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Lasers and STFC

The UK carries out leading research using and creating high-power, ultrafast and high-sensitivity laser systems.

STFC’s Central Laser Facility (CLF), provides an internationally leading range of laser systems for research by academia and industry.

Key facts


The highest power of all.

Vulcan is one of the most powerful and versatile laser systems in the world. This unique facility delivers a focused beam – which for 1 picosecond (0.000000000001 seconds) is 10000 times more powerful than the output of the National Grid – to support a wide –ranging research programme in fundamental physics and advanced applications relevant to clean energy and medicine.

Find out more about Vulcan (link opens in a new window).

Astra Gemini

High repetition Rate

Astra Gemini delivers laser pulses at the petawatt (a million billion watts) scale, with unsurpassed intensity and in an entirely new ‘high-repetition rate’ regime. Its two beams can provide one pulse every 20 seconds (compared to once every 20 minutes for conventional systems such as Vulcan).

This makes it extremely useful for the detailed study of laser-driven particle acceleration, opening up a transformation in accelerator science and technology.

Find out more about Astra Gemini (link opens in a new window).

Laser for Science Facility

High versatility and Sensitivity

The Lasers for Science Facility (LSF) offers one of the most concentrated and versatile arrays of laser systems and expertise in the world. The facility is divided into three sections: the Molecular Structure and Dynamics Group, the Functional Biosystems Imaging Group and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC) funded Laser Loan Pool.

Find out more about the laser for science facility (link opens in a new window).

Find out more about the Laser Loan Pool (link opens in a new window).

Lasers Home 

Last updated: 04 March 2016


Science and Technology Facilities Council
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