March 2022: Professor Dominic Zerulla and his team received the 2022 NovaUCD Innovation Award award in recognition for the development of a novel photonic chip which enables ultra-high spatial resolution at video rates in optical microscopy, far beyond the diffraction limit of visible light. This patented technology could aid early diagnostics and precision medicine, and help deliver improved drug treatments for patients facing a range of life-threatening diseases. His company PEARlabs, a spin-out from the UCD School of Physics, has been awarded over €1million in funding while also winning the SFI Future Innovator Special Prize in May 2020 and the Enterprise Ireland BIG Ideas Public Choice Award in November 2021 to further develop this technology.Click the headline to read the full article.
March 2022: The IOP Ireland Spring Weekend Meeting was held this year in Cork on March 12th, 2022. The UCD School of Physics was pleased to support three PhD students presenting posters for the Rosse Medal competition.
We wish to congratulate Parinaz Mosaddeghi Amini, who received third place in the Rosse Medal competition. Her work relates to 'Multiscale Modelling of Bovine Milk Protein Interacting with Metallic Iron and Aluminium. She is funded by SFI and supervised by Assoc. Prof. Vladimir Lobaskin of UCD School of Physics and Co-supervised by Dr. Yulia Subbotina.
In addition, we congratulate Bill Wells Kamtchou (Characterisation of a novel Timepix3 detector for its suitability as a Compton imaging detector for Nuclear Medicine applications) & and Patrick Wong (Model of a Strongly Correlated Interacting Topological Insulator) for their poster presentations at this event.
The 2022 Rosse Medal was awarded to Sarah Cameron from Ulster University.
March 2022: The Irish Times has produced coverage of SoPs Prof. Zerulla's innovative research. The article highlights both the fundamental and practical breakthroughs that his Plasmonics and Ultra-fast NanoOptics group are providing super resolution imaging. Click the headline to read the full article.
March 2022: Helping to mark International Women's Day, the "Role Models in pSTEM: You can be what you can see" has released some new profiles featuring several School of Physics alumni. The project was created to highlight positive role models for young women in the subjects of physics, mathematics, computer science and engineering. By creating videos for use in classrooms and on social media, the project hopes to make more young women aware of the very many career paths and opportunities available to them by pursuing these subjects. Following the UNESCO framework of factors influencing girls’ and women’s participation in STEM, the interviews explore the backgrounds and influences of each of the role models and highlight what they enjoy about what they do. Click the headline to access all the videos!
February 2022: UCD School of Physics was delighted to welcome in-person undergrad students, postgraduate students, post doctoral, academic staff, administrative and technical staff associated with UCD Physics to an informal coffee and cake morning in the Physics Common room. The event was well attended, lively, and celebrated pSTEM initiatives ongoing within the School on this very special day. It gave the opportunity to all to discuss informal physics topics and ask questions. Many research groups and staff displayed images of their recent research highlights. It was a pleasure to host an in-person event safely after much social distancing.
A postgraduate social event was also held in the common room in February. Our thanks to Amanda Donohoe & Conor Foy as postgraduate reps for hosting this event, and for giving a social platform to many new and existing postgrads to meet in-person.
January 2022: The Irish Research Council project EQUITY: Eire Strategy for Quantum Information and Technology has been awarded to Dr. Steve Campbell through the council's New Foundations program. The grant, funded and administered in conjunction with the Shared-Island initiative from the Department of the Taoiseach, aims to get an accurate snap-shot of the quantum related activity across the whole island of Ireland to aid in developing a cohesive plan for impact in this area. The funds will provide support for several workshops bringing together a wide variety of stakeholders to discuss and identify the most promising avenues moving forward.
Nov 2021 - The School of Physics would like to congratulate Bill Kamtchou who was recently awarded the Irish Association of Physicists in Medicine (IAPM) Young Investigator Grant (YIG) for 2021. The Young Investigator Grant is awarded annually to an IAPM member on the basis of competitive peer review to support a research project in any area relating to medical physics and bioengineering. The grant aims to support researchers early in their career. Bill is a SIRAT funded scholar in the School of Physics who is conducting a PhD research project on the application of the novel Timepix3 detector, developed by the Medipix collaboration at CERN, to clinical medical applications. Specifically, the grant will support his work on the application of the Timepix3 to the development of a Compton camera for Nuclear Medicine imaging.
Nov 2021: Congratulations to PEAR labs, an early-stage UCD spin-out supported by NovaUCD, on winning the Viewers' Choice Award at yesterday's Enterprise Ireland Big Ideas 2021 showcase event. Great news for Dominic Zerulla and Jurgen Osing. The Pearlabs team in UCD Physics, led by Prof. Dominic Zerulla, has developed imaging technology that enables real-time nanoscale optical microscopy. This aims to transform our understanding of processes such as cell signalling and cell proliferation in cancer. Using super resolution imaging technology, PEARlabs can produce live video images with 10-times improved spatial resolution at video rate without destroying samples.
Sept 2021: Prof. Zerulla’s research group in UCD Physics is providing the nanotechnology behind PicoGlaze’s environmentally friendly technology. The invention is capable of dynamically changing the thermal radiation and absorption characteristics of glass windows. The technology is based on electric field-assisted alignment of highly anisotropic molecules which act as antennae between two glass sheets controllable through the application of a modulated small electric field. This switching alters the thermal radiation properties of the window system – thus enabling end users to allow heat into/out of their buildings as required. Alignment of anisotropic material in the layer alters the thermal radiation properties of the glass. Enterprise Ireland has just awarded a commercialisation grant for the commercial exploitation of the disruptive technology aiming for significant energy savings in glazed buildings and hence reduction of our carbon footprint.
July 2021: The UCD Centre for Quantum Engineering, Science, and Technology launched on July 29th 2021. More than 25 academic staff from 4 Schools in UCD are involved in this interdisciplinary research centre dedicated to understanding and delivering next generation quantum enhanced technologies. Led by Dr. Andrew Mitchell from the School of Physics the centre is built around four core pillars: quantum devices, quantum computation, quantum information & simulations, and quantum literacy. The Centre adds to the growing momentum shown in the School and University in this exciting arena. More details at https://www.ucd.ie/quantum/
July 2021: The School is pleased to announce the publication of "Frontiers in General Relativity" by Emeritus Professor Peter Hogan. The book is aimed at advanced students and young researchers in general relativity and discusses some of the biggest open questions in the field today. Readers of the book will find provocative examples interspersed in the text that help to find novel representations of the uses of particles and photons. Click the image to learn more!
May 2021: The School congratulates Associate Prof. Brian Vohnsen and the Advanced Optical Imaging group on securing funding from Enterprise Ireland in conjunction with industry to develop ophthalmic instrumentation. The funding comes from Enterprise Ireland's highly competitive Innovation Partnership Programme which supports research working towards the development of new and improved products, processes and services, helping to generate new knowledge and know-how.
March 2021: The School of Physics is congratulates Dr. Donal MacKernan who is the recipient of the 2021 NovaUCD Licence of the Year Award for the development of a disruptive molecular switch platform technology. During 2020 this technology was licensed by NovaUCD to a US-based company Fionnachtain Inc with an initial application as a point-of-care medical diagnostic for COVID-19 and influenza. The molecular switch platform is a specialised hinge protein with sensor and function domains and can be manufactured using standard recombinant protein technology. The flexibility of the design allows a wide variety of applications including medical diagnostics, food and environmental testing, and therapeutics.
March 2021: The School of Physics has been awarded a Juno Practitioner Award by the Institute of Physics. This award recognises steps we are taking to understand & improve gender balance. The School has investigated gender balance in a broad range of areas by gathering data and consulting with physics staff & students. We have established baselines in terms of the gender breakdown among staff, postgraduate, and undergraduate students and degree outcomes. As detailed in the action plan, we will monitor these data annually and increase participation. The implementation of our Action Plan in the coming years will enhance diversity and improve our School.
The Juno committee members are Assoc Prof Sheila McBreen (chair), Prof Brian Rodriguez (vice chair), Prof Padraig Dunne, Bairbre Fox, Dr. Sharon Shannon, postdoctoral researcher Dr Julia Subbotina, Angela O’Toole, Orla Byrne, and postgraduates Pallavi Kumari & Silas O’Toole. All staff in the School have contributed to the application.
March 2021: UCD MSc student Meadhbh Griffin will soon see her work launched into space. Meadhbh has spent the last five months as an intern at ESA writing and testing software for an experiment set to fly later this year on the Hungarian-led RadCube CubeSat. While its main mission is to probe space weather in Earth orbit, RadCube will also host a miniature experiment to test how commercial computer memories withstand space radiation.
December 2020: The UCD Centre for Space Research (C-Space) was officially launched on December 15th 2020. More than 15 academic staff from 5 Schools in UCD are involved in this interdisciplinary research centre dedicated to space. The School of Physics plays a leading role in several of the C-Space research themes, including gamma-ray detectors, astrophysics and nanosatellites & payloads. By building on nationally leading projects such as EIRSAT-1, Ireland’s first satellite, C-Space will be a key national resource for space expertise and training. Click the image for more information or visit the centre's website https://www.ucd.ie/space/
November 2020: Researchers in the school have recently made a significant advancement in assessing the toxicity of nanomaterials. In a recent paper in the prestigious journal Advanced Materials, the authors studied inhalation exposure and pulmonary diseases that may be caused by common industrial nanopowders. Using high resolution imaging, gene expression and pathway analysis, the team has identified a vicious cycle of nanomaterials uptake, excretion and quarantining by different cell types in the lung can result in chronic lung inflammation. The work was funded as part of the EU Horizon 2020 project SmartNanoTox coordinated by Vladimir Lobaskin, UCD School of Physics together with members of Systems Biology Ireland Boris Kholodenko, Vadim Zhernovkov, and David Gomez-Matallanas.
November 2020: Staff in the School have secured a total of €2M in funding for two projects in the first SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme. Prof. Emma Sokell and Dr. Fergal O’Reilly will lead the project "xLuminate: nanoimaging and spectroscopy enabling brilliant tuneable, laboratory-scale x-ray source technology" which will enable research on a broad range of scientific and industrial applications, currently only available at large scale research facilities, to be conducted on a laboratory scale. While Prof. Lorraine Hanlon will direct "Building on EIRSAT-1: Nanosatellites as a disruptive technology platform for innovation and research in the global space sector" to develop an industry-academia collaboration focussed on accelerating new space mission and payload concepts, enabled through transformative tools for the rapid design and integration of payloads with a nano-satellite (
October 2020: The School of Physics congratulates Prof. Brian Vohnsen who was recently named Fellow of the Optical Society OSA for his significant contributions to vision science, including photoreceptor optics and high resolution retinal imaging. The annual honour is bestowed upon a small portion of members of the OSA for their significant contributions to the advancement of optics and photonics through education, research, engineering, business leadership and service.
October 2020: SiriusXT together with two UCD researchers, have been awarded a total of €2.35 million in funding for a disruptive photonics technology project through Horizon 2020, the EU's research and innovation programme. The aim of the 4-year CoCID (Compact Cell-Imaging Device) project, which is being led by SiriusXT, is to provide insights into the cellular origins of viral diseases including; hepatitis C, hepatitis E, herpesvirus and SARS-CoV-2, the coronavirus that causes COVID-19, and to aid in the development of novel therapeutics using the company’s novel soft x-ray microscope.
September 2020: UCD PhD student Emma Callis was announced as one of two winners of the 2020 Peter Curran award for the best student talk at the Irish National Astronomy Meeting (INAM). Her winning presentation described her research into the explosion of massive stars as supernovae, and how material shed by stars in their final years can affect how they appear when they explode. Seán Brennan was also recognized with an honourable mention in the 2020 Peter Curran awards for a talk on observations of a giant outburst from a massive star. Both Emma and Seán are PhD students working in the supernovae and explosive transients group with Dr. Morgan Fraser at UCD (sn.ie).
October 2020: The School of Physics spin-out SiriusXT has shortlisted for the Commercialisation Impact Award. This Award recognises and celebrates knowledge transfer success that has arisen through licensing or creation of a spin-out company from an Irish publicly funded research organisation. Until recently soft x-ray such microscopes could only be operated in football stadium-sized facilities due to the size of conventional soft x-ray sources. However, based on research carried out at UCD over many years, SiriusXT has developed and patented a miniaturised soft x-ray source, allowing it to build the world’s first commercial, lab-scale, soft x-ray microscope revolutionising cell imaging in disease and drug research.
June 2020: SiriusXT, a UCD School of Physics spin-out, has been awarded just over €4.5 million funding from the European Innovation Council Accelerator Pilot programme to help combat the coronavirus pandemic. The funding will enable SiriusXT to contribute to the fight against the coronavirus on a pioneering project to pilot its soft x-ray microscope at leading virology and disease research labs across the EU which are focused on coronavirus research and research on other diseases.
April 2020: L’associazione “Giuseppe Davide Paparo” in conjunction with the Universities of Catania, Madrid, and Innsbruck have awarded Dr. Steve Campbell the 2nd edition of the Paparo prize for his significant contributions to research in quantum technologies. The committee consisting of Profs. Luigi Amico (Catania), Alioscia Hamma (Massachusetts), Miguel Angel Martin-Delgado (Madrid), and Hans Briegel (Innsbruck) awards the prize every two years to an early career researcher in the field to commemorate the memory of G. D. Paparo and to demonstrate an example of a brilliant and promising researcher in the field of quantum physics to young people who are heading for a career in this important sector.
Minister for Business, Enterprise, and Innovation, Heather Humphreys, TD, has today announced that a special Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Future Innovator Prize of €500,000 has been granted to University College Dublin (UCD) researcher, Professor Dominic Zerulla. Professor Zerulla, UCD School of Physics, and his team at PEARlabs Technologies, have received the prize in recognition of the potential impact of their project to develop a highly innovative imaging solution that enables ultra-fast video-rate nanoscale optical microscopy.
For more details, see:
Dublin, Ireland, 26 June 2020, NovaUCD today announced the winners of its annual Innovation Awards. A total of 7 Awards, including the 2019 NovaUCD Innovation Award, were revealed during a virtual event, to highlight successes made in areas of commercialisation, consultancy, entrepreneurship and the promotion of an innovation culture, by members of the UCD community. The Awards were due to be presented at an event in March which was cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The 2019 NovaUCD Innovation Award, which recognises excellence in innovation or of successes achieved in the commercialisation of UCD research or other intellectual activity over a number of years, was presented to Dr Fergal O’Reilly, who has been a researcher in the UCD School of Physics since 2005.
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Scientists are asking for the public’s help in tracing the origin of hundreds of thousands of galaxies recently discovered by the largest radio telescope ever built, LOFAR. New citizen science project 'Radio Galaxy Zoo: LOFAR' is giving anyone with a computer the opportunity to help find the galaxies with supermassive black holes at their centres.
These radio emissions are produced by huge jets of matter ejected deep into space by black holes, usually found at the centres of galaxies, as they consume dust and gas.
Associate Professor John Quinn, UCD School of Physics, who is the Irish lead on the citizen science project, says the public’s help is needed to identify which galaxies belong to which radio source as the task is simply too big for the 200 astronomers that make up the international LOFAR team.
Muon Hunters 2: Return of the Ring
VERITAS launches new Zooniverse citizen science project on March 14th, 2019
Scientists once again seek help from the public to identify hundreds of thousands of ring patterns produced in the VERITAS cameras by muons to help distinguish them from the patterns produced by gamma rays, which the VERITAS telescopes are designed to detect. The classifications obtained from citizen scientists will be used to train machine-learning algorithms to improve the capability of computers to automatically distinguish between images created by muons and gamma rays.
Interested in participating? Go to the Muon Hunters Web site: http://www.muonhunter.org
UCD Contact: Associate Professor John Quinn, Spokesperson for the VERITAS Collaboration (Email: firstname.lastname@example.org ; Web: https://astrophysics.ucd.ie)
The “Plasmonics and Ultra-fast NanoOptics Group” led by Associate Professor Dominic Zerulla in UCD School of Physics are among twelve finalist teams in the running for the prestigious SFI Future Innovator Prize. The research team have invented a new, disruptive imaging technology coined Plasmonic Electronically Addressable Super-Resolution (PEAR). PEAR offers an innovative solution that goes beyond the current state of the art and opens the possibility for real-time imaging of subcellular processes which exist at the nanoscale.
An international team of more than 200 astronomers from 18 countries, including researchers from University College Dublin (UCD), has today published the first phase of a major new sky survey at unprecedented sensitivity using the Low Frequency Array (LOFAR) telescope.
The VERITAS collaboration, including UCD School of Physics members Assoc. Prof.
John Quinn and Ph.D. student Ste O'Brien, has confirmed the detection of very-high-
energy gamma-ray emission from the vicinity of a supermassive black hole,
observations prompted by the detection of a spatially coincident high-energy
neutrino event by the IceCube collaboration. This black hole is potentially the first
known astrophysical source of high-energy cosmic neutrinos, a type of ghostly
subatomic particle, and the observations represent a breakthrough in multi-
For the first time, an international team of astronomers including Dr. Morgan Fraser from the School of Physics at University College Dublin, have directly imaged the formation and expansion of a fast-moving jet of material ejected when the powerful gravity of a supermassive black hole ripped apart a star that wandered too close to the cosmic monster. The new findings have been published in a paper in the prestigious international journal Science, led by Prof. Seppo Mattila of the University of Turku in Finland and Dr. Miguel Pérez-Torres from the Institudo de Astrofisica de Andalucia in Spain.
New research on quantum nanoelectronics has been published today in the journal 'Science'. Results of state-of-the-art experiments carried out in Paris confirm theoretical predictions by Dr Andrew Mitchell here in UCD School of Physics, and demonstrate how exotic quantum mechanical effects can be exploited for super-ballistic transport.
Science Foundation Ireland has awarded substantial funding to both Prof. Brian Rodriguez and Associate Prof. Sheila McBreen of UCD School of Physics through Career Development Awards. Only 22 such grants were made nationally across the sciences.
UCD Theoretical Physicist Prof. Lobaskin and his team will lead an €8M EU Horizon 2020 project on the mechanisms of toxicity of nanomaterials, involving 11 partners from 8 EU countries.
The Irish Research Council's new "Laureate" programme supports frontier basic research, pushing boundaries at the cutting edge of knowledge. Only 36 of these prestigious awards were made across all disciplines nationwide, including Dr Andrew Mitchell from UCD School of Physics for his research on quantum nanoelectronics. New PhD and Postdoc positions in the group will be advertised shortly.