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Welcome to Cristina Masoller homepage

I am Associate Professor of Physics at UPC in the Nonlinear Dynamics, Nonlinear Optics and Lasers research group.

I am interested in nonlinear phenomena, complex systems and data analysis.

Recent publications

o   Unravelling the community structure of the climate system by using lags and symbolic time-series analysis. Scientific Reports, July 2016


o   Identifying global patterns of stochasticity and nonlinearity in the Earth System, published as a discussion paper in Earth System Dynamics Forum, April 2016.


o   Unveiling temporal correlations characteristic to phase transition in the intensity of fibre laser radiation, Phys. Rev. Lett., January 2016.


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Click on the images to download the papers



o   Nonlinear dynamics of lasers: optical rogue waves; optical spikes; laminar-turbulence transition in a fiber laser.

o   Data analysis: temporal correlations in neuron models (FitzHugh Nagumo) induced by a subthreshold periodic input; perfect network inference from data (Kuramoto oscillators and chaotic electronic circuits).

o   Climate networks: directionality of climate interactions; nonlinear atmospheric response to solar forcing; large-scale climate communities.





I am interested in dynamical complex systems: systems that evolve in time, which are composed by interacting nonlinear elements. My research is aimed at:

extracting new information from observed data (for understanding underlying phenomena, identification of transitions and interactions, etc.)

exploiting nonlinear dynamics for innovative applications.


Here is the list of my publications (pdf files available) and here, a few selected publications. Here is my CV (updated April 2016).


Ongoing research:

Laser nonlinear dynamics: we analyse data recorded in our lab (semiconductor lasers with feedback) and data simulated from laser models.

– Time-series analysis: we analyse climate data (reanalysis NCEP/NCAR and ERA Interim) and synthetic data from neuronal models (FitzHugh Nagumo, integrate-and-fire), Logistic maps, Kuramoto oscillators, etc.


Methods of data analysis: complex networks, symbolic analysis, information theory, complexity and similarity measures (permutation entropy, mutual information, etc.).


Regarding semiconductor lasers, I am interested in:

–optical extreme events (ultra-high optical pulses and optical rogue waves): identifying mechanisms that trigger these extreme events and mechanisms able to mitigate or suppress them; developing novel data analysis tools for extreme event identification and early-warning indicators,

optical spikes: developing “optical neurons” that could be building blocks of photonics ultra-fast, neuro-inspired information processing systems.


Regarding climate data analysis, my goal is to develop novel data analysis tools that can contribute to advance our understanding of the Earth climate dynamics, which can in turn contribute to improve climate models and predictions. More specifically, I am interested in:

– identifying time-scales and direction of interactions (significant long-range teleconnections, local interactions among climate variables),

– identifying geographical regions with similar climate (large-scale climate communities, regions with high atmospheric stochasticity, regions with nonlinear response to solar forcing).


Semiconductor lasers and climate data analysis might seem unrelated research fields; however, we exploit the experimental laser setup for recording time-series under controllable conditions, which allow for testing novel data analysis tools. Semiconductor lasers with optical feedback generate complex intensity fluctuations (neither fully random, nor fully regular) that involve a wide-range of time-scales; thus, they are appropriate for testing novel data analysis tools (of classification, for the identification of recurrent patterns, for identifying signatures of determinism, etc.).



My work in climate data analysis was funded by the Marie-Skłodowska-Curie Initial Traning Network (ITN) LINC that I coordinated (FP7 289447, 2011-2015); my work in semiconductor laser dynamics is funded by the Spanish Ministerio de Ciencia e Innovación through grant FIS2015-66503-C3-2-P (2015-2017). In addition, experimental work in neuron-like optical spikes is partially funded by ITN NETT (Neural Engineering Transformative Technologies, FP7 289146).

Recently I started a new research line in biomedical applications (novel semiconductor-based light sources and data analysis tools). This research is funded by ITN BE-OPTICAL that I coordinate (H2020 675512, started October 2015). Here is more information about my projects.


People involved

Here is a list of present and former team members and image gallery.


Conferences, workshops, seminars, schools

Here is a list of events that I have attended, including presentations and photos.

Here is the list of the events that I have organized (and that I am organizing), and here is the list of the proceedings.



I teach introductory physics courses for engineering students at Escola Tècnica Superior d’Enginyeries Industrial i Aeronàutica de Terrassa (ETSEIAT) and the course “Laser systems and applications” for the Barcelona Master in Photonics. Here is more information about my teaching activities (including slides of lectures in English).



I received my Bachelor (1989) and MSc (1991) degrees in physics from Universidad de la República, Uruguay. I received my PhD (1999) degree in physics from Bryn Mawr College (BMC), Pennsylvania, USA. My PhD thesis was on Nonlinear Dynamics in Semiconductor Lasers with Optical Feedback, supervised by Prof. Neal B. Abraham. Before joining UPC in 2004, from 1986 to 2004 I was Associate Professor at the Instituto de Física, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad de la República, Uruguay, where I still have many friends and collaborators (you might have noticed that I keep my web page in Uruguay). At UPC I was a Ramon and Cajal researcher (2004-2009).


Member of professional societies

I am a member of the European Physical Society (EPS), the Optical Society (OSA –Elected Fellow 2016), the Catalan network COMPLEXITAT.CAT and the Spanish network IBERSINC II. I am vice chair of the IUPAP Commission on Laser Physics and Photonics and Spanish Representative in the COST Action MP1403 - Nanoscale Quantum Optics


Hobbies and other personal stuff

Here are some of my favourite photos.


Looking for an undergraduate project (TFG), a summer internship, or a PhD project? Find here information for prospective students. Interested? Contact us!


Contact information

My office and the semiconductor laser lab are located at Gaia Building (map), UPC Campus Terrassa, Barcelona, Spain.

cristina.masoller @ upc.edu, cristina.masoller @ gmail.com

Colom 11, Terrassa 08222, Barcelona, Spain

Tel: (0034)937398507