Infrastructures and laboratories

Université Laval

Université Laval was the very first French-speaking university to be founded in America, by the first bishop of the colony of New France, François de Montmorency-Laval. Its creation, as the Séminaire de Québec, dates back to 1663.
Nearly 200 years later, in 1852, the institution became known as Université Laval, the source of all French-language higher education in Quebec, Canada and the Americas.

Today, Université Laval ranks 7th among the largest research universities in Canada with more than $426 million in research funds and some 300 centers, chairs, institutes and other research groups.

Université Laval welcomes some 47,000 students annually, 27% of whom are at the graduate level. Most of them are located on a 1.8 km2 university campus, 60% of which is occupied by green and wooded areas, in the heart of historic Québec City, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The university offers more than 550 study programs in all fields of knowledge, divided among its 17 faculties.

Centre for optics, photonics and lasers at Université Laval

The COPL – ULaval has 22 research teams and over 150 graduate students. Supported by about 20 research professionals and postdoctoral fellows, as well as 10 experienced technicians, these teams pursue research in photonic materials, optical communications, lasers, fiber optics, biophotonics, optical engineering and instrumentation.

For more information on COPL – ULaval :

Inaugurated in 2006, the Pavilion of Optics and Photonics (POP) at Université Laval houses the Center for Optics, Photonics and Lasers (COPL). Recognized as research center and strategic cluster, it has been conducting research in the field of light sciences for over thirty years.

The POP is the first infrastructure specifically designed for research in optics and photonics at a Canadian university. Covering an area of 4,500 m2, it contains approximately 100 state-of-the-art laboratories, 20% of which are shared facilities. More than 80% of the pavilion’s total area is made up of clean rooms with ventilation systems that reduce dust and allow for humidity and temperature control. Notably, the POP features optical fiber fabrication facilities that are unique in the country.

With its multidisciplinary expertise, its numerous international collaborations, and the quality of its facilities, the COPL offers students an exceptional university education. Its innovative research is contributing to the growth of this rapidly expanding technological sector in Quebec and Canada.

Here is an overview of COPL facilities:


Below is an overview of the major facilities and equipment available to research teams starting with a description of the infrastructure located on the campus of Laval University.

12 mJ femtosecond laser operating at 1kHz

This laser chain includes an oscillator (Ti:Sapphire) emitting 35 fs pulses at 800 nm and two amplification stages (one at 3 mJ, the other at 12 mJ/pulse). The system is enhanced by an OPA (TOPAS) which converts pulses down to 20 micrometers in wavelength.

Bragg grating inscription laborator

This laboratory includes various UV radiation photoinscription systems (Sabre FreD, excimer, Innova 300, FreD, copper vapor) and the corresponding interferometric setups. It also includes an optical fiber hydrogenation system with compressor (5000 psi) and FBG characterization tools (e.g. chromatic dispersion analyzer, OSA, supercontinuum sources).

Phase mask fabrication laboratory

This equipment consists first of all of a krypton laser source as well as the interferometric setup for the inscription of diffractive optical components, mainly phase masks used for the writing of Bragg gratings in optical fibers. A reactive ion etcher is used to write interference patterns inscribed on silicon wafers.

Optical communication test and measurement laboratory

This lab includes a brand new 115 Gbps ultra high-speed transmission testbed with access to advanced modulation formats. It also includes a 10 Gb/s eye diagram analyzer, a 10 Gb/s error rate analyzer, a 40 Gb/s network analyzer with optical head, an optical recirculating loop, various fiber optic fusers, cleavers and recoaters.

Optical fiber fabrication facilities

The facilities include: two optical fiber drawing towers (one dedicated to silica, the other to exotic materials and glasses, e.g. chalcogenides, polymer etc.); an MCVD preform fabrication system; an exotic glass fabrication laboratory; fiber and preform measurement and characterization systems including an optical fiber index profile analyzer (EXFO), geometry, refractive index profile and transmission properties.

Amplified Ti:Sapphire laser chain (RegA)

This equipment consists of an amplified femtosecond laser chain with a repetition rate varying between 50 kHz and 300 kHz. It is completed by two OPAs, one covering a good part of the visible, the other covering the near infrared. The system produces 70 fs pulses over wide wavelength ranges from 0.4 to 1.6 microns.

Ti:Sapphire femtosecond terawatt laser chain

This laser chain produces 50 fs pulses (at 800 nm) in three beams with different power levels and repetition rates. The most intense one produces 2 TW/pulse at 1Hz.

Photonic materials characterization laboratory

The laboratory includes an ellipsometer, a UV, visible and IR spectrometer, two atomic force microscopes, two polarizing microscopes with phase contrast, a Dektak III profilometer, and a Zygo optical surface characterization interferometer. Most of this equipment is located in a shared class 10,000 clean room laboratory. New equipment has been added recently, including an AFM microscope (Veeco) and a brand-new phase contrast microscope (with micromanipulators and cooled CCD camera) for the analysis of biological samples.

Thin film deposition laboratory

The laboratory includes several vacuum deposition systems including a Syrus Pro system (Leybold), dc and rf sputtering systems and several thermal evaporation systems. Everything is located inside the POP’s Class 1000 clean room.

Dual-focussed ion beam etching and microscopy system

Operating at the nanometric scale, this system includes a gallium beam focused in parallel with an electron beam (FEI, Quanta 3D-FEG). It can etch photonic structures at the nanometric scale and analyze them in real time.

Optical component fabrication laboratory

The laboratory includes a Disco precision saw, a Logitech saw, several optical polishing machines and an environmental chamber for temperature- and humidity-controlled testing.

Optical fiber characterization laboratory

The laboratory has several pieces of equipment to characterize optical fibers such as an EXFO HR9200 high resolution analyzer and a waveguide analyzer. This laboratory also has a Vitran fusion machines (FFS2000 and GPX3000), a CO2 laser beam fuser and a Lightel optical coupler manufacturing station.