Research within the School of Physics

For a list of recent research publication highlights within UCD School of Physics, click here.


Thomas Preston Centre for Fundamental Physics

The Thomas Preston Centre brings together researchers working on fundamental physics across the broad spectrum of physics.

Centre for Physics in Health and Medicine

The CPHM aims to create a multi-disciplinary environment of researchers to lead the translation of fundamental physics understanding and emerging state-of-the-art technologies into health and clinical applications.

Astrophysics and Space Science

UCD has a distinguished tradition in astrophysics, starting from pioneering work in the 1960’s on the development of ground-based high-energy gamma-ray astronomy. Astrophysics continues to be a vibrant area in UCD, with approximately 20 staff, researchers and students.


We are building Ireland's first satellite, EIRSAT-1. Students in UCD Physics and Engineering are building EIRSAT-1 with support from the European Space Agency's Education Office 'Fly Your Satellite' programme. Find out more at

Atomic, molecular and plasma

Innovative research includes developing, characterising and modelling extreme UV sources for applications in UV lithography for next generation semiconductor manufacturing, imaging nano/molecular structures, studying molecular dynamics by ultrafast laser imaging techniques, and studying double photoionisation with synchrotron radiation. Cutting-edge collaboration continues with Intel Ireland, Intel Components Research, USA and the group continues to create innovation from research by invention, collaboration, and company spin-out activity. For more information, contact Prof Padraig Dunne and Prof Emma Sokell.

Condensed Matter Physics

Our research interests cover electronic, magnetic, photonic and plasmonic properties of materials and nanoscale structures, as well as soft matter modelling. The condensed matter physics group at UCD works on wide ranging topics at the forefront of modern physics research, including nanoelectronics, nanomaterials, advanced functional materials, and soft matter. Our theory groups use quantum many-body techniques, renormalization group methods, atomistic and coarse-grained molecular simulations, to understand the effect of interactions in quantum and soft matter. We also use methods of statistical physics to study self-organisation in complex biological systems and variety of non-equilibrium phenomena including collective behaviour. For more information, contact Dr Andrew Mitchell.


We perform fundamental physical research in the field of biological materials. The group has a world-class expertise in a variety of experimental and theoretical techniques. Novel methods are being developed to study complex biological macromolecules and proteins to further understand biological issues from photosynthesis to Alzheimers disease and CJD, and toxicity of nanomaterials. Research includes atomic force microscopy, surface plasmon polariton excitation, Raman spectroscopy, measuring intercellular forces, laser-optical imaging for unravelling live cell signalling and molecular modelling and simulation. For more information, contact Prof Dominic Zerulla.

Particle Physics 

Access to large-scale experiments at CERN is provided. Research includes top-quark and Higgs-boson physics with CMS at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN, building the LHCb detector and measuring Z and W cross-sections at 7 TeV to 1%, and testing the Standard Model to 1% from the ratio of Z/W cross-sections. For more information, please contact Prof Ronan McNulty or Prof Martin Grunewald.


The radiation laboratory specialises in measuring minute traces of artificial and natural radionuclides in the environment and is equipped with state-of-the-art high-resolution alpha gamma and x-ray spectrometry, and low-level beta spectrometry. Research activities also include Radioecology and Medical Physics, neutron spectroscopy and dosimetry in medical accelerators, accelerator mass spectrometry and nuclear microprobes, and environmental physics studies. For more information, contact Prof Luis Leon Vintro.

Theoretical and Computational Physics

Research in theoretical physics at UCD spans many subject areas, including condensed matter, quantum theory, nano-bio, and nanoelectronics. Computational physics, whether calculations or simulations, forms a key part of modern research. Indeed, experiment and theory advance complimentary aspects of our understanding of the complexity of the natural world. Computational studies make the link between new theoretical concepts, and experimental observations of new phenomena. For more information, contact Prof Vladimir Lobaskin.