Laboratory of Theoretical physics




Skunu street 4, Riga, Latvia

Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy


Mailing address:

Institute of Atomic physics and Spectroscopy,

University of Latvia,

Raina blvd. 19,

LV-1586, Riga,



Head of laboratory:  Dr. habil. Phys. Erna Karule (Gailite)

Mailing address: Institute of Physics, Salaspils-1, LV-2169, Latvia

E-mail: karule@latnet.lv    

Tel.: +371-67229747

Fax: +371-67901214



·         Dr. habl. Phys. Imants  Bersons,   Tel.: +371-67229747; E-mail: bersons@latnet.lv ; http://www.lza.lv/scientists/bersonsi.htm 

·         Dr. Phys. Rita Veilande,  Tel.: +371-67229747; E-mail: veilande@latnet.lv



Research field:


    Atoms in strong electromagnetic field. Multiphoton ionization,  free-free transitions, harmonic generation. Deformation of atomic spectra in external fields. Interactions of atoms with half-cycle pulses, nonlinear equations and solitons.

Research methods: Quantum mechanical and semiclassical.


History of the laboratory:


    Laboratory of theoretical physics is a part of former Laboratory of theoretical physics, which  was  founded in 1958 at the Institute of Physics of Latvian Academy of  Sciences by the Deputy Director Dr. V.Veldre (1926-1967). Starting from sixties of 20th century papers of members of laboratory have been published  in J. Phys. B.: Atomic and Molecular Physics and its members became well known by the international community of atomic physicists as the "Riga's group" (the group of Riga physicists-theorists). The well known members of this group are  Dr.Sc. Raimonds Peterkop (1930-1991) and Dr.Sc. Modris Gailitis (1935-1993). Their papers on Wanier law (threshold law) and on the close coupling methods in electron atom collisions were between the first in this field and are well known by international community. In 1967  V.Veldre, R.Damburg, R.Peterkop, M.Gailitis and E.Karule were awarded with the Latvian State prize for the cycle of papers: " Theory of slow electron collisions with atoms". It was the first State prize awarded to the physicists in Latvia. 

    After Dr. V.Veldre passed away there was a strong pressure to push our laboratory to do, which some  of administration thought is more useful, say, to make some simple calculations for one of the solid state laboratories. We  were interested in basic physical phenomena and its precise mathematical description. The arrival to Riga from StPetersburg  Prof. G.F. Drukarev, who strongly defended our laboratory, saved its exsistence as a laboratory of applied mathematics. In return Laboratory of theoretical Physics never made calculations for any of experimental laboratories of Institute of Physics or University of Latvia but it very successfully collaborated with Dr. E.Andersons atomic theorists group at the Computational Center of University of Latvia. Thanks to the semiempirical wave functions for alkali atoms calculated by this group this group we were able to do our close coupling calculations  

From 1968 to 1992 the Head of laboratory was Dr. R.Damburg (born 1930, since 1996 Professor emeritus).
     Laboratory of theoretical physics of the Institute of Physics has organized two international conferences:

·         ICAP VI (VI international Conference on Atomic Physics, Riga 17-22 July 1978). Chair of the local organizing committe Dr. R.Damburg

·         ECAMP IV (IV European Conference on Atomic Physics, Riga 6-10 April 1992). Chair of the local organizing committee: Dr. E.Karule

In organization of these conferences participated  physicists from the Laboratory of Spectroscopy of University of Latvia.

In 1992 Latvia regained  independence.  Dr. E. Karule was elected by her colleagues to be the Head of laboratory in 1993. The reorganization of science started in Latvia.  Most of the Institutes of the Latvian Academy of Sciences were formally integrated in University of Latvia. In January 1994. Laboratory of Theoretical Physics was moved to the University of Latvia and joined the Laboratory of Spectroscopy.  So in 1994  the Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy in the University of Latvia was founded. 

Since 1993 science in Latvia is funded by the Latvian Science Council grants. There is  no other state financing.


Recent publications of the laboratory members:

·         E. Karule “Closed form for two photon free-free transition matrix elements”, 2000,  Radiation   Physics and Chemistry , 59, p.155-157.

·         I. Bersons, A. Kulsh. Transition form factor of the hydrogen Rydberg atom. - Phys. Rev., 1997, A 55, pp.1674 - 1682

·         M. Gailitis, A. Gailitis, Photoabsorption of Atomic Hydrogen in an External Electric Field, J. Physics B: Atomic Molecular and Optical Physics, 29, No18, 1996, 4081-4091.


Research Projects:



National proects




Project No.

Project leader




LZP 05.1869

LU( Z-852-109)


 Kvantumehāniskās un kvaziklasiskās metodes daudzfotonu procesu aprakstam



LZP 10-5/021

LU Z-6197-ZF-N-109

 I. Bersons

 Optical processess in low-temperature plasma and living tissues, and interaction of laser-radiation with atoms

(Optiskie procesi zemtemperatūras plazmā, dzīvos audos un lāzerstarojuma-atomu mijiedarbība)







International projects




Project No.

Project leader






Taivānas-Baltijas teorētiskie pētījumi atomu spektroskopijā un par atomu izturēšanos stipros lāzera laukos” (“Taiwan-Baltic theoretical studies of spectroscopy of atoms and their behaviour in strong laser fields”)

01.08.2008. – 31.07.2009.






Last update: 16.02.2012.