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News stories from the Central Laser Facility
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
n 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.
Calls for access to the High Power Lasers
The latest call for the Vulcan, Gemini and Orion laser facilities is now closed
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.
Nobel Prize in Physics 2018
Congratulations to Donna Strickland, Gérard Mourou and Arthur Ashkin on winning the 2018 Nobel Prize in Physics for their ground-breaking contributions to the advancement of laser technologies, optical tweezers and chirped pulse amplification.
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.
Calls for access to OCTOPUS and ULTRA
Due to Covid-19 the call for access to OCTOPUS and ULTRA is postponed.
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