World Class Infrastructure

Overview

The facilities within AMBER offer an integrated infrastructure, equipment, and human capital platform offering advanced instrumentation and expertise to academic researchers and industry partners. Facilities such as the Advanced Microscopy Laboratory (AML), cleanroom and scanning probe microscopes are managed by technical specialists and can be accessed by researchers from a wide variety of academic backgrounds, as well as a broad range of industry sectors, from SMEs to bluechip multi-nationals, across a range of sectors including ICT, manufacturing and medical devices.

For initial enquiries about industry or academic access to facilities, please contact Cathal McAuley at mcaulec@tcd.ie.




Microscopy

The Advanced Microscopy Laboratory (AML) is part of the CRANN Institute and is a custom designed, 6,000 square foot facility, located in the Trinity Technology and Enterprise Campus. The AML contains a suite of instruments that covers the entire resolution range from transmission electron microscopy, electron energy loss and energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopies with spatial resolution up to the atomic scale, to scanning electron and ion beam microscopes for surface imaging and analysis. Many of these microscopy techniques not only support analysis but also can be used for fabrication purposes in the nanoscale range. All of these techniques are managed by a dedicated team of highly trained staff with many years of academic and industrial experience, who can advise on the most appropriate method.

The equipment suite includes our new (Apr 2016) atomic resolution Nion UltraSTEM200 microscope, which was funded by Science Foundation Ireland. This is the most powerful microscope in Ireland.

The AML has an open-access policy and is available for variable rates to academic and industrial users, both nationally and internationally.

Download our microscopy brochure here

Cleanroom

The cleanroom located within the CRANN Institute is equipped to produce device structures on wafers up to 150mm in diameter. The specification is from class 100 in the lithography area to class 10000 in the metrology and deposition areas. The following tools are available in the cleanroom:

OAI UV lithography mask aligner and nanoimprint module for the creation of 1 to 2 micron feature size on various resists and polymers.

A Heidelberg laser mask writer, which has 0.6 micron resolution. This tool can also be used to direct write a pattern to a substrate.

The Temescal and Edwards Auto 500 ebeam and thermal evaporators used for multi-stack thin film depositions of metal and dielectric materials.

Magnetic alloy, oxide, and multi-layer stacks are deposited in a multi-chamber sputter tool, which also incorporates a chamber for e-beam evaporation.

Wet etching is carried out in a dedicated wet station equipped with buffered hydrofluoric acid and hot orthophosphoric acid baths. This provides a capability for wet etching Silicon dioxide and Silicon Nitride.

A Oxford Instruments Plasmalab 100 Inductively Coupled Plasma etch system. This tool has the capability of etching Silicon, Silicon Dioxide, Silicon Nitride and carbon based materials.

A nanospec is available to measure film thickness, while a Dektak profilometer can be used to measure step height.

Photonics

The Photonics lab within the CRANN Institute houses a state of the art, highly versatile, laser system, the most advanced in Ireland. It combines unique femtosecond laser systems with different repetition rates and tunability from UV to mid-IR, a Raman Spectroscope, Scanning Near-field Optical Microscope and a Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging Microscope. The Ultrafast femtosecond Laser System provides an understanding of fast photodynamic processes in physics, chemistry and biology. It support s many techniques, such as Z-scan, Pump-probe and femtosecond laser ablation & deposition.

Bioengineering

AMBER brings together expertise in Bioengineering from both the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering and RCSI.

Established in 2002, the Trinity Centre for Bioengineering (TCBE) brings together scientists, engineers and clinicians from a number of Dublin universities (TCD, RCSI, DCU and UCD) and teaching hospitals to conduct cutting-edge research, translatable to clinical applications. Investigators from the Centre work across five different research themes - regenerative medicine, biomaterials, cardiovascular, musculoskeletal and neural engineering. The centre currently has 20 Principal investigators working with 16 postdoctoral researchers, 50 PhD and 29 MSc students. Some of our core facilities include specialist labs for cell and tissue culture, mechanical testing, biomaterials development, biochemical assays, micro computed topography (microCT), microscopy and imaging, impact biomechanics, medical device design and surgical facilities. Expertise within the centre includes (1) the development of a variety of natural and synthetic biomaterials, (2) incorporation of therapeutic agents such as drugs and genes into these materials, (3) computational modelling of cells, tissues and biomaterials, (4) neural signal processing, (5) designing devices for clinical applications and (6) conducting pre-clinical testing.

The Tissue Engineering Research Group (TERG) at RCSI utilises cell and biomaterials-based technologies to restore the structural and functional properties of damaged or degenerated tissues, including collagen-based scaffolds designed for specific clinical applications in bone, osteochondral, corneal, vascular, heart valve, and lung & airway repair. These scaffolds also form the foundation for targeted bio-therapeutic delivery platforms through the incorporation of drugs, proteins, peptides, genes and microRNA, or novel non-viral delivery vectors such as nano-hydroxyapatite, chitosan and PEI. These vectors can also be used independent of scaffolds to enhance gene or microRNA delivery to cells. Facilities and equipment at TERG include those standard for tissue culture (including custom bioreactors and a hypoxia chamber), scaffold fabrication and sterilization (freeze-dryers and vacuum oven), tissue processing and histological staining (including a microtome and cryostat), mechanical testing (rheometer and a Zwick Z05), and molecular biology analysis (including real time RT-PCR, FACS and a plate reader). Equipment for drug-delivery material fabrication and characterization include dynamic light scattering (DLS) for nano- & microscale particles (with pH titration available), high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), differential scanning calorimetry (DSC) , and circular dichroism (CD) spectroscopy. Small-animal housing and surgical facilities for in vivo experiments include an IVIS Spectrum imaging system.