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Group Members

Dr. Tony Donnelly

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Dr. Tony Donnelly is a postdoctoral researcher in the Photonics research group in the School of Physics and CRANN since Feb 2013. He is currently the principal investigator on the SFI funded Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) Nanoparticle production by laser ablation in a gas flow. His general research interests are in laser and plasma processing of novel materials as well as characterisation of laser and plasma based light sources.


Tony received his PhD from the School of Physics, TCD in 2010 for a thesis titled Plume dynamics in nanosecond and femtosecond laser ablation of metals. This research project characterised the plume of material that is removed during high intensity pulsed laser irradiation of metals for application in the size controlled synthesis of metal nanoparticles. During his PhD Tony undertook research visits to the University of Naples, Italy, the Paul Scherrer Institute, Switzerland and the University of Southampton, UK.

After his PhD Tony joined the Atomic, Molecular and Plasma Physics (Spectroscopy) group (2009 - 2012) in the School of Physics, UCD where he worked on the characterisation of laser produced plasma based EUV light sources which will be used in next generation semiconductor lithography processes. During his time at UCD Tony also worked on the development of a sub ns time resolved EUV/X-ray spectroscopy diagnostic using fast decay phosphor materials as well as developing a novel CO2 laser pulse shortening technique based on a plasma shutter. During this time Tony also undertook a 6 month Marie-Curie research secondment to EPPRA SAS, a French R&D company outside Paris, as part of the EU FP7 project FIRE. Here, Tony worked on a micro-capillary discharge plasma setup as well as atomic data generation for plasma hydrocode simulations.

In 2013 Tony returned to the School of Physics in TCD to investigate laser ablation and in background gases as a potential route to an industrial, laser based process for production of nanomaterials in large quantities. His current work is focused on producing platinum group metal nano-catalysts for fuel cell and other applications using laser ablation in background gases. He is also carrying out some early stage work in laser ablation doping of 2D materials as well as building an electrostatic analyser for charge resolved ion diagnosis during pulsed laser ablation.

Capabilities and expertise

  • High intensity ns and fs laser ablation of materials in vacuum and background gases.
  • Time and space resolved Visible/UV/EUV plasma spectroscopy.
  • Time gated iCCD photography.
  • Charged particle diagnostics: Langmuir ion probe and Electrostatic analyser.
  • Plasma spectral simulations: PrismSPECT and FLYCHK plasma spectral codes.
  • Nanoparticle and thin film deposition using ns and fs pulsed laser deposition (PLD).
  • Electron microscopy and thin film/nano material characterisation.
  • Laser ablation doping of 2D materials.
  • Research commercialisation.

Research funding/projects obtained to date

  • Science Foundation Ireland Technology Innovation and Development Award, Nanoparticle synthesis during pulsed laser ablation in a gas flow (2014)
  • Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation feasibility grant, APLD – Atmospheric Pulsed Laser Deposition (2013)
  • Enterprise Ireland Commercialisation feasibility grant, SPLISA- Short Pulse Lasers for Industry and Science (2012)
  • Tyndall National Access program (NAP) award, ZnO as an ultrafast EUV detector (2010)


  • Tutor - PY2011 Current Electricity

Selected Publications

Nanoparticle plume dynamics in femtosecond laser ablation of gold, G. O’Connell, T. Donnelly and J. G. Lunney, Appl. Phys. A, 117, 289-293 (2014)

Laser produced plasma for efficient extreme ultraviolet light sources, T. Donnelly, T. Cummins, C. O’Gorman, B. Li, C.S. Harte, F. O’Reilly, E. Sokell, P. Dunne and G. O’Sullivan, AIP Conf. Proc., 1438, pp. 155-160 (2012)

Plasma Shutter WO2012062622 (Patent application - PCT 2012), T. Cummins, T. Donnelly, M. Mazoyer, F. O’Reilly

Dynamics of the plumes produced by ultrafast laser ablation of metals, T. Donnelly, J.G. Lunney, S. Amoruso, X. Wang, R. Bruzzese, X. Ni, J. Appl. Phys., 108, 013304 (2010)

Double pulse ultrafast laser ablation of nickel in vacuum, T. Donnelly, J.G. Lunney, S. Amoruso, X. Wang, R. Bruzzese, X. Ni, J. Appl. Phys., 106, 013304 (2009)

Optical absorption in early stage low temperature laser produced plasma, T. Donnelly and J.G. Lunney, Appl. Phys. A, 92, 4, (2008) 951-955

Pulsed laser deposition of nanostructured Ag films, T. Donnelly, B. Doggett and J. G. Lunney, Appl. Surf. Sci., 252, 13, (2006) 4445-4448