The Centre for Advanced Photonics and Process Analysis (CAPPA) is delighted to announce the centre has received over €140,000 worth of funding for new equipment through the Enterprise Ireland Capital Equipment Fund. The Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Leo Varadkar TD, announced the 32 successful applicants of the Capital Equipment Fund administered by Enterprise Ireland through the Technology Gateway and Technology Centre Capital. CAPPA will purchase a scientific grade InfraRed (IR) thermography camera. The purpose of this fund is to increase interaction between the Technology Gateways and Technology Centres with industry in Ireland. The Capital Equipment Fund will enable more companies to engage in research and development and enhance the service offering to industry for each of the centres. CAPPA received this funding under the second stream of the capital equipment call, which focuses on new and emerging technologies that are of interest to industry. The successful applications were selected by a rigorous evaluation process based on the eligibility criteria for the call, which included a strong track record of industry engagement and all applications, were reviewed by a panel that included external independent experts.

CAPPA acquired equipment funding for a scientific grade InfraRed (IR) thermography camera. The camera is capable of capturing images of the temperature of object surfaces from afar, creating what are known as thermogram images. The camera will have a resolution of below 0.02 °C and will measure temperatures between – 30 °C to 1500 °C. Sample industries which regularly employ thermal cameras for non-destructive diagnostics are; Electronic/Electrical (e.g. imaging hotspots in integrated circuits), Chemical (e.g. imaging heat flow in reactions), Plastics (e.g. imaging injection moulding), Automotive (e.g. assessing joints and welds), Energy (e.g. testing solar cells), Steel (e.g. steel and slag monitoring), safety (e.g. early fire detection) and Health (e.g. body temperature anomalies).

CAPPA plan to create more applications for the camera, by pairing it with MIR laser and LED sources, creating MIR chemical sensors. The strong interaction of MIR light with molecules has resulted in the MIR to be known as the molecular fingerprint region, as slight changes in molecular structure can result in significant changes in the fingerprint, and subsequently, the region is a powerful tool for determining the chemical composition of samples. The MIR is a fast-evolving market, with light sources covering far more of the IR, with decreasing cost, coming available habitually. While the evolution in the sensing market has mainly been in gas sensing, we believe the same evolution is expected in the chemical imaging sector. CAPPA will provide MIR chemical imaging capabilities, not yet available in the commercial market, to Irish industry, shaping companies for the near future chemical imagining systems.

This new piece of equipment will extend the existing service offering at CAPPA. The new equipment will enable CAPPA to increase its engagement with companies in the pharmaceutical, medical device, photonics, and food and beverage sectors and will provide a modernized offering to their current industry partners. It will also allow for the development and execution of fundamental research on which future applied and industrially led projects will be built.

This was the second Capital Equipment Call awarded in 2021. The previous call, the outcome of which was announced in July 2021, focused on equipment that has a well-establishing industrial need and is commonly used for specific applications. CAPPA received funding for a benchtop UV Raman and a benchtop nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectrometer in the previous call. You can learn more about previous capital equipment calls here and more about the research and facilities available at CAPPA here.