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Enterprise Ireland has recently awarded a Commercialisation Fund Award to NPL for the 30 month development of novel technology for radio frequency monitoring of commercial plasma processing systems. The project is entitled "Non-invasive Monitoring Probes for Industrial Plasmas (NiMPIP)" and builds on earlier Enterprise Ireland support via their Commercial Case Feasibility programme.


The NPL was recently awarded a Science Foundation Ireland/Enterprise Ireland Technology Innovation Development Award (TIDA) for a project entitled "High Sensitivity Low-Cost Portable Plasmonic Photoacoustic Detector (P3-D) System for Biodetection". When you stay in hospital you run a very high risk of acquiring a Healthcare-Associated Infection  (HCAI) which can lengthen your stay in hospital, leave you with long-term complications or potentially prove fatal. Current means of detecting these infections are bulky, expensive and can take many days to perform. NPL researchers are developing a new technology based on their proven expertise in photoacoustics metrology.


Dr Stephen Daniels of NPL was awarded a Health Research Board & Science Foundation Ireland research grant under the Translational Research Awards programme. This project is entitled "Improved Methods to Detect and Decontaminate Environmental Sources of Healthcare-Associated Infection" and runs in collaboration with Professor Hilary Humphreys in RCSI/Beaumont Hospital, Dublin.


The NPL was a partner in a recently completed European Union collaboration to address the major manufacturing problem of uncontrolled and expensive silicon wafer breakage in the integrated circuit manufacturing business. The EU collaboration was entitled "Investigation of Si Wafer Damage in Manufacturing Processes" (SIDAM) and was funded by the European Commission. The SIDAM team developed a revolutionary x-ray based monitoring technology which can see this damage without touching the wafers and, more importantly, can predict which wafers will break in the factory. Prof. Patrick McNally, who led the DCU team states: "our team in the Nanomaterials Processing Laboratory in DCU has been developing completely new techniques to allow companies such as Intel, IBM or Samsung look at three-dimensional images of this damage in a fashion very similar to CAT scans used in medical technology. The breakthrough technology has led to the development of a completely new analysis tool which is being manufactured by one of our partners in the project.  This will allow companies, such as Intel based here in Ireland, to make major savings in the future". A YouTube video describing the project can be found at  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p4xt2xcb1kQ

patrick  mcnally

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Prof. Patrick McNally, BE, ScM, PhD, FIEI, FInstP,CEng, CPhys, SMIEEE.


Prof. Patrick McNally received a BE (First Class Hons.) degree from University College, Galway, Ireland, and the degrees of ScM and PhD from Brown University, Rhode Island, USA in 1988 and 1992, respectively.

He is a  Professor in the School of Electronic Engineering at Dublin City University, where he served as Head of School (2012-2015). He has more than 25 years’ experience in non-invasive non-destructive metrology techniques.

He is Associate Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics. He has authored or co-authored more than 300 scientific papers, holds two patents and has five pending.

In 2010 he was a founder and CTO of Sonex Metrology Ltd., a company offering photoacoustics metrology solutions for the semiconductor IC and packaging markets.

Prof. McNally’s main research interests include nanomaterials and electronic device process characterisation (including x-ray diffraction imaging and photoacoustic metrology), portable photoacoustics systems for 
bio-detection, and copper halides for photonics applications.

Full details of publications etc. at

stephen daniels (currently on Leave of absence)

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Dr. Stephen Daniels, BEng, PhD, MIEEE.


Stephen is Director of DCU's Sustainable Economies and Societies Hub and is a Senior Lecturer in the School of Electronic Engineering. His primary scientific technical competence is in the area of integrated circuit manufacturing processes and novel thin film deposition techniques. He also has extensive experience in product design and development. He has spent time working at Philips Research, IMEC and the Applied Materials laboratories in California, and maintains significant national and international linkages within the broader plasma and semiconductor processing industry.

Stephen also directs DCU's Energy and Design Laboratory (EDL) in DCU. The EDL was established to facilitate fundamental and applied research in energy engineering, with a particular emphasis on the design, modelling, and analysis of sustainable energy systems and installations, and the design of energy efficient devices.

Full details of publications etc. at

News and Forthcoming Activities
IEEE UK & Ireland Section

Journal of Materials Science: Materials in Electronics Patrick McNally appointed as Eeitor of JMSE (2016- ). See www.springeronline.com/journal/10854

Recent Publications

  • "Simultaneous depth-profiling of electrical and elemental properties of ion-implanted arsenic in silicon by combining secondary-ion mass spectrometry with resistivity measurements", N Bennett, C.S. Wong and P.J. McNally, Rev. Sci. Instrumen. 87,  074702 (2016).   
  • "Nondestructive monitoring of die warpage in encapsulated chip packages", A. Bose, R.K. Vijayaraghavan, A. Cowley, V. Cherman, O. Varela Pedreira, B.K. Tanner, A.N. Danilewsky, I. De Wolf and P.J. McNally, IEEE Trans. Comp. Packaging Manuf. Technol., 6, pp. 653-662 (2016). DOI: 10.1109/TCPMT.2016.2527060 (2016).   

ICOOPMA 2016 (7th International Conference on Optical, Optoelectronic and Photonic Materials and Applications), Montréal, Québec,Canada (12-17 June, 2016).
Prof. Patrick McNally delivered an invited talk entitled "X-ray diffraction imaging for real-time in situ monitoring of future 3-D photonics system packages".

MAM2016 (Materials for Advanced Metallization), Brussels, Belgium (20-23 March, 2016)

IEEE EuroSimE Conference (Thermal, Mechanical & Multiphysics Simulation and Experiments
in Micro/Nano-Electronics and Micro/Nano-systems), Montpellier, France (17-20 April, 2016)


Technology and IP developed by NPL researchers has led to the spin out of numerous start-ups.

These include:



For further details, please contact our INVENT Centre in DCU.