• ICFO

Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO)


The Institute of Photonic Science (ICFO) is a young research institution that aims to advance the very limits of knowledge in photonics, namely the science and technology of harnessing light. It was created in 2002 by the regional Government of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya) and the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC). Today ICFO hosts 400 researchers in 25 research groups, working in 60 state-of-the-art research laboratories supported by the latest experimental facilities and a range of cutting-edge nanofabrication, characterization, imaging and engineering techniques. ICFO hosts 14 Professors appointed by the Catalan Institution for Research and Advanced Studies (ICREA), 24 European Research Comission (ERC) projects and 6 Fundació Cellex Barcelona Nest Fellows. ICFO participates actively in Photonics21 and in the European Photonics Industry Consortium. ICFO is also very proactive in fostering entrepreneurial activities and spin-off creation, and  has helped create 5 successful start-up companies. The centre participates in incubator activities and seeks to attract venture capital investment. ICFO actively promotes outreach activities through its Knowledge and Technology Transfer Unit (KTT).

Excellence and recognition awards
  • 2010 – Berthold Leibinger Innovationspreis.
  • 2010 – “IBM Faculty” Award.
  • 2010 – “Joachim Hertz” Award.
  • From 2010 – “Narcís Munturiol” seal by the Government of Catalonia (Generalitat de Catalunya).
  • 2011, 2012 and 2014 – “Photonics21 European Student Innovation” Award.
  • 2010 – “City of Barcelona Science” Award.
  • 2011 – Príncipe de Girona Award.
  • 2011 – “Huygens Science” Prize.
  • 2011 – “OSA Leadership” Award.
  • 2012 – “TR35 MIT-Spain” Award.
  • 2012 – “ICO” Award.
  • 2013 – “Gutenberg Science” Award.
  • 2009 and 2013 – “EPS Fresnel” Prize.
  • 2013 – “EPS Quantum Electronics and Optics” Prize.
  • 2014, 2015 – Catalonia National Prize for Young Research Talent.
  • 2015 – “IUPAP Young Scientist” Prize.
  • 2016 –  RSEF prize for Young Experimental Physicists”.
  • Since 2016 – Member of the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology (BIST).
Director of the center
Lluís Torner

Lluís Torner

Lluís Torner, director of ICFO, conceived and implemented the institute from scratch, and is leading the institute since its legal foundation in 2002. He is Full Professor at the Technical University of Catalonia (UPC) since 2000 and has conducted research and education in several areas of Photonics for almost 30 years. He serves in the Sorigué Innovation Board, the Fundació Catalunya-La Pedrera Board, the Barcelona Institute of Science and Technology  Board, the Board of Stakeholders of the European Association Photonics21, the European Commission FET Advisory Board and the High-Level Expert Group for the European Quantum Flagship, in addition to being an advisor in a number of institutions based in the USA, EU, Canada and Australia in matters of research, innovation and entrepreneurship policies. Fellow of the Optical Society of America, the European Optical Society and the European Physical Society, he received the GenCat Award to Young Researchers in the 2000, the Narcís Munturiol seal  for Scientific Achievements in 2010 and the Leadership Award of the Optical Society of America in 2011.

Renowned researcher
Romain Quidant

Romain Quidant

Romain Quidant received his PhD in Physics in 2002 from the University of Dijon (France). Since then he has worked in Barcelona at ICFO in the field of nanoplasmonics. In 2006, he was appointed junior Professor and junior group leader of the Plasmon NanoOptics group at ICFO. In 2009, he became ICREA Professor and tenure group leader at ICFO. His research focuses on the study of the optical properties of metal nano-structures, known as nanoplasmonics. The activities of his group cover both fundamental and applied research. The fundamental part of his work is mainly directed towards enhanced light/matter interaction for quantum optics. From a more applied viewpoint, his group investigates the use of light and heat control at the nanometer scale for biomedical applications, including early detection and less invasive therapies. His research trajectory has been acknowledged by several national and international prizes among which the Fresnel prize from the European Physics Society (2009), the prizes of the City of Barcelona (2010) and the Fundació Príncep de Girona (2011), the 2012 ICO prize from the International Commission for Optics and more recently the 2015 national prize for research (in the category young talent). In 2010 he obtained a Starting Grant from the European Research Council (ERC) that was complemented by an ERC Proof-of-concept grant in 2011. In 2015, Quidant was awarded an ERC Consolidator Grant and another Proof of Concept grant.

The project

What do invisibility cloaks have to do with the hottest trends in solar energy to fight global warming? How are medieval rose windows related to nanomedicine, early diagnosis and noninvasive phototherapies? All these phenomena share a common ingredient: the fascinating interaction of light with nanomaterials. Come and learn the basics of light-matter interaction at the nanoscale, take part in the fabrication process of your own nanoparticles, obtain on the go some graphene flakes, and build a set to explore the interaction of light with living cells.