materials that are 400 times smaller than a human hair