INSPIRE Programme

INSPIRE: Integrated NanoScience Platform for Ireland - at DCU


INSPIRE - Integrated NanoScience Platform for Ireland - is a national collaborative research project involving 6 Irish Universities, and Dublin and Cork Institutes of Technology. The research programme is funded by the Higher Education Authority through the Programme for Research in Third Level Institute (PRTLI 4 and PRTLI5).

Control of matter at the nanoscale (dimensions sub-100nm) is fundamental to electronics, photonics, "bio-pharma", structural materials and environmental health and safety.  As such, it impacts on a myriad of technologies that are key current and future wealth generators in the Irish economy.

This potential is harnessed by the coordinated National Nanotechnologies Initiative joining CRANN/TCD, CIT, DCU, DIT, NUIG, UCC/Tyndall, UCD and UL in research, graduate education, outreach and technology transfer.  This initiative, involving all Irish institutions with international strengths in nanoscience, photonics and relevant biosciences is designed to enable Ireland to engage in key new interdisciplinary areas.

Ireland has had considerable investment in nanoscience in the past five years.  This investment has led to nanoscience research in Ireland making significant international impact.  Critical to the evolution of the capabilities is a cohesive approach to access to large scale facilities nationally and education and training.  The INSPIRE initiative creates a national integrated nanoscience and nanotechnology activity which will result in building collaborations across the nanoscience community nationally, leveraging existing capabilities and elevating the national activity to be internationally leading. 

Key programme aims include: 

  • Development of shared national nanoscience graduate programmes
  • Creation of a shared infrastructural capability
  • Development of existing linkages to enable new collaborations; locally, regionally and nationally across institutions and across disciplines.

Main elements of the INSPIRE (DCU) project

Photonic Devices for next generation.  The development of optical systems with multi-Terabit capacity presents numerous challenges in the areas of light generation and propabation, non-linear optics, and photonic materials.  In particular, next generation optical networks will require advanced photonic devices for the implementation of high-speed optical data processing networks.

Ultrafast short wavelength sources.   The burgeoning field of Extreme-UV (EUV) optics and photonics is rapidly growing in technological importance.  Critical, impending and future applications will see short wavelength systems move from the laboratory bench to the industrial tool.

Nano-materials growth, characterization and application.  DCU has an established track record in the growth and optical characterization of wide band-gap semiconductor nanostructures, mainly ZnO and CuC1 nanostructures.

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