Press Release

AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland funded materials science centre based at Trinity College Dublin is hosting a major international conference which brings 20 of the world’s top scientists to Dublin. The three-day conference, which runs from 9-11 July at Trinity College Dublin, will focus on the 2-dimensional nano-materials of the future and their potential to transform energy and computer technology.

Researchers from China, Israel, Singapore and USA will be among the attendees who will give keynote speeches and participate in workshops and panel discussions. Topics include the synthesis of new 2D materials for both research and industrial uses and applications of nano-materials in energy generation, electronics, optics and composites such as stronger but lighter plastic materials.

Special guest Professor Andrea Ferrari, Chairman of the Executive Board for the Graphene Flagship will be speaking at the conference. The Graphene Flagship is a €1 billion project set up by the European Commission to examine the future potentially life-changing application of graphene. It is suggested that graphene – a single sheet of atoms - could transform every material that we use.

Organisers of the event include three AMBER researchers who are participating in the EU Graphene Flagship - Professor Jonathan Coleman, who recently discovered how to produce graphene on an industrial scale – a world first –; Professor Valeria Nicolosi, an eminent physicist who joined AMBER from Oxford to further her materials science research and Prof Georg Duesberg, a graphene specialist capable of growing large defect-free graphene flakes.

Commenting, Professor Coleman said, “Ireland is considered a leading nation when it comes to materials science – we are 8th in the world, which is a significant ranking. This conference aims to bring together the leading international scientists in this area, to examine and discuss the opportunities for, and the challenges facing, materials science”.

Professor Valeria Nicolosi said, “Graphene has been identified as a game-changer in materials science and its potential use in industry – particularly energy and ICT - could be transformative. Flatlands offers a platform to debate and examine other similar 2D materials and their potential with our international counterparts – a hugely important element of scientific endeavour.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of Science Foundation Ireland and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Irish Government said, “Ireland is leading the international discussion on materials science by hosting Flatlands. It will provide excellent networking opportunities, which are important as Ireland grows its links with our international counterparts. The science ecosystem is no longer confined to Ireland and growing links with European and worldwide researchers is key, particularly as Irish researchers compete for funding through Horizon 2020.”

Flatlands runs from 9-11 July at Trinity College Dublin. For further information, see

Press Release

AMBER, the materials science centre based at Trinity College Dublin today announced a free Science of Sport event, to take place at Trinity College on Tuesday July 8th.

The free public event will include a panel discussion on the overlap between science and sport. It will focus on how science influences everything from injury prevention, tactics, performance analysis, equipment, clothing and stadia.

The panel discussion with MC - Newstalk sports journalist Nathan Murphy – will consist of:
- The Art and Science of Chi Running - Former Olympian and Chi Running Enthusiast; Catherina McKiernan
- Materials science and sport - Everything from football jerseys and the design of footballs to golf clubs and stadium design – Prof Shane Bergin, Trinity College Dublin
- World Cup 2014 – Key statistics– Andy McGeady, Sports Analyst
- Science and sports injuries - How tissue engineering will reduce the need for complex surgery – Prof Conor Buckley, Trinity College Dublin.

Mergon Healthcare, one of AMBER’s industry partners, have provided flame retardant, UV and water resistant seating in the Maracana Stadium in Rio de Janeiro. Mergon have manufactured the seating, using materials science research methods – Mergon will display their Maracana seating at the event.

Commenting, Mary Colclough, Communications, Outreach & Public Affairs Manager at AMBER said,

“The overlap between all areas of sports and science is significant and is something that we, at AMBER, want to celebrate as part of the World Cup. We are looking forward to a really fun evening, with some interesting World Cup analysis and statistics and a look at how science influences everything from the pitch the football is being played on, to how the players strike the ball. We’ll also be looking at golf, swimming, athletics and running for those non-football fans!”

The Science of Sport event takes place Tuesday, 8th July at 6pm at the Global Room in Trinity College Dublin. Tickets are available at . The panel discussion will be followed by a screening of the World Cup Semi Final on a large screen, and there will be prizes on the night.

Press Release

Scientists at AMBER, the materials science centre based at Trinity College Dublin have discovered a completely new material, which could revolutionise information technology, computer processes and data storage.

The world-first discovery was led by one of Ireland’s most highly-cited researchers Professor Michael Coey, a Principal Investigator at AMBER from Trinity’s School of Physics. The Centre is funded by the Department of Jobs, Enterprise and Innovation through Science Foundation Ireland.

The research group led by Prof. Coey has created a completely new alloy of manganese, ruthenium and gallium, known as MRG. MRG is a strange new magnet; internally it is as magnetic as the strongest magnets available today, yet seen from the outside it barely appears magnetic at all. This world-first material (technically known as a “zero-moment half metal”) will initiate a completely new line of materials research and could open up numerous possibilities for electronics and information technology.

The potential applications of MRG are many. It could lead to 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. Finally, MRG could have major implications for the Big Data revolution.

Commenting on the discovery, Michael 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.”

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. Now, AMBER researchers have solved this problem, by using established industry-standard processes for making the electronic circuits on silicon chips. MRG could therefore be adopted by computer and electronics companies relatively easily.

Minister for Research and Innovation Seán Sherlock TD welcomed the announcement and said, “Here is a Government-funded research centre discovering innovative solutions to problems faced by the technology industry. I would like to praise the work of Prof. Coey and his team on this world first which opens up a range of potential applications in the electronics and information technology sectors.”

Professor Mark Ferguson, Director General of SFI and Chief Scientific Adviser to the Government of Ireland said, “SFI Research Centres like AMBER, were established with a focus on delivering cutting edge, internationally excellent research, which will deliver real benefit to the economy and to industry. This discovery absolutely fits the bill and I congratulate Professor Coey and his team. Their discovery is a world first which could solve one of the major problems faced by the technology industry worldwide. This is the type of research which Ireland is, and will continue to be recognised for.”

AMBER Develops NanoWOW Course for Primary School Teachers

NanoWow helps teachers to present nanoscience and materials scienceto children in a fun, interactive way

AMBER, the Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) funded centre based at Trinity College Dublin today launched a new summer training course in nanoscience and materials for Primary school teachers.

The course, which runs from 7th – 11th July, is Department of Education-accredited and will take place in AMBER in association with the School of Education, Trinity. It is created to help primary school teachers to teach nano and materials science to 5th and 6th class students and will focus on a number of key areas including:

- Nature of science and science teaching pedagogy;

- Developing creative science investigation in the primary classroom;

- Enquiry based approaches to science teaching in primary classrooms;

- Hands on practical activities for the classroom;

- ICT and pupil learning;

- Assessing, evaluating and reflecting upon science activities;

- Literacy, numeracy and cross-curricular links in science teaching.

Participants on the course will be introduced to the world of nano and materials science through a range of engaging formats including practical workshops, site visits, Q&A sessions and lectures from leading researchers and science communicators. There will also be visits to Royal College of Surgeons Ireland, the Advanced Microscopy Laboratory, the Materials Ireland research centre and Science Gallery’s Make Shop.

Commenting, Mary Colclough, Communications, Outreach and Public Affairs Manager at AMBER said, “AMBER is focused on engaging with teachers to help them deliver the STEM message to students. To date we have created Nano in My Life for use in Transition Year and for primary teachers, we’ve distributed the NanoWOW resource pack. This new NanoWOW primary teachers’ course allows us to build on our work to date, to really engage teachers with nano and materials science and to help them encourage students to think like scientists.NanoWOW aims to demonstrate to students how science influences everything we do and is an exciting sector to be involved in. It helps teachers to deliver that message in a fun, interactive and entertaining way. We’ve had a great response to this course, and we hope to deliver it more regularly into the future.”

A number of places remain open on the course. For further information please contact AMBER at +353 (0) 1 8963022