Personal profile

Research interests

The physics and technology of semiconductor ultrafast laser diodes and photonic systems are right at the core of our research. We are also keen to develop new applications enabled by ultrafast photonics in imaging, sensing, spectroscopy and metrology.


I have been passionately committed to ultrafast lasers and photonic systems since I was an undergraduate student at the Instituto Superior Técnico (Portugal), where I obtained a Physics Engineering degree and worked as a junior research assistant. Afterwards I completed my PhD in Physics at the University of St Andrews and then moved to the University of Dundee as a post-doctoral researcher. A year after my PhD graduation, I was awarded a Royal Academy of Engineering/EPSRC Research Fellowship and appointed to a Lectureship at the University of Dundee, being subsequently promoted to Senior Lecturer and Reader. I moved to Heriot-Watt University in August 2016.

I currently hold an ERC Starting Grant (UPTIME). I have been previously awarded the Philip Leverhulme Prize (2012-2015), the Royal Academy of Engineering/EPSRC Research Fellowship (2009-2014), the IEEE Photonics Society Graduate Student Fellowship (2007) and an International PhD Studentship from FCT, the Portuguese Science and Technology Foundation (2003-2007).

I am part of the Editorial Board for Scientific Reports and serve as a Guest Editor for the IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics (Semiconductor Lasers issue). I’m also the Chair of the Semiconductor Lasers sub-committee for CLEO-Europe since 2014. 

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

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Co Author Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2002 2015

High-power ultrafast and broadly-tunable quantum-dot lasers

Cataluna, M. A., Ding, Y., White, S. E., Bajek, D. & Krakowski, M. 2015 Quantum Sensing and Nanophotonic Devices XII. Razeghi, M., Tournié, E. & Brown, G. J. (eds.). SPIE, Vol. 9370, 93702D. (Proceedings of SPIE ; vol. 9370)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Quantum dot lasers
Ultrafast lasers
Laser tuning
Semiconductor quantum dots
Semiconductor lasers

Mode-Locked Double Active Region Laser Diode

Forrest, A. F., Wang, H., Mi, J., Cui, B., Pan, J., Ding, Y. & Cataluna, M. A. 2015 2015 European Conference on Lasers and Electro-Optics - European Quantum Electronics Conference. CB_10_3

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

1.25 μm quantum dot tapered external-cavity laser, with 1 W output power and 30 nm tunability

Haggett, S. E., Krakowski, A. M., Montrosset, I. & Cataluna, M. A. 16 Dec 2014 2014 International Semiconductor Laser Conference. IEEE, p. 90-91 2 p. 6987465

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Laser resonators
Semiconductor quantum dots
Current density

Deep-red semiconductor monolithic mode-locked lasers

Kong, L., Wang, H., Bajek, D., White, S. E., Forrest, A. F., Wang, X., Cui, B., Pan, J., Ding, Y. & Cataluna, M. A. Dec 2014 In : Applied Physics Letters. 105, 22, 221115

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Laser modes
Pulse repetition rate
Semiconductor materials
Microwave generation

Femtosecond mode-locked red AlGaInP-VECSEL

Bek, R., Daghestani, N. S., Kahle, H., Schwarzbäck, T., Jetter, M., Cataluna, M. A. & Michler, P. 2014 Vertical External Cavity Surface Emitting Lasers (VECSELs) IV. SPIE, Vol. 8966, 89660P. (Proceedings of SPIE; vol. 8966)

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Quantum well
quantum wells
Semiconductor quantum wells


Member of the RSE Young Academy of Scotland

Maria Ana Cataluna (Recipient), 2014

Prize: Election to learned society

Philip Leverhulme Prize

Maria Ana Cataluna (Recipient), 2011

Prize: Prize (including medals and awards)

Royal Academy of Engineering / EPSRC Research Fellowship

Maria Ana Cataluna (Recipient), 2009

Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively

Activities 2012 2016

  • 4 Participation in conference
  • 2 Editorial activity
  • 1 Membership of board
  • 1 Membership of peer review panel

CLEO/Europe 2017

Cataluna, M. A. (Chair)

Activity: Participation in conference

IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics (Journal)

Cataluna, M. A. (Guest editor)

Activity: Editorial activity

The Leverhulme Trust (External organisation)

Cataluna, M. A. (Member)
2016 → …

Activity: Membership of peer review panel

Scientific Reports (Journal)

Cataluna, M. A. (Editorial board member)
2016 → …

Activity: Editorial activity

CLEO: Science and Innovations 2016

Cataluna, M. A. (Member of programme committee)

Activity: Participation in conference