The Catalan Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO), the first global research laboratory in physics

Although this happened before would open this blog, we are pleased to let you known that the the Catalan Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO) has become the world’s first research laboratory of Physics and Astronomy, according to the Mapping Scientific Excellence where the Catalan Institute for Research in Advanced Studies (ICREA) is in the third position and the Institute of High Energy Physics (IFAE) in position 18th.
This ranking, measuring the quality of research has a global impact. ICFO which last year celebrated a decade, is working to extend the boundaries of knowledge of photonics, the science and technology of the use of light, especially laser light. The institute is located in the campus of the Polytechnic University of Catalonia (UPC) in Castelldefels (Barcelona). As a result of its work on knowledge and technology transfer, five ‘spin off’ companies have emerged.

ICFO participates actively in the “Graphene Project.” Besides the Human Brain Project, the European Commission has also granted a billion of euros to the Graphene Project, an essential project to promote emerging technologies and help creating new jobs. These studies about this two-dimensional crystal may revolutionize the telecommunications and even medicine.

Led by Professor Jari Kinaret from Chalmers University of Technology in Sweden, researchers involved in the Graphene project are from seventeen European countries. It is hoped that this extraordinary material can be used to manufacture electronic paper, ultra think and flexible mobile phones, lighter aircrafts, more durable batteries, artificial retinas and so on. It can also replace the silicon used to make chips 500 times smaller and 10 times faster. The list of participants is huge, but it is noteworthy that among them are catalan Institutes: Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB), Catalan Institute of Nanotechnology (ICN), Institute for Photonic Sciences (ICFO) and UPC-Catalan Plastic Centre (part of Centre for Research and Technology)

Elena Escubedo (Universitat de Barcelona)


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