The LATA group has been established in 1983. The goal was to apply modern, laser-based techniques for both basic and applied research. From 1983 to 1989 the LATA Lab was equipped with the basic infrastructure (ns-sec lasers, optical spectrometers, vacuum pumps and periphery, optoelectronic and detection instrumentation etc.). A lot of home-made apparatus has also been designed and constructed (high temperature ovens, vacuum chambers, etc).
The first publication appeared in 1989 on "Multiphoton single and double ionization of Sr". Basic research continued on doubly-excited autoionizing Sr levels of various configurations, Rydberg states of Cd and Zn with 2- and 3-step excitation schemes and these results have been used as input data for running theoretical (e.g. MQDT) models.
In 1995, basic research was abandoned and the LATA group turned into applied research. The new activity adopted was laser-induced plasma spectroscopy (LIPS) for elemental chemical analysis. Techniques were developed to increase the sensitivity to meet the demands of environmental and industrial applications.
Further current activities today center on the development of semi-conducting metal oxide thin films by pulsed-laser deposition (PLD) for specific applications, on compound materials preparation and their diagnostics. Advancements developed at LATA include the faster and cost-effective production of multi-layered thin film structures with tailored properties, suitable for the optoelectronics industry. Latest applications of this activity include :
(a) the growth of transparent conductive oxides (TCO) for the thin films photovoltaic industry.
(b) the growth and testing of electro-chemical sensors for hydrogen and other toxic gases.