The Foundation for Research and Technology Hellas (FORTH) is the premier research center in Greece, established in 1983. The Institute of Electronic Structure and Laser (I.E.S.L.) is the largest (180 personnel) of its six institutes, and is a world-class laser center. The institute is centred around five subject areas: Lasers and Applications, Materials (polymers, electronic, magnetic and photonic materials), Microelectronics, Environment and Theoretical/Computational Physics and Chemistry. Particular emphasis is placed on both fundamental research and development of high technology: On the fundamental research side, the laser laboratories of the Institute are involved in the experimental as well as theoretical study of a variety of phenomena related to the interaction of electromagnetic radiation with matter. The large scale “Ultraviolet Laser Facility”, supported as a European Research Infrastructure since 1990 (hosting over 300 users from the EU and Associated Member states), is part of LASERLAB-EUROPE, and provides a wide range of lasers from conventional ns and fs systems to state-of-the-art systems covering wavelength regions from the far IR (THz) to the XUV. Subjects include, amongst others, experimental atto-second pulse physics, spin squeezing magnetometry, and theoretical quantum-optics, condensed matter physics, and quantum computing. IESL has recently hosted several high-profile research grants (ERC and Excellence grants), for the development of fields including Metamaterials, Ultrafast THz Spectroscopy, Atomic Parity Violation, and Bose-Einstein Condensation.
The Polarization Spectroscopy Group in IESL/FORTH, led by Prof. T. P. Rakitzis, focuses on a number of areas in atomic and molecular laser spectroscopy, from photodissociation dynamics and the production of spin polarized atoms, to cavity enhanced techniques in ellipsometry and polarimetry. The group recently proposed and demonstrated a high-sensitivity cavity apparatus, sensitive to weak chiral polarimetric signals (Sofikitis et al., Nature 514, 76; 2014); the idea behind this apparatus forms the basis of the ULTRACHIRAL project.