In South Africa, research in Lasers, Optics and Spectroscopy is mainly conducted at Universities and at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR). There are also companies doing market specific research. Below you will find abbreviated information on the main institutions performing research.


University of Stellenbosch: Laser Research Institute (LRI)

The Laser Research Institute focusses on laser-related research and development in Southern Africa. The group boasts excellent laser facilities, world-class research projects, and a vibrant combination of students, lecturers and other staff members. These factors combine to generate a unique and highly successful research environment. We are the only group in Southern Africa to offer an outcomes-based University Program in Laser Physics.

Current laser lesearch at the LRI

  • Laser Development
    • Gas Lasers
    • Fibre Lasers
  • Ultrafast Science
    • Molecular Dynamics
    • Ultrafast Electron Diffraction
    • Second Harmonic Generation
  • Laser Diagnostics
    • VUV Spectroscopy
    • Diode Laser Spectroscopy
    • LIBS

University of Stellenbosch: X-ray CT scanner, Central analytical facility

The Stellenbosch University X-ray Computed Tomography Facility uses x-ray photons to investigate and quantify the structures inside materials in full 3D imaging. The facility is available for research or commercial clients, and forms part of the University's unique Central Analytical Facilities, which makes high-end technological equipment available to a wide user-base. The application of x-ray imaging to quantify photonics products is a niche application area that could find overlap with the photonics community in SA. or


Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR):

National Laser Centre (NLC)

The CSIR provides a critical core of laser technology knowledge and expertise through the research, development and implementation of laser based technologies and applications in Africa. This knowledge, housed at the CSIR National Laser Centre, enables the South African industry to improve their global competitiveness and expand their market share. The CSIR National Laser Centre works closely with local higher education institutions and support laser related research at these institutions.

Current laser research at the CSIR

  • Novel laser sources
  • Ultra short physics spectroscopy (download brochure)
  • Mathematical optics
  • Biophotonics
  • Laser Materials Processing

Industrial companies:


SDILasers is a supplier of a unique range of advanced high repetition rate TE CO2 lasers, laser systems, and laser subsystems that have been developed for the industrial market. These lasers were developed using the experienced gained on the development and operation of high energy, high repetition rate, stable CO2 laser systems for molecular laser isotope separation (MLIS). It was in part due to this expertise, that SDILasers decided to concentrate on niche markets that require TE CO2 lasers. Compared to other laser systems currently in use, our laser products and subsystems offer several benefits and advantages, in the following industry applications:

  • Non-destructive testing
  • Decoating
  • Annealing
  • Wire stripping
  • EUV generation
  • Isotope separation
  • High energy physics
  • THz imaging

Carl Zeiss

Carl Zeiss has been represented in South Africa since 1934, and has been a wholly owned subsidiary of Carl Zeiss Germany since 1974. The South African company headquarters was completed in 1990, and is the home of the Instruments and consumer optics division.

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