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Research

The department of Physical Sciences has a long established research activity focusing on a number of key thematic areas: 
  • PHOTONICS TECHNOLOGIES
  • ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY
  • ASTRONOMICAL INSTRUMENTATION AND DATA ANALYSIS
  • ENVIRONMENTAL MONITORING
The department includes the centre for applied photonics and process annalysis (CAPPA) based in the CREATE building on the CIT campus and at the Tyndall National Institute (Lee maltings) complex. 

CAPPA

Innovation for Industry – CAPPA provides photonics solutions to companies in sectors such as photonics, medical devices, food and pharma, on scales from short-term consultancy to multi-year collaborative projects. This is primarily driven through the Enterprise Ireland-funded CAPPA Technology Gateway.

Activities within CAPPA are grouped under Research and Innovation for industry and Advanced Research including training of post-graduate MSc and Doctorate stduents. 

  • Innovation for Industry – CAPPA provides photonics solutions to companies in sectors such as photonics, medical devices, food and pharma, on scales from short-term consultancy to multi-year collaborative projects. This is primarily driven through the Enterprise Ireland-funded CAPPA Technology Gateway.
  • Advanced Research – CAPPA conducts internationally-recognised academic research on topics such as the non-linear dynamics of lasers, ultrafast laser physics, nanophotonics and the understanding of the dynamics of novel semiconductor materials and devices. This is supported by grants from agencies such as SFI, HEA, ERC and the EU. A number of Research activities within CAPPA are led by Department of Physical Sciences academic staff members Dr Willliam Whelan-Curtain and Dr Stehphen Hegarty

Research activities 

Mass Spectrometry Group

The department has a long-established analytical chemistry research group led by Dr Ambrose Furey, with extensive experience and capabilty in the areas of elemental and toxicology analysis using techniques such as seperation chromatography and mass spectrometry. The equipment suite includes HPLC (Ion-trap, ICP) and gas chromatography units with particular expertise in the area of trace element analysis. The group has over 15 years experience in winning research funding from national and international funding bodies, collaborating nationally with bodies such as Teagasc and major international goevrnmental agencies. The group has over over 80 peer reviewed publications in scientific journal as well as several contributions to books and other scientific literature.      

The Mass Spectrometry Group has is internationally recognised for its research activites and was named "Chemical Lab of the Year" at the Irish Laboratory Awards in 2019. Click here for further details. 

Astronomical Instrumentation & Data Analysis Group 

The Astronomical Instrumentation group's activities within the Department of Physical Sciences are led by Dr Josh Reynolds in collaboration with a number of national and international research collaborators, most notably CIT Blackrock Castle Obervatory  and the Smithsonian Institute’s Fred Lawrence Whipple Observatory near Tucson Arizona, as part of the International VERITAS Gamma-ray collaboration. 

 

 
This Whipple Observatory collaboration discovered the Imaging Cherenkov technique in 1988; a technique which has been universally adopted by VHE (Very High Energy) gamma ray astronomy groups worldwide.  VERITAS (The Very Energetic Radiation Imaging Telescope Array System) is a collection of four telescopes which uses this technique to detect astrophysical sources of VHE gamma rays.  These telescopes have a wide range in sensitivity in the VHE energy band with maximum sensitivity from 100 Gev to 10 TeV.  It is operated by 100 scientists in 22 different institutions spread across the US, Canada, Ireland and Germany. VERITAS is a multi-million euro experiment and is funded by the U.S. Department of Energy, the National Science Foundation, the Smithsonian Institution, the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada, and up to recently Science Foundation Ireland (through the Research Frontiers Programme).

 

Gamma-ray astrophysics observes the cosmos at the highest energies offering views of the most extreme environments such as relativistic jets emerging from accretion disks near black holes powering the nuclei of active galaxies, neutron-star powered supernova remnants (plerions) and the remnant shock waves from supernova thought to be the origin of galactic cosmic rays.  Noteworthy detections by the VERITAS group include the discovery of gamma rays from the M81 galaxy and pulsed gamma ray emission from the Crab Nebula pulsar. It is a very active collaboration with 39 publications in peer-reviewed journals between 2012 and 2015. The CIT gamma ray group has the primary role of atmospheric quality monitoring through the use of infrared radiometers and LIDAR as well as participating in the operation and maintenance of the VERITAS array of telescopes.

 

Environmental Monitoring

The Department of Physical Sciences @ CIT plays an important role in Air Quality monitoring on the Bishopstowns Campus as part of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) National Air Quality Index programme. Several air quality monitoring stations, including Ozone, CO2, NO2, SO2 as well as particulate (PM2.5) monitors, are located on the Bishopstown campus and maintained by our departmental staff. 

Particulate monitoring station (above) located on the CIT Bishopstown campus  and associated PM2.5 concentration data (below)

 

Air Quality monotiring units housed at the department (above), measuring NO, SO2, CO2 and O3 levels on CIT's Bishopstown campus. 

The department is involved in a number of international research collaborations to develop next generation sensors for environmental analysis through our CAPPA and Mass Spectrometry research groups. 

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