Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) at Ahmedabad, is an autonomous institution supported mainly by DOS. It is a premier institute engaged in basic research in experimental and theoretical physics, astronomy and astrophysics, earth, planetary and atmospheric sciences. The activities cover a wide spectrum of competitive research in all these areas. PRL is also involved in conducting extensive academic programmes for Doctoral and Post Doctoral research and also has an Associateship programme for university teachers. It is also entrusted with the management of the Udaipur Solar Observatory (USO).
Known as the cradle of Space Sciences in India, the Physical Research Laboratory (PRL) was founded on November 11, 1947 by Dr. Vikram Sarabhai. PRL had a modest beginning at his residence, the RETREAT, with research on cosmic rays.
The institute was formally established at the M.G. Science Institute, Ahmedabad, with support from the Karmkshetra Educational Foundation and the Ahmedabad Education Society. Prof. Kalpathi Ramakrishna Ramanathan was the first Director of the institute. The initial focus was research on Cosmic Rays and the properties of the Upper Atmosphere. Research areas were expanded to include Theoretical Physics and Radio Physics later with grants from the Atomic Energy Commission.
Today PRL is actively involved in research, related to five major fields of science. PRL is also instrumental in the PLANEX planetary science and exploration programme.
PRL research encompasses Astrophysics, Solar System and cosmic radiation.
Astronomy and Astrophysics: Current research programmes include studies on star formation, evolution of intermediate mass stars, photometric and polarimetric studies of active galaxies and BL Lac objects and high angular resolution studies by lunar occulations, study on circumstellar structure. The astronomical observations are taken through a 1.2 m telescope that is located in Mount Abu. The laboratory has also undertaken solar photospheric and chromospheric studies under the International Global Oscillations Network Group (GONG) project at Udaipur Solar Observatory. A 12 ft SPAR telescope is being used in this project.
Planetary atmospheres and Aeronomy: The institute has been recently investigating the electric and magnetic fields, plasma instabilities and the dynamics of the upper atmosphere are being carried out by elegant radio, optical and plasma diagnostic techniques. The role of trace gases in the chemical and radiative properties of the Earth's atmosphere and their impact on climate, ionization and electrodynamical parameters of the middle atmosphere are a few of the topics which are also being studied actively.
Earth Sciences: Studies that are particularly related to geochronology, geochemistry, glaciology, oceanography and palaeoclimatology are carried out in this institute. Isotope geology is one of the most actively researched upon subjects.
Theoretical Physics: Current research programmes include Neutrino physics, Physics beyond standard model, Standard and non-standard CP violation, Fermion masses, Supersymmetry, Baryogenesis, Phenomenology of higher dimensional theories, QCD and quark gluon plasma, Colour superconductivity, Chiral symmetry breaking, Study of quantum chaos in nuclear energy levels, Group theoretical models and nuclear structures, Study of atomic Rydberg states, Stark spectroscopy of atomic levels, Stability analysis of synchronized structures in coupled map networks.
Quantum Optics and Quantum Information: Production and characterization of entangled states, Cavity QED, Realization of quantum gates and networks, Storage and retrieval of quantum information, Subluminal and superluminal propagation of light, Dynamics of Bose-Einstein condensates and cold Fermions, Non-commutative field theory, Solitons, optical resonators and optical fibers are currently studied theoretically. Experimental study of optical vortices is also pursued.
Physical Research Laboratory (PRL)
Ahmedabad - 380 009