Tyndall Institute opens new research lab for wireless communications – named after Marconi

28 Jun 2013

Kieran Drain, Tyndall CEO; Julian Brecknock of Agilent; and Tyndall researcher Dr Domenico Zito, at the opening of the Marconi Lab. They are looking at the microchip radar sensor developed at Tyndall

Tyndall National Institute in Cork, Ireland, has opened a new lab for research and teaching in next-generation wireless communications. The centre has been named the Marconi Laboratory, after the ‘father of wireless communications’, Irish-Italian inventor Guglielmo Marconi.

Researchers in the lab will carry out advanced training and research on radio frequency integrated circuits for high-speed wireless data communications for video applications, as well as for contactless sensors for biomedical and security applications.

To realise the lab, Tyndall has gleaned a combined €800,000 investment from the Santa Clara, California-based Agilent Technologies and the Higher Education Authority of Ireland.

At the opening of the Marconi Lab today, Tyndall CEO Kieran Drain welcomed the investment. He said it would ensure the research team and students, led by Dr Domenico Zito at Tyndall, will be able to work in emerging radio-frequency communications.

Next generation of engineers

Julian Brecknock from Agilent in the UK said the company has always been committed to working with and supporting academic institutions to help develop the next generation of engineers.

“Our participation with this lab and this institute will help to give current and future students valuable experience on cutting-edge equipment,” he said. “This experience can only serve them well in the long run and I congratulate the Tyndall Institute on setting up such a facility.”

The University College Cork-based Tyndall follows a model in that derives 85pc of its annual income from competitively won contracts. For instance, chip giant Intel this past May renewed a roughly €1.5m three-year contract with Tyndall.

The relationship between Intel and Tyndall will involve experts working together on key challenges that the semiconductor industry faces in making chips more feature rich, smaller and cheaper.

In recent years, Tyndall has been coming onto the global technology radar for its breakthroughs in areas such as nanotechnology and materials science. The institute has already achieved a number of world firsts, including the world’s first implantable radiation detector, the world’s first junctionless transistor, and the world’s fastest fibre-to-the-home network demonstrator.

Visionary Irish scientist John Tyndall

Tyndall was founded in 2004. In a former guise it was known as the National Microelectronics Research Centre.

The centre was subsequently named after the Irish physicist John Tyndall. Born in 1820 in Co Carlow, Ireland, Tyndall is most renowned for his breakthrough scientific paper published in 1861 in which he identified the critical role of greenhouse gases (GHGs) in maintaining the Earth’s temperature.

The instruments and techniques he invented have been pivotal in giving rise to new branches of climate science. Such instrumentation derived from Tyndall’s work includes sensors used to study the hidden world of infra-red radiation and the transmission of light.

Carmel Doyle was a long-time reporter with Silicon Republic