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First Canada-based international laser research facility receives $20M


Varennes, QC – April 2, 2004 – A first-ever state-of-the-art multi-beam laser system is planned for development in Canada in order to position the country as an international leader in such areas as earlier breast cancer detection.

With an investment of $20.95 million from the Canada Foundation for Innovation (CFI), the Advanced Laser Light Source (ALLS) project will allow researchers from around the world to manipulate matter and probe its dynamics in a way that is not currently possible. The project involves a consortium of Canadian and international universities.

The funds will be used to develop the multi-beam femtosecond laser system, comprising five lasers, which will function at a wide range of wavelengths. The development team includes world-leading researchers based in Canada, as well as world-leading researchers drawn from institutions in the United States, France, Italy, Austria, Greece, Germany, Sweden and Japan.

“This project has captured the imagination of the international laser research community,” says Carmen Charette, interim president and CEO of the CFI. “The CFI’s investment will enable Canadian and international researchers to develop exceptional equipment which will make them leaders on a global scale in areas such as biology, medicine, chemistry, and physics.”

The funds are awarded to a consortium of eight Canadian universities, administratively led by Dr Jean-Claude Kieffer, professor and researcher at l’Universit du Qubec-Institut national de la recherche scientifique. In all, 72 researchers will have the opportunity to use the equipment for their research initiatives.

The announcement is the eighth of nine large-scale international research projects being funded under the CFI’s two international funds – the international joint ventures fund and the international access fund. The international joint ventures fund, which includes projects such as ALLS, supports the establishment of a small number of very high-profile research infrastructure projects in Canada to take advantage of extraordinary research opportunities with leading facilities in other countries that will bring significant benefits to Canada.