Tag Archive | "Trinity College Dublin"

Irish research at Trinity College supported through 2.3 million Euro investment by Nokia & SFI

trinity-collegeThe materials science institute AMBER, headquartered at Trinity College in Dublin, will continue its cooperation with Nokia Bell Labs and the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) for another 4 years. Both Institutions will invest a total of 2.3 million Euro to make future research projects possible. The sum will be divided, as Nokia plans to provide 1.1 million, in cash as well as in-kind, while the Science Foundation Ireland will found 1.2 million. A number of Nokia Bell Labs researchers are integrated in the work of research groups at AMBER.

AMBER, which is the abbreviation for Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research, has already been cooperating with Nokia Bell Labs for four years in research about novel energy storage technologies and advanced thermal management systems to allow extreme integration of optoelectronics devices. While Nokia provides the scientific and industrial Know-How, AMBER allocates fundamental materials science expertise and the facilities. The company was originally founded by one of the contributors of the investment, the Science Foundation Ireland.

Past projects between AMBER and Nokia Bell Labs already showed success and numerous possibilities for the growth of the research sector. For example, the number of common projects has increased from 2 to 4, allowing 7 full-time postdoctoral researchers to work on projects; 6 of them at Nokia Bell Labs Projects. The researchers were already able to introduce a new type of electrode for lithium ion batteries with high storage capacity as well as non-corrosive and magnetic shielding materials for Nokia’s technologies.

The joint research partnership was introduced during a visit of John Halligan, Minister of State with responsibility for Training and Skills, at Trinity’s Advanced Microscopy Laboratory on the 18th of October. The Minister was delighted about the news: “We have a wealth of high quality researchers in our academic institutes and my Department, through Science Foundation Ireland, will continue to support industrial partnerships that promote research commercialisation and job growth.”

Furthermore, he welcomed collaborations with big companies like Nokia as a “testament” as well as a “commitment” to the important role of Ireland’s scientific research.

The Director of AMBER, Prof. Michael Morris, declared that the institute would be continuously looking for further European funding for the research projects.

Julie Byrne, Executive Director Nokia Bell Labs in Ireland, added: “Our joint research projects in the area of energy storage, energy harvesting and energy efficiency will provide key technologies to enable Nokia’s Future X Network vision, which will transform human existence through the digitization and connection of everything.” She spoke about the cooperation bringing together “world class researchers” from both Nokia Bell Labs and AMBER.


Journalist Isabel Riedel

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Irish Research Council-funded Scholar sequences first ancient Irish human genomes

irc_logo_hi-resThe first genomes from ancient Irish humans has sequenced by a team of geneticists from Trinity College Dublin and archaeologists from Queen’s University Belfast. With the help of the information buried within already answering pivotal questions about the origins of Ireland’s people and their culture.

The team, including Irish Research Council-funded Scholar Lara Cassidy, sequenced the genome of an early farmer woman, who lived near Belfast some 5,200 years ago, and those of three men from a later period, around 4,000 years ago in the Bronze Age, after the introduction of metalworking. Their landmark results were published in the international journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Ireland has intriguing genetics. It lies at the edge of many European genetic gradients with world maxima for the variants that code for lactose tolerance, the western European Y chromosome type, and several important genetic diseases including one of excessive iron retention, called haemochromatosis. However, the origins of this heritage are unknown. The only way to discover our genetic past is to sequence genomes directly from ancient people, by embarking on a type of genetic time travel.


Trinity College is the sole constituent college of the University of Dublin, a research university in Ireland.

Queen’s University Belfast is a public research university in Belfast, Northern Ireland. The university was chartered in 1845, and opened in 1849 as “Queen’s College, Belfast”, but has roots going back to 1810 and the Royal Belfast Academical Institution.

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Trinity researchers lead the design of a new futuristic eco-friendly aircraft

Researchers at Trinity College Dublin’s School of Engineering have been selected to lead an EU consortium in the design of a futuristic aircraft that produces less noise pollution and carbon footprint.

The School of Engineering is co-ordinating three EU projects that have a combined budget of €5.4m to improve the way people fly in Europe.

The latest project called ARTIC is worth €1.4m and is focused on the development of a novel, quieter landing gear system for the next generation ‘greener’ aircraft.

Collaborating with the Trinity College Dublin researchers on the project is aircraft manufacturer Alenia Aermacchi, along with SMEs and researchers from other EU institutes.

ARTIC falls under an EU FP7 public-private partnership called Clean Sky.

Clean Sky was set up with sustainable development in mind, and associated projects seek to bring significant changes to the way aeroplane manufacturers design and develop new equipment in response to their damaging environmental impact.

In excess of 2bn people use air transport each year, and although the carbon emissions only amount to around 2pc of the total man-made emissions, this is set to increase to 3pc by 2050.

In addition, noise pollution is a growing concern with increased flight traffic affecting hundreds of thousands of people living near major airports and frequently used flight paths.

“The standard plane we hop on to fly to Paris is fuel-inefficient for such a short-haul distance,” explained Dr Gareth Bennett, assistant professor in mechanical and manufacturing engineering at Trinity College Dublin, who will be leading the project.

“In addition, the fuel and noise emissions into our environment need to be reduced. The Clean Sky Partnership will result in a replacement aircraft design which will be significantly greener, and it will happen soon.”

Reaching for cleaner skies

ARTIC will build on research and development led by Bennett and his team on two other ongoing Clean Sky projects, called WENEMOR and ALLEGRA.

All three projects co-ordinated by Trinity College Dublin will contribute directly to the overarching Green Regional Aircraft (GRA) EU programme, directed by Alenia Aermacchi. This programme will result in the GRA being the most commonly used aircraft in Europe in the next few years for short-haul trips, and will be used as the aircraft of choice by airlines.

The WENEMOR consortium (€2m) designed and built a 1/7th-scale aircraft and cutting-edge design Counter Rotating Open Rotor (CROR) propeller engines, while the ALLEGRA team (€2m) is testing new noise abatement technologies to reduce the noise made by the landing gear, which exceeds engine noise on the approach to landing.

Bennett added: “Noise is a significant bottleneck to the growth of the EU aviation industry, which is a huge employer. Airbus and Alenia Aermacchi, for example, are trying to design quieter aircraft to remain competitive against US manufacturers, such as Boeing.”

An eye on the Horizon

After testing the new landing gear design, which was built at half-scale, Bennett and his team will now make the equipment and underside of the GRA aircraft at full-scale as a main component of project ARTIC. They will put the combined model through its paces in the largest wind tunnel in Europe (DNW-LLF), which is 20m high and located in Holland.

“Testing such a design at this scale has never been done before in Europe and the EU aviation industry is eagerly awaiting our results,” added Dr John Kennedy, research fellow in Bennett’s group, and a senior technical manager working on each of these projects.

“It is very exciting to be part of this project, which I’m sure will make a huge contribution to improving the sustainability of air transportation in the coming years.

“Alenia Aermacchi are extremely pleased with Trinity’s capacity to co-ordinate these large-scale projects and have already indicated that they would like us to engage with Clean Sky 2, which is due to start at the end of the year and which is part of Horizon 2020.”

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New research suggests rubber bands could monitor health issues

Ordinary rubber bands could be transformed into wearable sensors for monitoring blood pressure, joint movement and blood glucose, as a result of a discovery by researchers at the AMBER materials science centre and Trinity College, Dublin.

The method involves adding graphene to the rubber bands, the first time this has ever been successfully achieved anywhere in the world.

Dubbed a wonder material, graphene is made from a single flat layer of carbon atoms.

It is super strong, flexible and conductive, and scientists believe it will in future be used to make all sorts of products, from flexible mobile phones to lighter aeroplanes.

But scientists at the AMBER materials science centre and the School of Physics at Trinity College Dublin have found another use.

In a paper published in the journal ACS Nano, they describe how adding graphene to shop-bought rubber bands, can transform them into wearable sensors.

The world first technique makes the rubber conduct electricity, without degrading its mechanical properties.

As the stretching of the bands strongly effects the flow of electrical current, the bands can sense tiny movements, like a pulse when attached to clothing for example.

The scientists say the discovery will lead to multiple uses in areas like healthcare, the automotive industry and robotics.

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AMBER reseachers discover ‘revolutionary’ material for ICT

A team of researchers from the AMBER centre at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) are behind the discovery of a new magnetic material they claim will revolutionise the ICT sector.

The material is made from an alloy of three metals, manganese, ruthenium and gallium (MRG), and is reportedly as strong as the strongest magnets available in the world today. However, it has the characteristic of not appearing magnetic at all to the untrained eye.

Known technically as ‘zero-moment half metal’, the material could potentially spawn a completely new line of materials research and open up numerous possibilities for electronics and information technology.

Led by Prof Michael Coey, the AMBERteam said MRG has incredible potential and could lead to the possibility of limitless data storage, resulting in huge, superfast memory in personal computer devices. It could also eliminate the potential of external magnetic forces to ‘wipe’ computer data.

For 25 years, researchers worldwide have grappled with how to create a magnet such as MRG by trying to arrange numerous combinations of atoms in a way which was difficult without flouting the basic principles of physics.

The AMBER research team claims to have solved this problem by using established industry-standard processes for making the electronic circuits on silicon chips, making it relatively easy for MRG to be adopted by computer and electronics companies.

Commenting on the discovery and its potential to lead a ‘big data revolution’, Coey said, “Magnetic materials are what make reading and storing data – either on personal devices or on large-scale servers in data centres – possible. Magnets are at the heart of every electronic device we use, from computers and laptops to tablets, smartphones and digital cameras.

“Given its unique insensitivity to magnetic fields, and the tenacity of its internal magnetic properties, MRG could now revolutionise how data is stored, which could have major implications for the future development of electronics, information technology and a host of other applications.”

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