AMBER has driven considerable investment in infrastructure, particularly in the areas of advanced microscopy, thin film deposition and additive manufacturing. These are located at Trinity and are maintained and further developed by a team of specialized technical staff. These critical capabilities associated with the fabrication and characterization of advanced materials ensure that Ireland remains at the forefront of world-class research.

AMBER offers our industry partners access to a large hub of the latest R&D infrastructure across our partner universities including Trinity College Dublin and the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland.

We have skilled technical specialists with industrial and scientific backgrounds to support the research programmes. Our industry partners can either place their own staff directly on site to undertake the research or can assign our specialist staff to complete the work.

We have world-class equipment in the areas of advanced materials and characterisation, bioengineering, photonics, polymer processing and microscopy.

Advanced Microscopy laboratory

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 AML has an open-access policy and is available for variable rates to academic and industrial users, both nationally and internationally. We are committed to driving internationally competitive materials science research which will benefit the economy and society in Ireland and beyond.

Additive Research Laboratory

This purpose built suite of 3D printing technology spans the full spectrum of materials from ceramics and metals to polymers and biomaterials. Facilities include stereolithography, selective laser melting tools and nano ink-jet printers. The AR-Lab is a pivotal component of AMBER’s research focussed on the fundamental material science challenges associated with 3D printing. We have invested in a purpose-built suite of 3D printing technology which spans the full spectrum of materials from ceramics and metals to polymers and biomaterials. This investment will play a leading role in the emerging 3D printing national research ecosystem. It is enabling AMBER to build on our foundation of research excellence in materials science to become leaders in this emerging technology which is critical to a variety of sectors within Ireland and worldwide, in medical devices, manufacturing and information technologies. We work with AMBER collaborators to utilize these exciting technologies to drive next generation material sets for additive manufacturing with leading universities and research centres.

Polymer Processing Lab

We have dedicated capability for the characterisation, design, blending, and prototyping of polymers, often enhanced with nano-materials. We can test the electrical/mechanical properties of these materials and have capability such as electro-spinning to aid with scale-up.

Photonics Lab

We have a variety of near field, far field, and ultra-fast systems [UV-IR] for studying the light /matter interaction and researching topics such as surface plasmon effects and near field optics. 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.

Clean-Room Facilities

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.

Tissue Engineering Research Group, RCSI

Facilities and equipment at the TERG include tissue culture, scaffold fabrication and sterilisation, tissue processing and histological staining, mechanical testing, and molecular biology analysis. There is also equipment for drug-delivery material fabrication and characterisation. he 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.

Trinity Centre For Bioengineering

Expertise here includes the development of a variety of natural and synthetic biomaterials, incorporation of therapeutic agents such as drugs and genes into these materials, computational modelling of cells, tissues and biomaterials, neural signal processing, designing devices for clinical applications and conducting pre-clinical testing. 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. 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.

Key Contacts

Collaborate with AMBER

AMBER has a strong emphasis on collaboration. Central to AMBER’s research remit are collaborative projects performed with industry partners, and working with academic, industry and wider stakeholder on international and national research programmes.

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