A Platform Connecting
Researchers Across Africa

Located in South Africa, the African Laser Centre (ALC) was established

by a group of African countries with an interest in laser technology and its applications within various industries.

The ALC is designed to be a virtual hub for coordinating
a network of excellence in laser research across the continent.

Laser Applications

Research & Development


ALC Network

About the ALC

Our path to scientific strength is marked by discovery

The African Laser Centre (ALC) is a New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD) flagship initiative and Southern African participation is funded by the Department of Science and Technology (DST) through its Africa multilateral cooperation programme. The ALC was launched at the Ministerial NEPAD summit in Johannesburg, South Africa in November 2003.

It is a virtual organisation, bringing together researchers from across Africa in the field of lasers and spectroscopy. The organisation was started as a fledgling programme within the CSIR National Laser Centre and is aimed at encouraging research collaboration between the African researcher and facilitating researchers, and student exchanges between African institutes. The ALC supports research collaboration, scholarships and training.

Research conducted by the ALC research teams throughout Africa is laser-based and pluridisciplinary. The projects are peer-reviewed by an ALC assembled independent panel of experts. The research fields include but are not limited to:

Material Processing
Nano Technology
Material Science

Research is undertaken at the ALC key nodes, research institutes, and any laboratories which members have access to on the continent.

What We Do | Scientific Development that Encourages Teamwork

The ALC provides laser researchers and industrialists throughout Africa with research and training facilities.

We also endeavour to:

  • Maintain a database of laser researchers in the region and facilitate collaboration among them
  • Transfer technology from research laboratories to the marketplace
  • Support research and educational programmes in laser technology and present at conferences, workshops, and topical school programmes

ALC Participation

Participation is open to all research institutes in Africa that are actively involved in laser and optics-related science and technology through research and development, education or training.

The Objectives of the ALC:

  • Promote the research and training programmes of major laser research facilities that currently exist in Africa to serve the continent as a whole.
  • Support technology transfer of laser knowledge captured within the ALC amongst its members and throughout the industry.
  • Improve the quality of life of all African peoples and beneficiaries of the ALC.
  • Provide financial resources, technical assistance and equipment loans to laser researchers throughout Africa.
  • Promote collaboration among laser researchers throughout Africa, as well as between laser institutions and their international counterparts to enhance laser-driven initiatives in Africa.
  • Retain and attract laser expertise by providing a competitive knowledge base and attractive research facilities to ensure that African laser facilities become preferred research environments for the international and African community.
  • Support expanding research and infrastructure of laser research facilities in Africa through flagship projects, e.g. acquiring state-of-the- art equipment such as Femtosecond lasers in appropriate laboratories.

The ALC Mission

The mission of the ALC is to enable African nations to collaborate with each other and play a major international role in utilising light to advance science and technology.

This will contribute to the strengthening of their economies, global competitiveness, education and the welfare of their people. Cooperation will therefore take place in the spirit of the New Partnership for Africa’s Development and the African Union.

The African Laser Centre Programmes

The ALC offers the following programmes which aim to further enrich the knowledge base within laser application technology:


  • Research Programme
  • Training 
  • Scholarships

ALC Membership

Membership is open to all research institutes in Africa that are actively involved in laser and optics-related science and technology through research and development, education or training.


Event Name Date:  Contact Person:
Training workshop on Atmospheric Dynamics and Space-Atmosphere Interaction 17-19 September 2019 Prof S Venkataraman (UKZN)
12th African Laser Centre Student Workshop 21 – 23 November 2019 Prof Erich Rohwer (SU)
ALC Workshop on laser imaging 25 – 27 November 2019 Prof Erich Rohwer (SU)
OPTISUD: Topical Meeting on OPTIcs and Applications to Sustainable Development 3-7 September 2019 Prof Mourad Zghal (Tunisia)
Biophotonics in Cancer: Redefining Trends in Cancer Therapy 5-6 September 2019 Prof H Abrahamse (UJ)
International Conference on Laser Applications (ICLA 2019) 23-28 November 2019 Prof Mohamed Harith (Egypt)
Solar Energy and Photosynthesis School 23-27 September 2019 Prof Kruger TPJ (UP)
Quantum Africa 5 Conference 2-6 September 2019 Prof Petruccione (UKZN)
2nd Interdisciplinary Graduate School in Laser-based Manufacturing Technologies 20-24 January 2020 Prof Olakanmi (Biust)


Key Nodes of the ALC

The ALC intends building competencies by developing existing expertise and infrastructure. The below mentioned facilities constitute the core nodes of the ALC:


Facility City and or Country Field of Specialisation
CSIR National Laser Centre Pretoria, South Africa Manufacturing, Machining and Materials Processing
National Laser Centre Biophotonics Pretoria, South Africa Medical / Bio Laser applications
University of Cheikh Anta Diop Dakar, Senegal Atomic and Molecular Physics and Laser Spectroscopy and Processing
Laser and Fibre Optics Centre Cape Coast, Ghana Agricultural and Environmental Science
National Institute of Laser Enhanced Science Cairo, Egypt Medical and Biological Applications of Lasers
Tunis El Manar University Tunis, Tunisia Plant and Environmental Science and Molecular Spectroscopy
Advanced Technologies Development Centre Algiers, Algeria Laser Spectroscopy and Surface Studies

Our Partners

Laser Research Institute (LRI)

The Laser Research Institute (LRI) was founded in 2000 as a centre for laser science and technology. A dynamic group of academic staff and postgraduate students are advancing laser science under the banner of the LRI. We offer an honours course in Laser Physics and have positions for MSc and PhD students available.

Visit the LRI website


The Council for Scientific Industrial Research (CSIR) is one of the leading scientific and technology research, development and implementation organisations in Africa. Constituted by an Act of Parliament in 1945 as a science council, the CSIR undertakes directed and multidisciplinary research, technological innovation as well as industrial and scientific development to improve the quality of life of the country’s people. The CSIR is committed to supporting innovation in South Africa to improve national competitiveness in the global economy. Science and technology services and solutions are provided in support of various stakeholders, and opportunities are identified where new technologies can be further developed and exploited in the private and public sectors for commercial and social benefit. The CSIR’s shareholder is the South African Parliament, held in proxy by the Minister of Science and Technology.

Visit CSIR website

LAM Network

The LAM Network was created in 1991 during the first international workshop on Lasers and Applications held in Dakar, Senegal, with the participation of more than twenty African countries. This first international workshop was supported by the International Centre for Theoretical Physics, (Trieste, Italy), the Senegalese Governmental and University authorities, and the French Embassy in Senegal. Presently, the LAM Network is sponsored by The Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP, Trieste Italy), and the International Science Program (ISP, Uppsala University, Sweden).

In addition, LAM meetings (schools, workshops, conferences) in Africa are supported by Governments and local university authorities and companies in the host countries.


The Laser and Fibre Optics Centre (LAFOC) is located at the Department of Physics of the University of Cape Coast and has been in existence since March 1993 as an affiliated centre of the Abdus Salam International Centre for Theoretical Physics (ICTP). It is one of two ICTP regional centres of excellence in applied optics (lasers) and spectroscopy that was established with financial assistance from the governments of Italy, Sweden and the ICTP to serve the West African Sub-Region: one in Cape Coast, Ghana, for the support of the Anglophone countries and the other in Dakar, Senegal, for the Francophone countries.

Visit the LAFOC website


SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, was founded in 1955 to advance light-based technologies. Serving more than 225,600 constituents from approximately 150 countries, the society advances emerging technologies through interdisciplinary information exchange, continuing education, publications, patent precedent, and career and professional growth.

SPIE annually organises and sponsors approximately 25 major technical forums, exhibitions, and education programs in North America, Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific.

 Visit the SPIE website

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