ICFO – The Institute of Photonic Sciences was founded in 2002 by the Government of Catalonia and the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya (UPC), both of which are members of its board of trustees along with the Cellex and Mir-Puig Foundations, philanthropic entities that have played a critical role in the advancement of the institute since 2007.
Located in the Mediterranean Technology Park in the metropolitan area of Barcelona, the institute currently hosts 400 people, organized in 25 research groups in 80 state-of-the-art research laboratories. Research lines encompass diverse areas in which photonics plays a decisive role, with an emphasis on basic and applied themes relevant to medicine and biology, advanced imaging techniques, information technologies, a range of environmental sensors, tunable and ultra-fast lasers, quantum science, photovoltaics and the properties and applications of nano-materials such as graphene, among others.
In addition to three Severo Ochoa accreditations of excellence, ICFOnians have been awarded 16 ICREA Professorships and 41 European Research Council grants (as of March 2022). ICFO participates actively in the European Technological Platform Photonics21 and is also very proactive in fostering entrepreneurial activities, spin-off creation, and creating collaborations and links between industry and ICFO researchers. To date, ICFO has helped create 11 start-up companies.