Institute of Photonic Sciences (ICFO)

The Institute of Photonic Sciences (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.

Light, especially laser light, is one of the major enabling technologies currently available to humankind. Our research thrusts target the global forefront of photonics and aim to tackle important challenges faced by society at large. The research groups focus on current and future problems in health, energy, information, safety, security and caring for the environment.

Excellence and recognition awards
  • "Severo Ochoa Centre of Excellence" seal by the Ministry of Research, Development and innovation of Spain
  • Human Resources Excellence in Research" seal by the European Commission.
  • 35 European Research Council (ERC) grants.
  • In 2018: awarded with the “Extraordinary PhD Thesis Award” to two PhD graduates with the.
  • In 2018: awarded with the “Durán Farell” award to Jordi Martorell for technological research.
  • In 2017: awarded with the GEFES Prize for Best Experimental Thesis to Dr. Achim Woessner for best thesis in Condensed Matter Physics.
  • In 2017: awarded with the RSEF FUNDACIÓN BBVA 2017 Medal to ICFO Prof. Maciej Lewenstein.
  • In 2017: recognized with the “Best of the Best” publication to the PhD graduate Dr. Jordi Tura for his outstanding PhD research by Springer.
  • In 2017: awarded with the “Manuel Rico” Bruker National Prize to Prof. María García-Parajo for Biophysics.
  • In 2017: awarded with the Prize for Fundamental Aspects of Quantum Electronics and Optics to Prof. Niek van Hulst by the European Physical Society.
  • In 2016: awarded with the “Paul Ehrenfest” Best Paper Award to the ICFO researchers for Algorithmic Pseudorandomness in Quantum Setups.
  • Awarded with a Starting Grant to Prof. Simon Wall to establish himself as independent research leader by European Research Consortium (ERC).
  • Awarded with the 1st Banc Sabadell Foundation Award to the ICREA Prof. Romain Quidant for Science and Engineering.
  • Awarded with the Salvà i Campillo Award to Lluís Torner for leadership of ICFO by the Catalan Association of Engineers and COEINF.
  • Awarded with the Vanguard Award for Science to Hugues de Riedmatten’s work on the first hybrid quantum information network.
Director of the center
Lluís Torner

Lluís Torner

  • Degree in Physics by Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona (UAB), PhD in Physics (Universidad Politécnica de Catalunya (UPC) and UPC professor. 
  • Founding of ICFO in 2002 and director since then.
  • Advisor for public and private entities from different countries of Europe, USA, Canada and Australia.
  • Award of the Monturiol Medal for Scientific Merit in 2009; the Leadership Prize of the Optical Society of America in 2011; the Catalan National Prize for Research in 2016 and the Nature Mentoring Award in 2017. 
Renowned researcher

Carlos Abellán

  • Telecom engineer and PhD in Photonics from ICFO. Author and coauthor of +10 publications and patents on quantum technologies.
  • Selected on the 2018 Europe edition of the MIT Innovators 35 Under 35.
  • Active on dissemination of science and technology. Examples include: TEDx IESEBarcelona, Pint of Science, Investigación y Ciencia, or IEEE Spectrum.
  • Cofounder and CEO of Quside (spin-off from ICFO) working on quantum technologies. Cofounder also of Finboot, a Blockchain-based startup.
  • Instigated the Big Bell test project in 2016, a world-wide quantum physics experiment that attracted +100,000 participants via a videogame.
The project

Quantum physics challenges our intuition, but at the same time allows us to understand our world, to develop some important technologies of the present (like lasers, LEDs or transistors) and to foresee astonishing technologies for the future (like quantum computers and communications).

We invite you to take a journey through the quantum world, where we will face the basic rules of quantum physics to better understand how they can help us build the technologies of the future.

Will you join us?