Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics

The members of the Section of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics are Drs. D. Charalambidis,  C. Fotakis, I. Kominis, P. Lambropoulos, P. Rakitzis, T. Zouros, the collaborating members of the FORTH-IESL and other Departments of the Univ. of Crete: Drs. D. Anglos,  C. Kalpouzos, G. Nikolopoulos, N. A. Papadogiannis, D. Papazoglou, D. Petrosian, E. Velegrakis, plus a number of postdocs and graduate students.

In the Department of Physics there is a broad spectrum of activities related to atomic, molecular and optical physics. The largest part of these activities is in collaboration with the Laser and Applications Section of FORTH-IESL. The laser laboratories are equipped with state of the art lasers and associated experimental workstations permitting the realization of novel experiments in cutting edge research topics. The on-going activities are based on a strong interplay between basic, applied and technological research. The activities include training, demonstrations and promotion of laser related technologies. Staff members of the laser section are participating in several competitive European research programs, in some of which they are playing a world-leading role, and have established a great number of effective international collaborations. Some of them are members of European and international scientific boards. The scientific impact of the section, as quantified by means of publications, participation in international scientific events and patents, includes more than 30 publications in international refereed journals or books per year and about 10 invited talks per year in international conferences. The main research activities of the section are summarized below:


(a) Theoretical Atomic and Molecular Physics

The theory group of the section is working on problems of: atomic structure; the interaction o f laser radiation with atoms and molecules; quantum optics and in particular cavity Quantum Electrodynamics phenomena in photonic crystals, as well as quantum dots in connection with aspects of Quantum Information; Bose Einstein Condensation in gases and the theory of the atom laser.

(b) Experimental Atomic and Molecular Physics with Lasers

The experimental atomic and molecular physics activities are focused in the investigation of novel aspects in the interaction of coherent electromagnetic radiation with atoms. Its scientific activities can be grouped in the following areas:

  • Generation, metrology and applications of intense coherent ultra-short VUV-XUV pulses. This activity at the forefront of atto-second (as) science (1atto=10-18) includes the first indication of laboratory as pulses, the development of novel instrumentation and methods for their characterization and the first direct measurement of their duration. Such pulses are unique for the study of ultra-fast electronic dynamics.

  • Coherent control of laser - atom / molecule interaction processes and products with recent emphasis in the control of products through feedback optimized "shaped" laser pulses. An "evolutionary" algorithm governs the optimization process along the Darwin's principle of "Survival of the Fittest".

  • Atomic/molecular spectroscopy, dynamics and coherent effects. The activity includes: Production and detection of spin polarized atoms from molecular photodissociation; Studies of interference effects in photodissociation / photoionization, from the coherent excitation of multiple, in continuum decaying, states; Polarization-dependent cavity ring-down spectroscopy.

  • Studies of the interaction of high - intensity, short-duration laser pulses with matter at and beyond the limit of perturbation theory. Testing of models though correlated electron-ion measurements.

(c) Atomic Physics with Accelerators.

Atomic physics of few-electron processes in energetic ion-atom collisions primarily investigated by high-resolution Auger electron spectroscopy. Recently, with a grant supplied by the research program THALIS (2011-2015), a special beam line devoted to experimental atomic physics of ion-atom collisions has been setup at the 5MV tandem Van de Graaff accelerator of the Institute of Nuclear and Particle Physics at the NCSR Dimokritos in Athens with the formation of group specialized in high resolution electron spectroscopy. For more information please see here.


(a) Materials growth, characterization & process analysis

The objective of this activity is the study of fundamental issues of laser - based processes such as laser photoablation and deposition.

(b) Novel coherent light sources

The activity is aiming at the optimization of non-linear frequency up-conversion processes and the use of the optimized processes in the development of coherent short pulse XUV radiation sources.

(c) Novel laser based methods for quantitative elemental analysis

The objective of the activity is to develop and apply new laser based methods for quantitative elemental analysis of gaseous samples and solid surfaces. It is primarily focusing on quantitative laser mass spectroscopy.


(a) Process diagnostics

The activity is focused on the development of laser based diagnostic methods for processes monitoring such as Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS), Laser Mass Spectroscopy (LMS), Laser Induced Fluorescence (LIF).

University of Crete - Department of Physics  - Voutes University Campus - GR-71003 Heraklion, Greece
phone: +30 2810 394300 - fax: +30 2810 394301