AMBER lands almost €3m in two major research deals

18 Oct 2016

AMBER is based at Trinity College Dublin. Image Aitormmfoto/Shutterstock

The Advanced Materials and BioEngineering Research (AMBER) group has secured an extension to its Nokia Bell Labs partnership, with one of its researchers funded for a separate 2D materials study.

AMBER’s strategic partnership with Nokia Bell Labs has gained a new lease of life after the latter put forward €1.1m to extend the tie-up for another four years. Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), which is AMBER’s funder, put an additional €1.2m into the deal.

AMBER is located at Trinity College Dublin, where the advanced microscopy lab has played a key role in the Nokia Bell Labs partnership in recent years.

Future Human


This state-of-the-art infrastructure, combined with the open interactions between technical experts from AMBER and Nokia Bell Labs, has greatly supported the joint research partnership.

Prof Michael Morris, AMBER’s director, spoke of his delight at the extension, saying it would help his organisation investigate advanced materials for thermal management in the next generation of communication, thermoelectric and energy storage devices.

Morris said this development could lead to more work for researchers, and even additional funding in the coming years.

“For example, the number of projects that Nokia Bell Labs is working on with AMBER investigators has increased from two to four, requiring an increase in headcount from 2.5 to seven full-time postdoctoral researchers,” he said.

“Six of our investigators work on Nokia Bell Labs projects, and there have been a number of high impact publications arising from the collaborative work. In addition, we are jointly exploring the potential for European funding for further projects.”

Also today (18 October), AMBER researcher Dr Niall McEvoy has received a grant of €500,000 (over four years) through a separate SFI project.

McEvoy’s research will focus on one family of 2D materials, known as transition metal dichalcogenides (TMDs). Due to their extraordinary properties, TMDs offer exciting opportunities in the fabrication of novel devices and device components, which is relevant for applications in ICT and energy industries.

McEvoy’s mentor Prof Georg Duesberg said he was “delighted” with the news, adding that it’s a great opportunity to further Niall’s work on producing stacks of different TMDs, with different properties.

“This is of particular interest to companies in the ICT industry, who may be able to use them to enhance the performance of devices,” he said.

That’s in relation to a recently published paper that the duo worked on, which demonstrated the potential of one type of TMD – platinum diselenide – to be used by the ICT industry.

“While a range of 2D materials are ultra-thin, flexible, and conductive, making them highly promising for future technologies, the pace of material development is somewhat of a hindrance to practical implementation. We see real opportunity with the production method Niall will employ to develop TMDs.”

AMBER is based at Trinity College Dublin. Image: Aitormmfoto/Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic