Cluster of Excellence LAPHIA

(Laser and Photonics in Aquitaine)

Facility of Excellence PETAL +

(PETawatt Aquitaine Laser +)

PETAL_@Claire Gaugain© Claire Gaugain

Laser and Photonics in Aquitaine (LAPHIA)

Objective: strengthen research linked to different sites' federal projects through the support of its teams of excellence working in physics and material sciences.

Under the direction of Lionel Canioni.

LAPHIA unites the academic community in three main areas:

  • Lasers and high energy physics
  • Photonics and materials
  • Innovative imaging

Three main scientist challenges

  • Developing new laser and high-energy physics technologies
  • Designing and developing tomorrow’s photonic materials
  • Working on imaging, a field in full development, covering both advanced microscopy and the use of new radiation


LAPHIA goes hand in hand with the actors of training in physics and chemistry at the University of Bordeaux, in order to extend the innovation effort of the laser and photonics sector. To open up training to an international audience, LAPHIA offers mobility opportunities to partner universities.

Research & Valorization

LAPHIA provides the “fuel” for reseach, knowledge and technology transfer, via research projects and development. LAPHIA supports projects with potential for technological breakthroughs. Progress in optics and photonics plays an important role in many sectors of our society: aerospace, energy, automotive, communications, health, medical, etc.

The results of research supported by LAPHIA make technological innovation possible, as well as development of new products and/or business creation.

Every years, the LAPHIA support its community with an annual call for projects.

To find more information, please visit the dedicated webpages :

- LAPHIA Education program

- LAPHIA Research & Valorization program





Institut d’Optique d’Aquitaine
Rue François Mitterrand
33405 Talence
Tel : 05 57 01 71 11


22 research teams (about 120 researchers and professor-researchers) 11 laboratory partners 32 projects launched
41 recruitments (76% foreign nationals) 1 Student Chapter in Optics 15 international internships
+ than 200 publications (RICL) per year (more than 30 of which have an IF greater than 6) 4 IUFs  
Wendwesen Gebremichael (anciennement : Master 2 - Friedrich–Alexander universität (Allemagne))© LAPHIA

Firstly, LAPHIA helped me find a very good Master’s internship in one of its partner laboratories. In connection with the cluster’s manufacturing partners, I received a grant from the company Amplitude Systems, which specializes in new generations of lasers, and that enabled me to continue my research work on the optimization of laser performance for three months in the laboratory. I then applied for and received a CIFRE doctoral placement. Moreover, thanks to the LAPHIA initiative, I am also part of the «Bordeaux SPIE Student Chapter in Optics» network which enables the Bordeaux-based student community focused on laser and photonic fields to unite around this discipline along with a worldwide network. Aside from this opportunity for professionalization, my academic path shows how the LAPHIA community is organized in such a way that it can help any motivated student continue their education in the best conditions.

Wendwesen Gebremichael
Friedrich-Alexander University (Germany)

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Chaire Fulbright-Tocqueville 2016-2017 : Martin Richardson

Signe de l’accomplissement du travail de structuration du LAPHIA et de la place de la communauté photonique de Bordeaux dans le monde, Martin Richardson, professeur d’optique, de lasers et de photonique à l’Université de Floride centrale (États-Unis) et lauréat de la prestigieuse chaire Fulbright-Tocqueville 2016-2017, a choisi notre site pour y séjourner, présenter des cours et des conférences, visiter et travailler avec nos chercheurs. Il occupe ainsi sa fonction à l'université de Bordeaux jusqu'à fin juin 2017 dans le laboratoire CELIA (Centre lasers intenses et applications) du cluster d’excellence LAPHIA. L’objectif de la chaire Fulbright-Tocqueville est de créer, de développer ou de renforcer des coopérations franco-américaines dans des domaines et thématiques essentiels à l’avenir de nos sociétés et à la compréhension mutuelle entre les peuples américains et français.

PETAL + (PETawatt Aquitaine Laser +)

Objectives: developing the first plasma diagnosis for the LMJ/PETAL facilities, where the Laser Megajoule developed by the CEA will be coupled with the short-pulse high-intensity PETAL laser (financed by the Aquitaine Regional Government); allowing the measurement of the properties of laser-irradiated matter under extreme conditions of density, temperature and pressure; developing insertors (SID) to insert the diagnosis in the interaction chamber.

Under the leadership of Dimitri Batani.

The PETAL+ project involves the coupling of the Laser Mégajoule [MD1] (unique in Europe, installed on the CEA's Cesta site of Le Barp) with the PETAL laser (short-pulse high-intensity laser financed by the Aquitaine Regional Government).

This mega instrument for civil research will provide a world-class infrastructure for the physics of plasmas produced by high-power lasers. It will make it possible to reproduce states of matter hitherto impossible in laboratory conditions, such as those encountered at the core of stars.

It will be used for studies in various fields:

  • physics of the extreme
  • knowledge of the Universe
  • nuclear studies (inertial confinement fusion)
  • study of sources of radiation and laser-induced particles (and their applications, including medical research).

Three key plasma diagnostics have been defined (proton, electron and X-ray spectrometer) to enable the teams to conduct their experiments. These instruments will be placed around the target irradiated with the synchronized laser pulses of PETAL and the LMJ and will be used to measure the characteristics of the dense plasma produced, by recording and analyzing the X-rays generated. In addition, a dedicated module will make it possible to get real-time X-rays images of the LMJ-irradiated targets by using the X-rays or protons generated by a PETAL-irradiated target.

Each instrument is the fruit of collaboration between academic experts, local scientists who coordinate operations, and CEA scientists and technicians who have the overall responsibility of ensuring their compatibility with the LMJ and its environment.

The PETAL+ program is also preparing the academic opening of the LMJ/PETAL facility – involving the implementation of a wide spectrum of scientific projects submitted in response to a call for proposals and selected by a dedicated scientific committee – as well as the launch of a high-profile international program dedicated to shock-ignition of thermonuclear fuel for energy production.
Through its association with the "LMJ" flagship, the University of Bordeaux will rank as one of Europe's major players in the field of high energy density (HED) matter, particularly in inertial fusion energy (IFE) and laboratory astrophysics.


EquipEx PETAL+

Dimitri Batani


49 scientists involved 15m: length of the final devices (transfer box + insertor + diagnostic extension)
9.3 million budget 1 set of 4 diagnostics: SPECTIX (X-ray spectrometer), SESAME (electron spectrometer), SEPAGE (ion/proton spectrometer) and CRACC (radiography module)
Dimitri Batani, physicien, enseignant-chercheur à l'université de Bordeaux© Dimitri Batani

Together with Laser Megajoule (LMJ), PETAL will be a unique facility in the world allowing creating states of matter in extreme conditions of temperature, density and pressure. This will allow to simulate astrophysical events at small scales in the laboratory but also to study material science, and to progress in the field of inertial confinement fusion. With PETAL we will also be able to study the generation of high-energy radiation and particles. Understanding the physics of such process will open the way to new applications including new particle and radiation sources for medicine and plasma diagnostics.

Dimitri Batani,
Physicist, teacher-researcher at the University of Bordeaux

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L’intégration de SPECTIX sur la chambre d’expérience de LMJ – PETAL et les premiers tirs laserL’intégration de SPECTIX sur la chambre d’expérience de LMJ – PETAL et les premiers tirs laser

Le spectromètre pour rayons X SPECTIX a été délivré sur le site CESTA du CEA après l’été 2016. La première opération a été de tester les procédures opérationnelles et vérifier que les opérations pouvaient être faite sous vide et en assurant le confinement nucléaire de l’installation. Ensuite SPECTIX a été monté sur un banc de manutention des diagnostics plasmas, préparé, pré-aligné et transféré dans le SID. Le SID a été pompé et SPECTIX a été inséré dans la chambre d’interaction et aligné pour viser directement la cible qui devait être irradié par les faisceaux laser de LMJ. Le 29 novembre SPECTIX a été utilise pour la première expérience. Deux chaines laser ont délivré 30 kJ d’énergie à la longueur d’onde de 350 nm (troisième harmonique) sur une cible de cuivre et or. La durée de...