Welcome to the IUSL

The Institute for Ultrafast Spectroscopy and Lasers (IUSL) of the City University of New York (CUNY) is a world-renowned multidisciplinary research laboratory devoted to promoting research and education in ultrafast optical science , photonic and laser technologies for scientific, engineering, medical, and industrial applications.

Established in 1982 by Professor R. R. Alfano, the IUSL has grown to encompass ten laboratories located in the Marshak Science Building of The City College of New York. Research , associated faculty , students, post doctors   and support staff now total  about 40 . Among the major technical accomplishments are inventions of chromium-based tunable lasers of forsterite, cunyite, and emerald lasers; fluorescence , Resonance Raman and excitation biopsy ,Golden optical window in tissues at 1560 nm to 1800nm and supercontinuum techniques for medical diagnostics and   optical biomedical linear and nonlinear imaging techniques . The IUSL researchers over the past 5 years ( 2015 to 2019 )have garner 241 publications , 17 patents, $11M in grant funding ,and $1.35M IDC . The IUSL have published over 800 papers and have thus far been awarded more than 140 U.S. patents. The IUSL receives research grants from various federal and state agencies and industrial concerns. The research funding garnered by the IUSL has been over $2 M per year for the past 5 years and 19 Ph.Ds. were awarded. To date, over 74 Ph.D students, including 8 female and 5 from underrepresented minority groups, have received their Ph.D. degrees conducting research at the IUSL laboratories.

As key side point in 2007 , the Electrical Engineering and Hamamatsu Photonic Laboratory  in Grove School of Engineering was close  to make room for new Biomedical Engineering Dept and moved back to the main Marshak Science operation. 



50th Anniversary of Supercontinuum Laser Marked at SPIE’s  BiOS/Photonics West



Latest News related to COVID-19:

The Research Reopening Review Board (RRRB) has approved reopening plan of  IUSL lab. 

However, no one may re-enter CCNY buildings until CCNY receives authorization from the CUNY Chancellor’s Office to re-open buildings for laboratory research. That request has been made and we anticipate a positive response shortly. In the meantime, we ask that you familiarize yourselves with the new procedures that will be required for our reopening of research.


First, access to campus buildings will now require a two-step verification. Please share these detailed instructions with each lab member who wishes to come to campus for research activities during the first phase of reopening (only those with top priority due to funding/degree deadlines or otherwise justified in your plan): **DO NOT ADD EVERY MEMBER OF THE GROUP YET**

1)    Upon receipt of this email, researchers should immediately complete this access request form that will be used to generate the list of approved personnel for Security. This needs to happen only once. 

2)    Second, we are in the process of developing a web-based app to fulfill the mandatory, daily health check requirement by New York State and hope to have it in place by June 17th. All researchers returning to campus will need to register using the new COVID-19 health screening questionnaire (one need only register once). Upon registration, researchers will be provided a unique visitor ID. Each day, prior to returning to campus, researchers will use the same system to answer a set of four questions. Researchers who are cleared via these questions will receive a confirmation email containing a prominent symbol. Researchers who complete step one above will be sent the COVID-19 health screening registration link as soon as it is available.

Upon arriving at the building, Security will check an approved list for the researcher’s name and users will be asked to show Security the confirmation symbol indicating completion of the daily questions and approved authorization (note that this can quickly be completed on a smart phone if one forgot to do so prior to coming to campus.). 

**Please note that for these initial stages at least, CDI, Marshak, and Steinman will be staffed by Security from 7am-10pm Monday through Friday and 7am-7pm Saturday and Sunday.**

Other mandated requirements include the following:

·       Masks are required upon entry into buildings and in all common areas.  An initial stock of surgical masks have been purchased for CDI, Marshak and Steinman, but PIs should supplement these stocks, if possible. Face shields will be purchased for use in some core facilities when adequate distancing cannot be maintained. (Note that gloves are not mandated to be worn, except as you would normally wear them for laboratory activities.)

·       A distance of at least 6 ft. must be maintained among individuals at all times, unless safety or the core activity requires a shorter distance. Any time individuals must come within 6 ft. of another person, they must wear an acceptable face covering.

·       You must print your approved laboratory reopening safety plan and post it in a prominent location within your lab.

·       Until further notice, no more than 50% of the personnel for a particular group should be in the laboratory at any given time.  CCNY recommends this level at 20-25% as the initial phasing-in of research begins.

·       The PI is responsible to ensure that all lab members follow the posted guidelines e.g. complete appropriate cleaning procedures as detailed in the New York State Higher Education Research guidelines. Failure to comply with the mandated guidelines will result in revocation of access to campus buildings for the entire laboratory.

·       Should any lab member develop symptoms of COVID-19 or test positive, they are required to report these changes to the CCNY COVID-19 hotline at (212) 650-8801 or (212) 650-7682 or by email to  HumanResources@ccny.cuny.edu . Guidance should be sought from the relevant healthcare provider for treatment options.


Please also note that:

·       All individuals should understand that there is still a risk of infection of COVID-19 and this risk increases with time spent in indoor spaces (See Zhang et al, 2020, attached). All personnel are encouraged to obtain COVID-19 tests at an approved location prior to beginning work on campus. Information on testing in New York City can be found here: https://www1.nyc.gov/site/coronavirus/get-tested/covid-19-testing.page.  Testing is free and confidential.

·       Any substantial changes to the approved research plan, such as additional personnel or requests to access additional research spaces requires submission of a new form and appropriate approvals. The cognizant Dean should be alerted and the amended plan should be uploaded to the Dropbox.


Additional details and updates may be found here: https://www.ccny.cuny.edu/research/research-reopening.



Professor Robert Alfano

160 Convent Avenue
Marshak Science Building
Room MR-201
New York, New York 10031

p: 212.650.5531
f: 212.650.5530
e:  ralfano@ccny.cuny.edu