Back to top

Revolutionary lasers available to the next generation of researchers 

August 19, 2022 | Julie Robert

Update : September 23, 2022

Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI) invests $3.4M to boost research at the Advanced Laser Light Source (ALLS)

A peek inside the vaccum chamber of the 750 terawatt laser at the Advanced Laser Light Source (ALLS) at the INRS.

A peek inside the vaccum chamber of the 750 terawatt laser at the Advanced Laser Light Source (ALLS) at the INRS. Source: Josée Lecompte

The Advanced Laser Light Source (ALLS), the only infrastructure of its kind in Canada that is based at the Institut national de la recherche scientifique (INRS), has received nearly $3.4 million from the Government of Canada through the Canada Foundation for Innovation‘s (CFI) Major Science Initiatives Fund.

This grant to support state-of-the-art facilities and stimulate innovative research projects was announced on August 19 by François-Philippe Champagne, Minister of Innovation, Science and Industry. In total, this prestigious competition involves an investment of more than $628 million to support the ongoing operation and maintenance needs of 19 nationally significant research facilities at 14 institutions across Canada, including ALLS at INRS.

“We are proud to be one of the finalist teams of this prestigious competition. This investment will allow us to considerably reduce the obstacles involved in using the infrastructure, which remains complex and costly, and to maintain and extend our outstanding technical team,” says Professor François Légaré, Scientific Director of the ALLS Laboratory. 

“Greater use of the laboratory will allow it to remain an international-calibre centre of excellence in ultrafast science.”

François Légaré, INRS Professor and Scientific Director of the ALLS Laboratory.

A state-of-the-art laboratory with numerous applications

Located at the INRS Énergie Matériaux Télécommunications Research Centre in Varennes, the ALLS Laboratory is a world-class research facility focused on ultrafast laser science and technologies for revolutionary applications that impact Canada’s many innovation sectors.

Using laser technologies to study matter, including Canada’s most powerful laser (750 terawatts), ALLS enables cutting-edge research in areas such as physics, chemistry, biology, telecommunications, and advanced materials.

Manufacturing more efficient batteries, using X-ray imaging for more sustainable agriculture and to combat food insecurity, and detecting diseases at an earlier stage are just some of ALLS’ numerous applications. The laboratory enables to advance the innovation sectors of Canada.

A unique infrastructure accessible to the next generation of researchers

The infrastructure, which is open to users, attracts researchers from across Canada as well as from international institutions based in the United States, France, Austria, Sweden, Germany, Italy, Greece, and Japan, to name but a few. The ALLS Laboratory draws on the knowledge and expertise of high-calibre researchers in fields such as physics, laser and optics, chemistry, computer science, biology, medicine, and biochemistry.

While previous investments by the Ministère de l’Économie et de l’Innovation (MEI) and the American consortium LaserNetUS, of which ALLS is a member, have facilitated access to this infrastructure for some scientists, this new investment will allow the next generation of researchers to train and innovate by giving them access to unique laser sources in Canada for a variety of applications.

“This funding is an unprecedented opportunity for early-career researchers who will finally have access to this infrastructure for their work.

Heide Ibrahim, research associate at INRS

“This is wonderful news for our group, but also for the entire research community,” says Heide Ibrahim, who is also an adjunct professor at the University of Ottawa. She is one of the scientists who will be able to use the ALLS facility for their own projects.

“The future of high-power lasers looks bright, and Canada is becoming a leader in this field. We have the expertise needed to shine on an international level,” concluded Professor Légaré.

In addition to François Légaré and Heide Ibrahim, professors Patrizio Antici and Tsuneyuki Ozaki are part of the management team of ALLS, a recipient of the MSI Fund 2023 competition.

The team would like to thank the members of the ALLS Strategic Planning Committee, especially co-chairs Professor Donna Strickland and Dr. Steve MacLean, as well as the ALLS Scientific and Technology Advisory Board, for supporting this funding project.

The project has also benefitted from the contributions of other colleagues from INRS and Canadian institutions.