"There is no object so foul that intense light will not make beautiful"
R.W.Emerson, Poet





Our research investigates light at its extremes. This might be very intense light or light at its weakest, at the single photon level. By combining these two extremes it is possible to use intense light to warp the spacetime structure perceived by photons. An exciting application is the study of black-hole physics and quantum electrodynamics in curved space-time geometries. Properly controlled and intense laser pulses will create the analogue of a black hole event horizon that may thus be studied in the laboratory. Another area of ongoing research is imaging with ultra-precise timing that allows us to freeze light in motion with remarkable applications: see our TEDx video and also our new video explaining how we can see behind walls .


The extreme light group is part of the Institute of Photonics and Quantum Sciences at Heriot-Watt University, Scotland. Our research is funded by the European Research Council (ERC), the UK Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC), The Leverhulme Trust, The Centre for Defence Enterprise (CDE), and is part of the UK Quantum Imaging Hub, QuantIC.



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-------------------------- OLDER NEWS --------------------------


13/05/2014 - Phys. Rev. Lett., the "Nature of spatiotemporal light bullets"

08/05/2014 - Post-Doc position available Apply here!!

30/04/2014 - Royal Society exhibition this summer will feature our work on light-in-flight imaging (link to research page), in collaboration with EQO and Glasgow

07/03/2014 - New Scientist article on cosmological analogues, features HWU work on the dynamical Casimir effect

27/02/2014 - Aurora Borealis in Edinburgh!!


25/11/2013 - ExtremeLight paper on "Optical Black Hole Lasers" selected as 2012-2013 Highlight by the journal "Classical and Quantum Gravity"

28/07/2013 - Springer book published: "Analogue Gravity Phenomenology, Analogue Spacetimes and Horizons, from Theory to Experiment", Eds. D. Faccio et al., - link to Springer web page

31/07/2013 - Analogue Gravity featured in the season finale of "The Big Bang Theory"!!

29/07/2013 - new ExtremeLight paper in PRL reports on seeded and spontaneous blackbody emission from an effective moving medium created in diamond using intense laser pulses - this research was performed mostly by our young (and talented) undergraduate students! - download paper

17/06/2013 - PRL published on wavelength scaling properties of plasma THz emission - download paper

10/06/2013 - TEDGlobal pre-conference event lab tour organised at the Horizons Laser facility!!

20/12/2012 - Feature article on astrophysical models in the lab, "Science et Vie" (in french)

24/10/2012 - Interview with The Student

15/10/2012 - New Scientist reports recent work on Optical Black Hole Lasers (link to arxiv paper )

04/10/2012 - BBC interview online news and on TV - Reporting Scotland (Youtube link)

28/09/2012 - Annual University reports published - Heriot-Watt 4th UK University (after Cambridge, Oxford, Bath) in the National Student Survey. Heriot-Watt listed 9th overall in the UK and best Scottish University of the year by the Sunday Times

22/09/2012 - NEW laser system installed - 15 mJ, 100 fs, 100 Hz

10/09/2012 - 1.5 million Euro ERC grant "Light in moving media", awarded to D. Faccio

04/08/2012 - Mihail Petev awarded best poster at ICPS (International Conference of Physics Students, Netherlands) conference

22/06/2012 - "Negative-Frequency Resonant Radiation" - published in Physical Review Letters - Editors selection and "Viewpoint" by Biancalana

01/05/2012 - "Multi-octave supercontinuum generation from mid-infared filamentation in a bulk crystal" - published in Nature Communications

01/04/2012 - "Hawking radiation in dielectric horizon analogues" - EPSRC funded project

22/03/2012 - Research on Hawking radiation selected as "2011 Highlight" by New Journal of Physics

10/09/2011 - D. Faccio elected member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Young Academy.

6-8/09/2011 - Workshop - "Relativistic quantum information", Madrid

16-21/05/2011 - SIGRAV Summer School on "Analogue Gravity".

16/03/2011 - Workshop - "Relativistic Quantum Information", University of Nottingham

18/02/2011 - Seminar - "Hawking photon emission from horizons in the laboratory", Lancaster University

02/02/2011 - Research highlighted in February issue of Nature Photonics. Link to article

12/12/2010 - Research highlighted in December issue of Scientific American

08/12/2010 - Colloquium talk at Hannover University QUEST - Centre for Quantum Engineering and space-time research - "Hawking photon emission from horizons in the laboratory"

08/11/2010 - Phys. Rev. Lett.: "Hawking radiation from ultrashort laser pulse filaments" highlighted in APS Viewpoints



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