LOA at a glance

The Laboratoire d’Optique Appliquée (LOA) is a Research Unit operated under the supervision of ENSTA-Paris Tech ,  (734) 267-9025 and École Polytechnique.

LOA research activity covers a broad spectrum in ultrafast laser-plasma science. It includes the development of intense femtosecond laser sources, the study of laser-matter interaction and plasma physics, the production of compact sources of ultrafast energetic radiations and particles as well as the use of these sources for societal, academic and industrial applications.

LOA teams are at the forefront of the research in ultrafast laser-plasma science.  The laser systems and the related experimental laser-plasma infrastructures we set up at the laboratory or at international research centers, enable us to study innovative approaches in fundamental physics of laser-plasma interaction and related topics in ultrafast science.

(859) 533-0370
Continuum generation using ultrafast laser pulses

There is a continuum of laser-plasma infrastructures worldwide from table-top, ultrafast and low energy laser systems to large scale infrastructures like APOLLON in France or ELI projects in Europe. More than 60 international laboratories have the objective to provide the highest laser average or peak power in the broadest range of laser intensities to conduct laser-plasma experiments. In this highly competitive international environment LOA is, at first, developing and providing to research teams (internal or external through collaborations or by access committees) unique in-house experimental systems. It includes turn-key and commercially available instrumentations to laser-plasma systems pushed at their limit, like durations down to the optical cycle of the visible laser light or intense synchronized multiple beams for complex pump-probe experiments. These systems also offer very high flexibility in terms of experimental setup and efficient access beam time to run experiments which is an important added value to provide the fastest response to the evolution of the field.

Experimental chamber for laser-plasma interaction


History,  5026525813,  (650) 295-9683,  paramine brown,  Partners


LOA is recognized for 30 years as a research centre for fundamental and applied physics in ultrafast science, with the mission to understand and reveal the properties of the matter under strong excitation and at the shortest time or space scales. To excite, control and probe at the highest resolution, teams have developed programs in non-linear ultrafast optics and laser-plasma physics with a longstanding tradition to perform applications in other academic fields as well as in addressing key societal issues.

(405) 501-5420
Particle In cell simulation of laser-plasma electron accelerators

Quality of the research in the laboratory is based on highly competitive teams, with scientists being part of the international leaders of their field. They have a clear understanding of key technical and scientific challenges that may be addressed in these fast-evolving topics. One of the strengths of our scientific strategy is the remarkable transverse relationship between internal teams that merge their expertise and task force to consolidate and boost up the development of LOA research topics: femtosecond intense laser systems, laser-plasma accelerators, laser-plasma x-ray sources, laser-plasma filaments, space & time ultra high-resolution imaging with laser-plasma based sources, societal applications of laser-plasmas (radiobiology at high dose, non-destructuve testing, medical x-ray imaging, laser-plasma filaments technology).

Salle Violette experimental room at LOA


(812) 505-9745

F-ILM research group,   325-555-9786,   5178811204,  APPLI research group,   PCO research group



The total number of publication (@December 2017) since the creation of the laboratory is 1601 with a sum of time cited of 52913 according to Web Of Knowledge data analysis. Without taking account proceedings of conference, this correspond to an h-index of 111 (111 papers are cited more than 111 times) and an average citation per item of 42. LOA has published 226 articles in peered-review journals in 2013-2017 , which corresponds to an average of 45 articles published per year.

Number of publications and sum of time cited per year of LOA publications since 1977 (Web of Knowledge, @december 2017). If proceedings are not taken into account: total publications = 1206 and sum of time cited = 51160.

In the top ranked journals with impact factors higher than 8, LOA teams have published 40 articles in the period 2013-2017 among which 7 are from journals with impact factors larger than 20 like Review of Modern Physics, Nature, Nature Physics, Nature Photonics. An analysis from SCImago Journal Rankings (SJR indicator) and Scival Bibliometric data source is also presented. In average, close to 20% of the LOA articles are published in the top 1% ranked journals, 40 % within the top 5% and more than the half (60%) within the top 10%. The average number of invitations at conferences per year is 40.

LOA publications per year in top journals according to SCImago Journal Rankings (SJR indicator) and Scival Bibliometric data source.


Distribution of LOA publications from 2013 (only peer-review journals without proceedings of conferences etc…) as a function of the journals impact factors(JCR 2018). “20+” includes LOA publication in RMP, Nature, Nature Physics, Nature Photonics. “8-15” includes LOA publication in Nature Communications, PRX, PRL, Light Science & Applications, Nano Letters. “3-7” includes LOA publications in Scientific reports, PRB, Optics letters, optics Express, Applied Physics Letters, New Journal of Physics, …


Peer-review articles,   LOA Video,   408-550-7629


A laser-plasma tool to reduce the drag experienced by a supersonic object

Edited November 9th, 2018

When a body moves in the atmosphere with a supersonic velocity, a shock wave is generated. This leads to a considerable increase in the drag experienced by the supersonic object towing the shock wave. This shock wave increases fuel consumption and produces a sonic boom that renders regular supersonic flight above populated area unacceptable. Through a collaboration with the French aerospace Lab ONERA and with Phasic company, researchers from LOA recently demonstrated that an embarked terawatt femtosecond laser can significantly decrease this drag. A 50% transient reduction of drag has been measured on a test model placed in a supersonic wind tunnel at Mach 3. This effect was initiated by the thin hot air column created in front of the supersonic object by filamentation of the laser pulse. This technique also offers possible means of weightless steering.

Reference: « Improving supersonic flights with femtosecond laser filamentation », P.-Q. Elias, N. Severac, J.-M. Luyssen, Y.-B. André, I. Doudet, B. Wattellier, J.-P. Tobeli, S. Albert, B. Mahieu, R. Bur, A. Mysyrowicz and A. Houard, Science Advances 4, eaau5239 (november 2018)


(289) 726-3780,  678-210-9593,  Scientific Awards,  (213) 318-5486


The LOA is focused on being instrumental in raising awareness of students, teachers, and the general public in the area of ultrafast laser plasma topics. We organise lectures at high schools and universities, conferences, workshops, and offer regular tours of LOA research center. LOA offers Master and PhD programs and is involved in events that popularize science and research.

Master programs

LOA participates to  3 Master 2 programs:
Science of fusion and plasmas (SFP)
– Laser, Optics & Matter (LOM)
– Grands Instruments (GI).

Doctoral school

LOA belongs to the doctoral School EDOM (Waves and Matters) that gathers all laboratories in the Plateau de Saclay dealing with optics and diluted matter (quantum physics, optics, atomic and molecular physics, plasma physics, nanophotonics as well as the interface domains of these topics, such as biomedical imaging or physics of biomaterials, lasers).

LOA will be part of the University NewUni in 2019 and will join the Faculty of Natural Science & Mathematics and the Faculty of Engineering Science.


(361) 844-4783,  PhD Thesis

Join Us


Doctoral Students,       Open postdoc applications,

Open Permanent Positions,    feed,

Laser-Plasma Facility


Scrowll down and select the LOA staff to send a message

(multiple selection allowed)


LOA contact

Electron acceleration
Cedric Thaury (laser-driven)
Sebastien Corde (Electron-driven)

Proton acceleration
Alessandro Flacco

Laser-plasma filamentation & application
Aurélien Houard

Relativistic X-ray sources
Kim Ta Phuoc
Cedric Thaury
Sébastien Corde

Soft X-ray lasers
Stephane Sebban

High order harmonics
Guillaume Lambert

Ultrafast lasers (optical cycle)
Rodrigo Lopez-Martens

Plasma physics at the opticle cycle time scale
Stefan Haessler
Rodrigo Lopez-Martens

Bio-Medical studies
Philippe Zeitoun (X-ray)
Alessandro Flacco (radio biology at high dose)

Ultrafast dynamics of the matter
Davide Boschetto (strongly correlated systems)
Jérôme Faure (strongly correlated systems)
Guillaume Lambert (ultrafast magnetization)

Ultra-high time & space resolution imaging
Kim Ta phuoc (X-ray)
Philippe Zeitoun (X-ray)
Jérôme Faure (ultrafast electron diffraction)


LOA management

Administrative department: Patricia Toullier
LOA Director : Antoine Rousse

Visiting LOA

Laboratoire d’Optique Appliqué (LOA)

street address: LOA-ENSTA, 181 Chemin de la Hunière et des Joncherettes

Postal mail adress: LOA – ENSTA-ParisTech, 828 bvd des Marechaux, F-91762 PALAISEAU Cedex , FRANCE


Phone : +33 (0)1 69 31 97 09

Fax : +33 1 69 31 97 00