CSIR National Laser Centre

There is hardly a domain of our modern existence that does not benefit from some form of laser technology. These domains range from devices for laser lighting displays in entertainment to office equipment such as laser printers, DVD players at home, barcode scanners in the shops, surgical technology in hospitals or devices for cutting and welding industrial materials in factories.

The CSIR National Laser Centre (NLC) provides a critical core of laser technology knowledge and expertise through the research, development and implementation of laser-based technologies and applications in Africa.

The NLC focuses on the design, building and implementation of novel laser systems (sub-systems or components) for industry applications, developing laser-based manufacturing processes in metal additive manufacturing; the research and development of laser surface engineering and joining processes in collaboration with industry, as well as the validation of processes for implementation; the building of photonic devices for low-cost, resource-constrained, point-of-care diagnostic applications in human health and the design and fabrication of integrated photonics product prototypes (sensors and devices) for South African industry needs (e.g. healthcare and defence).

The NLC collaborates with industry and other stakeholders to understand and respond to their particular challenges while also adopting a long-term view towards interpreting technology trends and performing novel cutting-edge research that will one day be at the frontier of laser- and laser application technology development.     

The NLC heeds the need to address the continents’ development challenges and supports higher-education institutions and other research and technology organisations in photonics science and technology through its portfolio of national programmes. It aims to improve the competitiveness of South African industry in particular, by implementing our photonics technology portfolio in metal additive manufacturing (aerospace components) and laser surface engineering (industrial equipment refurbishment), and by developing new or improved products, as well as manufacturing process innovations.

NLC science and technology expertise addresses the entire value chain of the photonics spectrum, ranging from fundamental cutting-edge work on laser source development to the application of laser systems to heavy industrial engineering applications. For example, it has demonstrated the techno-economic feasibility for the application of laser-surface engineering and refurbishment processes towards extending the useable lifespan of high-value operational equipment in several industrial settings.

General Contact

Contact Person

Zelda Graham

+27 (0) 12 841 4041


Contact Person

Chumisa Ndlazi

+27 (0) 12 841 2823

Competence Areas

Biophotonics for point-of-care diagnostics

The CSIR’s biophotonics research team follows a laser-driven lab-on-a-chip approach which has the potential of converting any test to a point-of-ca

Laser-based manufacturing technologies

The CSIR enables South African manufacturers to stay competitive through advanced, innovative laser-based manufacturing.

National Programmes

The CSIR helps address the continent’s development challenges and supports higher education institutions and various research and technology organi

Novel lasers

The CSIR conducts research in novel high- power and high-energy laser systems and laser sources for selective laser melting (SLM) applications.

Photonics Prototyping Facility

The CSIR National Laser Centre in partnership with the Innovation Hub boasts a Photonics Prototyping Facility (PPF) which is aimed at addressing th

Quantum technologies

Radio frequency ion traps are instruments designed to trap clouds of many thousands of ionised atoms, a few ions at a time, or even a single ion.