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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