ULF-FORTH (Heraklion, Greece)

The Ultraviolet Laser Facility (ULF-FORTH) is a multi-disciplinary laboratory dedicated to laser-based science. It is the major laser research facility in Greece. ULF-FORTH combines state-of-the-art experimental facilities with a rich spectrum of research activities and expertise including Atomic and Optical physics, Molecular physics and Chemical dynamics, laser-materials interactions, laser applications and techniques in Biomedicine and in Cultural Heritage.
Research highlights

Ultraviolet Laser Facility, Foundation for Research
and Technology-Hellas, Greece (ULF-FORTH),
Heraklion, Crete, Greece



Contact: Dr. P. Loukakos

Materials Sciences

Project ID 2211: This research is of direct application to the UV pulsed laser cleaning of materials used in paintings and demonstrates the potential of Nonlinear Optical Microscopy as a novel assessment tool for non-destructive, on line monitoring of the laser cleaning process. [Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys. 19, 22836 (2017)].

Advanced imaging and diagnostic techniques for Art & Cultural Heritage

Project ID 2169: This work demonstrates for the first time the potential complementary imaging capabilities of Optical coherence tomography (OCT) and non-linear microscopy (NLM) for multi-modal 3D examination of paintings. [Opt. Express 25, 19640 (2017)]. 

Plasma Physics & applications to astrophysics and planetology

Project ID 2407: Carbon-Based Nanostructured Film Materials for High-Intense Laser-Matter Interaction Experiments [Adv. Eng. Mater. 2019, 1800777 (2018)].

Condensed Matter Physics, Ultrafast Nanoscience

Project ID 2258: In this work laser-based surface patterning of rutile TiO2 monocrystals with (001) and (100) surface orientation is investigated following irradiation by a fs KrF laser with variable fluences and multiple linearly polarized beams. The obtained morphological maps of the characteristic surface morphologies revealed the significant influence of the crystalline anisotropy on the laser-surface interaction process. [J. Opt. Soc. Am. B 35, 2600 (2018)].

Atomic & Molecular Physics

Project ID 2373: This work highligths a novel source of highly nuclear-spin-polarized deuterium atoms obtained from the UV laser dissociation of Deuterium Iodide. [Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 233401 (2017)].

Projects performed by external users >>

Further application highlights

Lasers and Cancer Lasers for Clean Energy Lasers for Cultural Heritage




Scientists at ULF-FORTH produce internationally recognized cutting-edge work in diverse fields such as Strong Field Physics, including Attosecond Science and Ultrashort Non-linear Interactions and Sources; Dynamic Processes in Atoms, Molecules and Materials including Polarization Spectroscopy, BEC & Matter Waves, Chemical dynamics, Cluster Physics & chemistry; Theoretical Atomic, Molecular & Optical Physics including Theoretical Quantum Optics & Technology, Theoretical Plasma Physics, Theoretical & Computational Chemistry; Photon Science Applications including Photonic Materials & Devices, Nonlinear Lithography, Ultra-fast Laser Micro- & Nano- Processing, Diagnostic Methodologies & Instrumentation including ultrafast nonlinear laser-matter probing, analytical spectroscopy and optosensing techniques, Photonics for Cultural Heritage, Biophotonics.

A few highlights which have emerged as results of research at our facility are:

As a consequence of its ongoing high quality research output, ULF-FORTH has been designated by several EC technical reviews, as well as independent evaluation panels, as an “excellent scientific environment for research work”. ULF-FORTH is an integral part of IESL which was awarded the mark 5.0/5.0 (“excellent”) and ranked as the top Institute in the Greek Research Community in the domain of Physics, by independent external panel of expert Reviewers.

Equipment offered to external users


The major laser systems at ULF-FORTH include: a) several Ti:Sa lasers with pulse duration down to >20 fs and energy <500 mJ/pulse at 10 Hz and 50 Hz. The Attosecond Science unit provides to Users energetic isolated or trains of attosecond pulses. The beam line makes available non linear XUV autocorrelators and XUV-pump-XUV-probe delay lines as well as IR-XUV cross-correlators and delay lines. Ion mass, photoelectron and ion microscope with 1μm resolution, XUV flat field spectrometer and other diagnostic facilities are also offered. Tunable XUV radiation is in the range (55-115 nm; 105-1011 photons/pulse per harmonic on target). Secondary ultra-short sources in the UV-NIR as well as an intense THz source (0.1-10 THz, with peak power allowing nonlinear studies) are also available; b) a high-intensity excimer-based laser at 248 nm, with variable pulse duration (150 fs, 450 fs or 5 ps) and focused intensities <1016 W/cm2; c) a complete range of tuneable Vis-UV-VUV lasers (205–1800 nm; 5-20 ns), a  White-light (500-2000nm, 100MHz rep. rate, few μJ/pulse, <1ns) laser and CW diode lasers (402nm, 795nm, 1300-1340nm, linewidth <1MHz), all coupled to experimental workstations for atomic and molecular spectroscopy and chemical dynamics; d) several compact fs and ps laser systems in workstations for micro/nano processing and photochemical modification; Large-area processing of optoelectronics devices in controlled atmosphere; pump-probe (UV-VIS-nIR-white light, fs-ps) time-resolved spectroscopy; 3D printing applications as in micro-optical components, microfluidic devices; 3D scaffolds for cell growth, micro/nanosensors, nanophotonics and metamaterials; Biophotonics stations integrating Live cell Microscopy + Non-linear Imaging + Cellular manipulation + Bioprinting; Nonlinear Bio-medical imaging and nanosurgery; a range of confocal microscopy stations for live cell imaging; multispectral Fluorescence Molecular Tomography for spatio-temporal gene expression; Micro-Absorption/Photoluminenscence spectroscopy (4K-380K); Optical fibre components manufacturing; Photoacoustic imaging and monitoring among others. Additional characterization facilities include SQUID Magnetometry (DC & AC f= 0.01 - 1000 Hz, <7 Tesla, (1.9–400)K and (300-800)K), XRD, TEM/SEM among others.

Other Information

Since 1990, ULF-FORTH has been operating as a European Research Infrastructure, and has been very active in Transnational Access (over 450 Users from the EU and Associated Member States, over 3000 days of beam time, around 320 research projects and hosts circa 50 external Users per year). It has been among the initiators of the LIMANS cluster of laser facilities, the LASERNET network and LASERLAB EUROPE. The host institution also participates in other I3 projects EUSMI and CHARISMA, the ESFRI initiative ELI, ACTAPHAST 4.0, IPERION-CH/MOLAB and NFFA.