Centre for Advanced Laser Applications (CALA)
CALA - a joint research project between the LMU and the TUM - is a new 70-million-Euro laser center expanding on the already existing, broad range of cutting-edge research into laser science and technology for applications in the fields of life sciences and medicine in the Munich research area. It is currently being constructed in the direct vicinity of LEX Photonics and will be commissioned in 2016.
Research at CALA aims at developing laser-based technologies in order to improve the cure rates of cancer patients, through a combination of early detection and targeted particle therapy. With the former approach also offering the potential for the early detection of other chronic diseases such as osteoarthritis, atherosclerosis, and diffuse lung diseases, which – like cancer – show increased prevalence in the demographic development.
CALA’s novel strategy for fighting cancer rests on three main pillars: (i) Brilliant, broadband laser-driven mid-infrared radiation may permit the early detection of cancer cells in the blood and/or compounds in the breath, offering a cost-effective, risk-free method for screening. In the case of a positive screening test, (ii) brilliant X-rays produced by a compact laser-driven or laser-assisted source will allow the localization of the tumor, by means of advanced imaging techniques. This procedure, if successfully demonstrated, will allow recognition of the primary tumor at a stage when the probability for metastases is still very low. Knowing precisely the anatomical site of the tumor offers the prospect of curing the patient with (iii) a localized, high-precision, laser-driven radiation and particle therapy.
The novel techniques pursued in CALA hold promise for substantially improving current diagnostic and therapeutic capabilities as well as reducing the socioeconomic burden of combatting several chronic diseases.
Main research foci of CALA:
Studies of the feasibility of early detection of cancer by observing cancer cells in blood and/or volatiles in breath. Achieved by recording their infrared absorption spectrum with a powerful multi-octave source of infrared radiation (MOSIR) and high-resolution mid-infrared spectroscopic apparatus
Recognition of tumors and other chronic diseases in their early stage of development by means of phase-contrast X-ray imaging using compact laser-based (LUX, SPECTRE) or laser-assisted (MuCLS) sources of brilliant X-rays
Proof-of-concept studies evaluating the suitability of laser-driven brilliant proton and heavy ion pulses for particle therapy of cancer
Prof. Jörg Schreiber (LMU), Prof. Stephanie Combs (TUM), PD Dr. Anna Friedl (LMU), Prof. Michael Molls (TUM), Prof. Katia Parodi (LMU), PD Thomas Schmid (TUM), PD Peter Thirolf (LMU), Prof. Jan Wilkens (TUM), Prof. Claus Belka (LMU)
Development of sources of high-power, ultrashort-pulsed laser radiation for driving or assisting the diagnostic and therapeutic sources of CALA: the 3-Petawatt ATLAS-3000, the Few-cycle Petawatt Field Synthesizer (PFS) and PFS-pro, the megawatt-scale pulse-buildup cavity for MuCLS, and the kW-scale femtosecond oscillator for driving MOSIR
Development and/or advancement of the diagnostic and therapeutic sources of CALA: the infrared source, MOSIR, the sources of brilliant diagnostic X-rays driven (LUX, SPECTRE) and assisted (MuCLS) by the high-power, ultrashort-pulsed sources of CALA, and the laser-driven ion source, LION
Dr. Alexander Apolonskiy (LMU), Prof. Ferenc Krausz (LMU), Prof. Stefan Karsch (LMU), Prof. Florian Grüner (UHH), Prof. Reinhard Kienberger (TUM), Prof. Franz Pfeiffer (TUM), Dr. Klaus Achterhold (TUM), Dr. Bernhard Gleich (TUM), Prof. Jörg Schreiber (LMU), Prof. Katia Parodi (LMU)
On the left you see LEX Photonics and in the direct vicinity CALA will arise
The new laser laboratory will be integrated in the nature at the northern edge of the research campus
For further information on CALA and its future research, please contact
Media Relations, Public Outreach
phone: +49 (0)89 32905 124
joint research project of LMU and TUM