In 1957, the LAS Institute of Physics established the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics (headed by Viktors Veldre), which studied electron and atomic collisions, nuclear physics, magnetohydrodynamics and solid state physics. In 1967, on the basis of the LVU Department of Experimental Physics, the Spectroscopy Problem Laboratory (headed by E. Krauliņa) was established, which was engaged in the investigation of various elemental collisions and photoprocesses in the gaseous phase, using modern spectroscopy methods and lasers. After expanding its research activities, the Spectroscopy Problem Laboratory was completely occupied by the Old Riga building at Šķūņu street 4.


In 1994, upon an initiative of prof. Māris Jansons the Laboratory of Theoretical Physics and Spectroscopy Problem Laboratory merged into a new structure under the auspices of the University of Latvia – Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy, where theoretical and experimental researches were continuing (development of optical fibers and optoelectronic devices, applications of optical methods in medicine, etc.).

An important milestone in the history of the Institute was the European Commission's support for the Fifth Framework Program of Excellence project in basic nanophysics research and applications in 2002.

In 2010, the association "FOTONIKA – LV", consisting of the Institute of Astronomy, Institute of Atomic Physics and Spectroscopy, Institute of Geodesy and Geoinformatics, was established at the University of Latvia.

In January 2019, the Institute moved to the House of Science of the University of Latvia at Jelgavas iela 3, near Torņakalns.
In August 2019, another the IAPS laboratory was established – "Optical biosensors and functional nanomaterials" with the aim of developing nano-materials research.



  • Māris Jansons (1994 – 1997) – founder of IAPS
  • Mārcis Auziņš (1998 – 2003)
  • Jānis Spīgulis (2004 – 2012)
  • Aigars Ekers (2012 – 2014)
  • Inga Šīrante (2017 – current)