The CLF is one of the world’s leading centres for multi-disciplinary science and innovation using lasers. It is one of the three open access UK National Facilities that works with a national and international user Community of research scientists that are operating at the forefront of their respective fields and require access to the most advanced and sophisticated laser based facilities available. Its work spans the scientific spectrum, working with the majority of UK universities, all five UK scientific Research Councils, industry, charities, other agencies of the state such as the MoD, the NHS, the Home Office and a wide range international partners including many EU Universities / institutes, the European Commission and other European national funding agencies. The CLF houses some of the world's most powerful laser facilities for high energy density / high intensity science (Vulcan) and plasma based acceleration (Gemini). It’s large scale imaging facilities (Octopus) are amongst the most advanced laser based microscopy and nanoscopy systems available anywhere and its facilities for dynamics research (Ultra, Artemis) operate in the femto- and atto-second domain. The CLF provides critical support functions to its Community, particularly in theoretical and computations physics, advanced micro/nano fabrication of targetry and engineering. Access to all CLF facilities is independently peer reviewed and free at the point of delivery. The CLF has a rich history of innovation and societal / economic impact over several decades. From its earliest days, the origins of laser eye surgery for corneal reshaping, now commonplace on the high street, can be formally traced back to early experiments in the CLF. It’s latest spinout, Cobalt Light Systems Ltd, has commercialised CLF patented techniques for through barrier detection and developed a range of products for detecting liquid explosives that have seen widespread uptake by major airports throughout Europe. Over its history, the CLF has been involved in the formation of more than 10 spinouts and one third of all the patents STFC hold across its portfolio have originated in the CLF. The CLF operates a technology transfer centre (CALTA - The Centre for Advanced Laser Technology and Applications) to facilitate the commercial exploitation of its advanced diode laser technology and to pioneer new and novel applications of extreme photonics to the benefit of wider society.
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