European Laboratory for Non-Linear Spectroscopy

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European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy
Laboratorio Europeo per la Spettroscopia Non-lineare
Motto Scientific excellence is our guiding light
Established February 9, 1991 (1991-02-09)
Research type Laser facility
Budget €10,000,000
Director Francesco Saverio Pavone
Staff 100+
Location Florence, Italy
Operating agency
University of Florence

The European Laboratory for Non-linear Spectroscopy (LENS) is an interdisciplinary research center established by the Italian Ministry of Education in 1991[1] within the University of Florence thanks to the initiative of Prof. Salvatore Califano.


LENS mission is focused on three main goals:[2] facilitating the scientific collaboration between European researchers in the field of linear and non-linear spectroscopy; providing the most advanced equipment available, assistance and advice to qualified researchers; conceive, plan and carry out research projects in collaboration with other universities and institutions both nationally and internationally.


LENS has a strongly international and interdisciplinary structure. The Directive Council is composed of experts in the fields of research covered by LENS and oversees all scientific, administrative and financial activities: the University of Florence, the Italian National Institute for Optics under the CNR, the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics, the Kaiserslautern University of Technology and the Pierre and Marie Curie University are all represented on the board.

Current LENS director, appointed by the Rector of the University of Florence on the proposal of the Directive Council, is Francesco Saverio Pavone.

The director shall be assisted by a European Committee composed of the Rectors and Presidents of universities and affiliated research organizations or their representatives.

Head office[edit]

After many years on the historic hill of Arcetri, since 1995 LENS is located within the Science and Technology Pole at Sesto Fiorentino.

Scientific research[edit]

LENS foundation is started by a group of researchers involved in atomic and molecular laser spectroscopy, but during two decades its research activity has grown and diversified to also cover cold atoms physics (Bose–Einstein condensate and Fermi gas), physics of complex and disordered systems, photochemistry, biochemistry and biophysics, quantum biology, materials science, photonics, condensed matter physics, and the analysis, preservation and restoration of artistic heritage. All of these fields share the same fundamental methodology: the use of laser light to investigate matter.

LENS research groups are involved in four main research lines: atomic physics, physical chemistry, photonics and biophysics.

European Laserlab consortium[edit]

As laser facility, LENS is part of Laserlab-Europe consortium since its foundation,[3] providing access to its labs within the Transnational Access To Research Infrastructures Programme [1] of the European Commission. Main research interests are represented by five Joint Research Activities [2], two of which involve LENS: ALADIN [3] and OPTBIO [4].

LENS main building at Polo Scientifico e Tecnologico of the University of Florence in Sesto Fiorentino


LENS provides a PhD school, also supported by the University of Florence and others European universities, and a Postdoctoral fellowship programme. Both initiatives are partially supported by the EU Marie Curie Actions funded by the European Commission in various scientific disciplines and the European Erasmus Mundus programme.


In 2006 the Italian CIVR, in its triennial report about national research (referred to 2001-2003 period), has put LENS at the top of Italian small scientific centers for physics and chemistry.[4]


  1. ^ Legge 30 gennaio 1991, n. 37 - Istituzione del Laboratorio europeo di spettroscopie non lineari (LENS) presso l'Universita' di Firenze.
  2. ^ LENS statute (in Italian).
  3. ^ Page about LENS on the official Laserlab website
  4. ^ Triennial assessment of research 2001-2003

External links[edit]