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CRANN Centre for Research on Adaptive Nanostructures and Nanodevices

CRANN is recognised internationally as a leading institute for nanoscience research. The institute works across the research spectrum from the development of new nanomaterials with improved mechanical, magnetic, electrical or optical properties and their subsequent application in electronic or medical devices, sensors, or new drug delivery systems.

CRANN was established in 2003 by Principal Investigators (PIs) from the Schools of Physics and Chemistry at Trinity College Dublin (TCD) in partnership with University College Cork (UCC). Since then, CRANN has developed from that small cluster of PIs into a national leading and internationally competitive research institute with 17 PIs based across multiple disciplines including Physics, Chemistry, Medicine, Engineering and Pharmacology, and a total of 250 researchers. CRANN was funded predominately by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), in partnership with the universities and industry, and was formed to harness the cross disciplinary nanoscience research of individual PIs to deliver world leading research outputs and to enable CRANN researchers to address key industry challenges.

Nanotechnology is a key enabling technology which underpins the ICT, medical device, and pharmaceutical sectors and hence is critical to Ireland. At present it is estimated that 10% - about €15B - of Irelands annual exports are associated with nanotechnology and that there are in excess of 150,000 employees working in companies in which nanotechnology plays an important enabling role.


CRANN has two state-of-the art buildings both custom designed and constructed for the purpose of leading edge nanoscience research. The Naughton Institute is a 6000m2 research facility on the campus of Trinity College Dublin. It has unique architectural features which enable ultra low vibration measurement within its basement laboratories. The CRANN Advanced Microscopy Laboratory (AML) is a five minute walk from the TCD campus and houses Ireland's most advanced microscopy instrumentation and a range of tools for focused ion beam, e-beam and scanning electron microscopy characterisation. This facility enables Ireland to compete internationally for the first time in terms of microscopy capability.

Leading research

CRANN has had an exceptional 2009 publishing in excess of one hundred papers in international peer review journals. Importantly a significant number of these papers are in high impact journals including Nature, Nature Nanotechnology and Nature Materials. CRANN has active research relations with more than 150 research institutions in numerous countries across the world and is the primary driver in Ireland's global ranking of sixth in terms of both the quality of its publications and the volume output per capita. Much of the research, in addition to providing fundamental scientific insights, is also filed as intellectual property. In 2009 CRANN filed 14 invention disclosure and 14 patent applications.

Industry interaction

A significant part of CRANN's focus is ensuring that the research expertise and facilities developed within the Institute is applied to the benefit of industry. CRANN carries out collaborative research programmes with 30 companies, from small indigenous companies to large multinationals e.g. Intel, Hewlett-Packard. CRANN, in partnership with the Tyndall National Institute, also co-hosts the newly established Competence Centre for Applied Nanotechnology. This is a new initiative to enable research provider organisations to partner on an industry defined research programme.

CRANN Website