Laser Facilities

The Central Laser Facility provides a broad spectrum of laser facilities, from high intensity laser systems to ultra-fast sources and laser microscopy techniques. Underpinning the laser facilities are enabling capabilities, from computational plasma physics to target micro-fabrication and laser tweezers.


Vulcan (link opens in a new window) is a petawatt laser system, used for experiments researching fusion energy, electron and ion acceleration, laboratory astrophysics and plasma physics. The Nd:glass amplifier chain can deliver pulses with 2.6 kJ of laser energy, or pulses of up to a petawatt peak power in 500 femtoseconds to two experimental target areas.

Astra Gemini is a high power, ultra-short pulse laser system delivering dual beams of 15 J, 30 fs laser pulses, at a rate of one shot every 20 seconds, focused to intensities in excess of 1021 W/cm2 . Experiments on Gemini produce bright, coherent x-ray sources, or energetic beams of electrons and protons.

Artemis facility

Artemis is the CLF's facility for ultrafast XUV science. Artemis couples few optical cycle and widely tuneable laser sources with coherent ultrafast XUV pulses from 10-100 nm. Experiments on Artemis investigate ultra-fast electron dynamics in condensed matter and gas-phase molecules.


ULTRA combines laser, detector and sample manipulation technology to probe molecular dynamics on the femtosecond to microsecond timescales. ULTRA is one of the world’s most sensitive time-resolved spectrometers and is used to investigate dynamics of complex biological systems such as proteins.


The OCTOPUS imaging cluster offers a range of imaging techniques including multidimensional single molecule microscopy, confocal microscopy and optical profilometry. The variety of multicolour light sources in OCTOPUS gives the flexibility to combine multiple beams, multiple colours and timing capabilities.

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