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Trinity College Dublin, The University of Dublin

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Photonics is the subject of the generation and the use of light. It is a relatively new field of research and is set to become a key technology for the 21st Century. It combines the power of laser light, optical fibres and waveguide structures and is set to revolutionise optical telecommunications and nanotechnology.

Theoretically the Photonics theme is supported by evaluating the behaviour of interacting photons and electrons in nanostructures, including semiconductor microcavities, quantum wells, quantum dots, and low-dimensional electron gases, as well as in related phenomena in quantum and classical optics. Our research focuses on new material systems and devices primarily for lighting, photovoltaic sensing and telecommunications applications and on the physics of photonic structures such as microcavity structures for single quantum dot emission; CdTe nanocrystals and nanowires as novel single photon emitters.

At Trinity we are carrying out research into the concepts that underpin photonics, the materials of the future and novel applications. We focus on:

Optical Theory

  • Optical manipulation of many-particle states in semiconductor quantum wells
  • Quantum Hall Bilayers
  • Semiconductor microcavities, Bose-Einstein condensation of polaritons and excitons, unconventional lasing

Laser & Plasma Applications

  • Physics of pulsed laser ablation with nanosecond and femtosecond lasers
  • Pulsed laser deposition (PLD) of metal nanoparticle thin films for optical applications
  • Development of PLD in gas at atmospheric pressure
  • Fast electrical discharges in laser produced plasmas
  • Applications of atmospheric plasma in PLD and surface treatment


The Photonics Research Laboratory

The Photonics Research Laboratory is located in CRANN and is a unique ultrafast fs laser laboratory that is used to investigate dynamic processes in materials, and the interactions between lasers and materials, principally in nanoscale materials such as quantum dots. Ultrafast laser systems are useful tools in the understanding of fast photodynamic processes in physics, chemistry and biology. Many techniques, such as time-resolved absorption spectroscopy, time-resolved fluorescence spectroscopy and coherent anti-Stokes Raman spectroscopy, have been developed for these types of investigation. The lab combines unique femtosecond laser systems with different repetition rates and tunability from UV to mid-IR, with a Raman spectroscope, a scanning near-field optical microscope and a fluorescence lifetime imaging microscope. The lab facilitates research related to nonlinear dynamics, nonlinear optics, ultrafast optics, near-field optics and surface plasmon resonance. Femtosecond pump-probe techniques provide information on ultrafast.

Research Groups

Our research groups are listed below: