In this section, you can find brief descriptions of some of CAPPA’s currently funded, longer term research projects. Core funding for CAPPA is based around the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway and Dr. Huyet’s SFI Principal Investigator grants. A diverse portfolio of grants from a range of national and international funding sources then leverages these core projects. Some of the larger projects have separate pages accessible from the menu on the left, while major projects which have now completed are listed on the Past Projects page.

CAPPA Technology Gateway

Funding Agency Enterprise Ireland Programme Technology Gateways

The CAPPA Technology Gateway is one of a network of 15 gateways funded by Enterprise Ireland, and serves as the portal for industry partners to access the capabilities of CAPPA (refer to the Innovation for Industry section). It builds on the previous success of the CAPPA Applied Research Enhancement centre, also funded by Enterprise Ireland from 2007-2012. It is one of two Technology Gateways hosted by CIT, together with the Technologies for Embedded Computing (TEC) Gateway. Read more about the Technology Gateway in the ‘About CAPPA’ section.

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Frequency Combs Generated by Semiconductor Lasers for Metrology and Telecommunications

Funding Agency Science Foundation Ireland Programme Principal Investigator Award

This SFI funded Principal Investigator (PI) grant is Dr. Guillaume Huyet’s third consecutive PI award. SFI’s PI programme aims to fund internationally recognised world-class research, as well as provide training opportunities for students and postdoctoral researchers through state-of-the-art research opportunities with world-class researchers and teams.

The focus of Dr. Huyet’s current grant is the study of Frequency Combs generated by semiconductor lasers. Lasers are widely used as a remote measurement tool of high precision; this is commonly seen for example in levelling tools on construction sites, or speed traps on major roads. These tools operate on a scale of millimetres, but the laser can go far beyond this level of precision; to the sub-micrometer level. One recent advance in laser physics and technology is the creation of swept-source lasers. Typical lasers have a very precisely defined colour; in swept-sources, the colour is precisely defined, but it continually changes, in a known and controlled fashion. This sweeping nature allows the interrogation of sub-surface structures in important media, for example human tissue. These novel sources however require the creation of new theoretical and characterisation tools and this has been the focus of the project work.

Two new models have been created, one for very short sweeping lasers that can fit in one’s hand, the second for extremely long sweeping lasers, which require several tens of kilometres of optical fibre to form a cavity. For both laser types we have carried out detailed experimental measurements and achieved excellent alignment between our models and our experiments. We have also begun to stabilise the laser emission through the addition of optical filters within the laser cavity and the injection of light from external lasers.

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Funding Agency Higher Education Authority Programme PRTLI Cycle 5

The Centre for Advanced Therapeutic Engineering (CREATE) is a start-of-the-art research building funded by the Higher Education Authority (HEA) through Cycle 5 of the Programme for Research in Third Level Institutions (PRTLI). It is situated on the main Bishopstown campus of CIT, and includes two of CAPPA’s labs as well as office space.


The CREATE building on the CIT campus.

The concept of CREATE is to assemble a multidisciplinary collaborative research team in the same state-of-the-art building, combining the three areas of biosciences, biomedical technologies and advanced bio-imaging to drive research in Advanced Therapeutic Engineering. CREATE’s three complementary research strands come from two of the Institute’s Strategic Research Clusters (SRC’s) and provide convergence on translational health research across the spectrum from patient care to product development. Bio-molecule discovery involves peptide analysis & engineering including bio-informatics & molecular diagnostics, focusing on therapeutic applications in infectious disease, gut health and cancer. Biomedical engineering concentrates on implant technology platforms, including SMART surgical devices, post-operative rehabilitation and biomaterials for in-vivo therapy and regeneration, partnering with clinicians and industry. Advanced imaging focuses on developing new devices for optical imaging applications in biomedical and process analysis in partnership with industry and academia.

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Ultrashort pulse generation in InAs quantum dots

Funding Agency Science Foundation Ireland Programme Starting Investigator Research Grant

Ian O'Driscoll

Dr. Ian O’Driscoll was awarded an SFI Starting Investigator Research Grant to work with CAPPA, and joined the group in August 2012. The grant funds Dr. O’Driscoll and his Ph.D. student, Patrick Finch. The project uses semiconductor quantum dots in order to achieve extremely short optical pulses at room temperature. Such pulses find use in high bit rate optical communications, wave division multiplexing, microscopy, multi-photon imaging and nano surgery. The pulses are created using a technique known as ‘passive mode locking’ where an absorber section within a lasing cavity helps to create pulses and the time between pulses is controlled by the cavity length.

A key requirement for the generation of short pulses is a wide gain spectrum and quantum dots are ideal due to their large inhomogeneous distribution of dot sizes. In theory, a 1.3μm quantum dot laser, with a gain bandwidth of 50 nm, could produce mode locked pulses of just 50 fs. In practice, sub-picosecond pulse widths using two-section quantum dot lasers are rare. The reason is as follows: the true limitation is the width of the useable gain spectrum; at room temperature there is a thermally-induced exchange of carriers between the dots, so they are not operating independently of each other. If the dots were to act as independent oscillators, it would allow access to the full gain bandwidth and thus unlock the true potential of quantum dot lasers for ultra-short pulse generation.

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Femtojoule-per-bit Communications with Nanopillar Lasers on Si

Funding Agency Science Foundation Ireland / NSF / Invest NI Programme US-Ireland R&D Partnership Programme

The US-Ireland R&D Programme is a joint funding initiative by funding agencies across three jurisdictions, in the Republic of Ireland (SFI), Northern Ireland (Invest NI) and the USA (NSF/NIH). Projects involve partners in each of the three countries, and the respective agencies fund the researchers based in their jurisdiction. This project involves CAPPA, Queen’s University Belfast, and the University of California Los Angeles.

In the past decade, an incredible growth in the field of silicon photonics has taken place. Many groups, both academic and industrial, have devoted considerable time towards optical interconnects, crucial pieces of equipment in modern communications systems. This project aims to produce devices using extremely small pillars of semiconductor material – so-called nanopillars – that can operate on extremely low, “femtojoule per bit” energy levels, a central aim of the current integrated photonics community.

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