Access Facilities - CLF, Rutherford Appleton Laboratory, Chilton, United Kingdom

Transnational Access to STFC/ CLF
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Vulcan: Rob Clarke
Artemis: Emma Springate
Gemini: Rajeev Pattathil



The STFC is part of UK Research and Innovation, a new organisation that brings together the UK’s Research Councils, Innovate UK and Research England to maximise the contribution of each Council and create the best environment for research and innovation to flourish. For more information visit The Central Laser Facility (CLF) at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory is a Directed department within the STFC. Description: STFC is one of Europe’s largest multi-disciplinary research organisations and operates across the scientific spectrum. It supports university-based research, innovation and skills development in astronomy, particle physics, nuclear physics and space science. It develops and operates a range of scientific facilities, providing access to world-leading, large-scale facilities across a range of physical and life sciences, enabling research, innovation and skills training in these areas. The Central Laser Facility (CLF) is an internationally unique national asset that is set in the heart of the STFC’s Rutherford Appleton Laboratory. The CLF develops and operates five large scale, state of the art laser based facilities that are supported by expert scientific and technical staff. These are: Ultra, Octopus, Vulcan, Gemini and Artemis.

Research Facilities:

Ultra: Combines laser, detector and sample manipulation technology to provide molecular dynamics (on the femtosecond to microsecond timescales) to address scientific problems in the physical and life sciences.

Octopus: Multiple light sources are linked to multiple imaging stations allowing a combination of techniques to be brought to bear on the samples under investigation. OCTOPUS offers a range of imaging techniques including multidimensional single molecule microscopy, confocal microscopy (FLIM, FRET, and multiphoton), and optical.

Artemis: offers ultrashort laser and EUV pulses linked to end-stations for time-resolved dynamics and spectroscopy in gases, liquids and condensed matter. The end-stations on offer enable time- and angle-resolved photoemission spectroscopy (Tr-ARPES) and electron time-of-flight and spin detection for condensed matter experiments; velocity- map imaging with a molecular beam; high harmonic generation spectroscopy and coherent EUV imaging.

Gemini: A Dual-beam Petawatt laser facility. Each beam will deliver 15 joules to target in a high contrast, 30 femtosecond pulse (a peak power of 0.5 PW), enabling focused intensities exceeding 1021 Wcm-2. The standout feature of Gemini is its repetition rate; with a shot every 20 seconds.

Vulcan: This facility has two operational target areas Target Area West (TAW) and Target Area Petawatt (TAP). Vulcan TAP short pulse configuration (500 J/500 fs) can deliver intensities up to 10^21 W/cm^2. TAW can deliver 8 beams offering flexible configurations with 200 TW in short pulse beams in combination with 1.5 KJ long pulse delivered in 6 beams.

Excellence: The CLF is a world-leading player for fundamental and applied scientific research using lasers, offering capabilities in terms of facilities, enabling capabilities and training that are not readily available elsewhere. Over the last 5 years, research conducted at the CLF has produced more than 500 peer-reviewed publications - over 100 of them are in journals considered by the Institute of Scientific Information (ISI) to be very high impact. This means ISI Impact Factor 7.0 or above, equating to the world’s top 3% of journals. Citation analysis on papers from STFC facilities published during 2011-15 showed that CLF papers had a higher citation impact compared with the world average during the same period. The analysis also showed that in multidisciplinary materials science, condensed matter physics and multidisciplinary physics, CLF-related papers achieved over twice the world average citation impact.


- Uniform patchy and hollow rectangular platelet micelles from crystallizable polymer blends, H Qiu et al., Science 352, 697-701 (2016), doi:10.1126/science.aad9521
- Ultrafast Band Structure Control of a Two-Dimensional Heterostructure, S Ulstrup et al., ACS Nano 10, 6315–6322 (2016), doi:10.1021/acsnano.6b02622
- Experimental Evidence of Radiation Reaction in the Collision of a High-Intensity Laser Pulse with a Laser-Wakefield Accelerated Electron Beam, J Cole et al., Physical Review X 8, 011020 (2018), doi:10.1103/PhysRevX.8.011020
- Near-100 MeV protons via a laser-driven transparency-enhanced hybrid acceleration scheme, A Higginson et al., Nature Communications 9, 724 (2018), doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-03063-9
- Directing the path of light-induced electron transfer at a molecular fork using vibrational excitation, M Delor et al., Nature Chemistry 9, 1099–1104 (2017), doi:10.1038/nchem.2793