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Physics - Research

The School of Physics at UCD is a leading centre for research and teaching in physics, with a strong international reputation. In the most recent rankings of world universities, the UCD School of Physics ranks highest on the Island of Ireland.


T103/T147: MSc 2 years full-time / 4 years part-time

Further enquiries

Graduate and General Queries: John Brennan +353 (0)1 716 2361

Research areas

Research within the School of Physics

We perform fundamental physical research in the field of biological materials. The group has a world-class expertise in a variety of experimental and theoretical techniques. Novel methods are being developed to study complex biological macromolecules and proteins to further understand biological issues from photosynthesis to Alzheimers disease and CJD, and toxicity of nanomaterials. Research includes atomic force microscopy, surface plasmon polariton excitation, Raman spectroscopy, measuring intercellular forces, laser-optical imaging for unravelling live cell signalling and molecular modelling and simulation. For more information, see the Nanobio group page.

Condensed Matter Physics
Our research interests cover magnetic, electronic, photonic, properties of nanoscale objects and structures. We aim to understand chiral magnetic systems, develop spintronics and molecular electronics applications. We use quantum theoretical techniques, atomistic and coarse-grained molecular simulations to analyse ordering and interactions in hard and soft matter at the nanoscale. We also use methods of statistical physics to study self-organisation in complex biological systems and variety of non-equilibrium phenomena including collective behaviour.

Theoretical and Computational Physics
Research in theoretical physics at UCD spans many subject areas, including condensed matter, quantum theory, nano-bio, nanoelectronics, and particle physics. Computational physics, whether calculations or simulations, forms a key part of modern research. Indeed, experiment and theory advance complimentary aspects of our understanding of the complexity of the natural world. Computational studies make the link between new theoretical concepts, and experimental observations of new phenomena.

The radiation laboratory specialises in measuring minute traces of artificial and natural radionuclides in the environment and is equipped with state-of-the-art high-resolution alpha gamma and x-ray spectrometry, and low-level beta spectrometry. Research activities also include Radioecology and Medical Physics, neutron spectroscopy and dosimetry in medical accelerators, accelerator mass spectrometry and nuclear microprobes, and environmental physics studies. For more information, please contact Luis Leon Vintro.

Atomic, molecular and plasma
Innovative research includes developing, characterising and modelling extreme UV sources for applications in UV lithography for next generation semiconductor manufacturing, imaging nano/molecular structures, studying molecular dynamics by ultrafast laser imaging techniques, and studying double photoionisation with synchrotron radiation. Cutting-edge collaboration continues with Intel Ireland, Intel Components Research, USA and the group continues to create innovation from research by invention, collaboration, and company spin-out activity.

Astrophysics, space and relativity
Research includes the search for and characterisation of galactic and extragalactic very high energy gamma-ray sources with the VERITAS telescope array, the study of gamma-ray bursts using space and ground-based telescopes such as Watcher, INTEGRAL, and developing novel imaging and focusing techniques for gamma-ray astronomy. Relativity theory involves the exact solutions of Einstein's equations, gravitational wave propagation, high-frequency gravitational waves and bursts of radiation. For more information, please contact Lorraine Hanlon

Particle Physics
Access to large-scale experiments at CERN is provided. Research includes top-quark and Higgs-boson physics with CMS at the Large Hadron Collider in CERN, building the LHCb detector and measuring Z and W cross-sections at 7 TeV to 1%, and testing the Standard Model to 1% from the ratio of Z/W cross-sections. For more information, please contact Martin Gruenewald and Ronan McNulty.

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