An innovative laser technology project submitted by Luxembourg Institute of Science and Technology (LIST) to the Luxembourg National Research Fund (FNR) was recently granted €2 million in funding.
The project is known as FRAGOLA, an acronym of its full title “FRequency AGile Optical Lattices” and the funding was awarded to Dr Alexandros Gerakis as part of FNR’s ATTRACT programme designed for researchers not yet established in Luxembourg, able to demonstrate potential in becoming leaders in their field of research.
Dr Gerakis, LIST’s Principal Investigator of FRAGOLA outlined the goal the project. “It aims to deliver by the end of its duration, a complete laser diagnostic solution for neutral and plasma flows. This will not only be the first-of-its-kind demonstration of such capabilities, involving a deep understanding of light-matter interaction, but also develop state-of-the-art laser instrumentation to be able to tackle the task”.
Laser based diagnostic techniques are promising replacements for mechanical probes offering numerous advantages such as non-intrusive, non-perturbative and non-destructive capabilities, fast acquisition times, and more precise measurements of quantities of interest such as temperature, density, flow velocity etc.
Dr Gerakis explained that this project will enable LIST to “jumpstart its activities into advanced laser-based diagnostics used for neutrals, plasmas and nanoparticles, and develop unique expertise, knowledge, tools and know-how, placing LIST and Luxembourg at the centre of relevant research activities on a world-wide scale”.
Dr Gerakis and the FRAGOLA project were awarded an FNR ATTRACT Consolidator Fellowship, funded with €2 million euros by FNR for a period of five years. Three PhD students and two PostDoc researchers will work on the project.
An important task to be achieved with FRAGOLA is, not only to establish a fruitful and sustainable research programme in laser diagnostic development and photonics applications within LIST, but also educate and train researchers in the field, and therefore create a highly skilled and diverse core of laser diagnostics researchers in Luxembourg.
“This ATTRACT funding really enables us to carry out an ambitious and exciting research plan,” said Dr Gerakis.
Director of LIST’s Materials Research and Technology (MRT) department Damien Lenoble stated, “This ATTRACT research programme further recognises the strategic merit to invest into the most advanced diagnostics and matter-manipulation technologies enabled by leading-edge laser instrumentations. These are instrumental competences for MRT to accelerate within the next five years our knowledge in non-perturbative process monitoring and in quantum system manipulation”.
Marc Schiltz, CEO of the Luxembourg National Research Fund, is delighted with the arrival of Dr Alexandros Gerakis. "I am very pleased that we are able to support Dr Gerakis launch his ambitious research project with an ATTRACT Fellowship from the FNR. The FRAGOLA project will enable advanced research on laser-based technology to be conducted in Luxembourg.”
Alexandros Gerakis is currently a Senior Research & Technology Associate at LIST. He obtained his BSc from the School of Applied Mathematical and Physical Sciences, National Technical University of Athens, Greece and his Master’s degree from St Andrews and Herriot-Watt Universities, in "Photonic and Optoelectronic Devices". He holds a PhD in Physics from University College London, UK. Prior to joining LIST, he had a PostDoc at Harvard University, was an Associate Research Physicist at the Princeton Plasma Physics Laboratory and an Assistant Professor (currently an Adjunct Professor) at the Department, Texas A&M University, leading the “Optical Probing & Manipulation” Group.