Monthly Archives: September 2015

Photonics Ireland 2015


Photonics Ireland 2015 took place from the 2nd – 4th September 2015 in the Maryborough Hotel and Spa, Cork. The biennial Photonics Ireland conference series is the premier conference event for photonics research in Ireland. With a list of high profile national and international invited speakers, the main purpose of the conference is to showcase some of the latest research in photonics. . Technical topics include:

  • Biophotonics and Optical Sensing
  • Imaging
  • Laser-Materials and Laser-Plasma Interactions
  • Nanophotonics and Plasmonics
  • Optical Communications and Networks
  • Photonic Integration and Packaging
  • Photonic Devices
  • Photonic Materials
  • Quantum Optics and Quantum Technologies
  • Entrepreneurship in Optics and Photonics and exhibition

With a commercial aspect – a session on Entrepreneurship – and activities linked to the International Year of Light, the conference will benefited both students and other attendees, with a focus on the economic importance of the science. The event also provided students the opportunity to showcase aspects of their work as part of a poster exhibition and with a social setting to encourage networking.

UCD OSA Student Chapter member, Ra’ed Malallah attended Photonics Ireland 2015 and presented a poster, “Multilayer Data Storage Fundamental for Photopolymer Materials Solved by 3 Dimensional NPDD model” (Ra’ed Malallah, Haoyu Li, Yue Qi, and John T. Sheridan).

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Conference Chair: Programme Committee Chair:
Prof. Paul Townsend Prof. Eoin O’Reilly
Tyndall National Institute Tyndall National Institute
University College Cork University College Cork
Tel: +353 21 490 4857 Tel: +353 21 234 6413
Email: Email:

Technical Programme Committee:

  • Biophotonics and Optical Sensing
    Prof. Tia Keyes (DCU)
    Prof. Martin J. Leahy (NUIG)
    Prof. James McLaughlin (UU)
  • Imaging
    Dr. Brian Vohnsen (UCD)
    Prof. Eithne McCabe (TCD)
    Dr. Nicholas Devaney (NUIG)
  • Laser-Materials and Laser-Plasma Interactions
    Prof. Marco Borghesi (QUB)
    Prof. Gerard O’Connor (NUIG)
    Prof. Gerry O’Sullivan (UCD)
  • Nanophotonics and Plasmonics
    Prof. Louise Bradley (TCD)
    Dr. Enda McGlynn (DCU)
    Dr. Bob Pollard (QUB)
  • Optical Communications and Networks
    Prof. Liam Barry (DCU)
    Prof. Gerald Farrell (DIT)
    Dr. Fatima Gunning (TNI)
  • Photonic integration and packaging
    Dr. Frank Peters (UCC-TNI)
    Dr. Peter O’Brien (TNI)
    Dr. Michael Connelly (UL)
  • Photonic Devices
    Prof. John Donnegan (CRANN-TCD)
    Dr. Stephen Hegarty (CIT-TNI)
    Dr. Pascal Landais (DCU)
  • Photonic Materials
    Prof. Peter Parbrook (UCC-TNI)
    Prof. Werner Blau (TCD)
    Prof. Martyn Pemble (UCC-TNI)
  • Quantum Optics and Quantum Technologies
    Dr. Andreas Ruschhaupt (UCC)
    Dr. Emanuele Pelucchi (TNI)
    Prof. Mauro Paternostro (QUB)
  • Entrepreneurship in optics and photonics and exhibition
    Organisers: Dr. Patrick Morrissey (TNI), Dr. Frank Smyth (Pilot Photonics, TCD)

Dublin Maker 2015

Logo Dublin Maker

Dublin Maker is a one-day, hands-on, family-friendly, free, outdoor celebration of making on the Physics Lawn at Trinity College Dublin. Dublin Maker 2015 took place from 10am to 6pm on Saturday 25th of July. It’s a chance for the entire family to try their hand at making everything from paper planes to crafty circuits. Dublin Maker takes the form of a ‘show and tell’ experience where makers demonstrate what they are making, and share what they are learning.

The festival event itself is a culmination of ‘hack, craft and make’ activities. Makers range from tech enthusiasts to crafters, educators, tinkerers, hobbyists, engineers, artists, science clubs, students, authors, and commercial exhibitors. They are of all ages and backgrounds, coming from all over Ireland and beyond. Dublin Maker featured over forty groups of makers from across the country and had over 10,000 visitors.

The UCD – NUIG OSA Student Chapters

The UCD OSA Student Chapter teamed up for the first time with the NUIG Student Chapter as makers in Dublin Maker as Light2015. We came together to promote the International Year of Light and to demonstrate how light is used in our everyday lives though lots of hands on experiments and demonstrations including;

  • Medical imaging, surgical procedures, and even diagnoses rely upon the use of light. An example is Tissue Viability (TiVi) imaging, which is method of determining blood concentration in tissue using a standard digital camera and a laptop. This is a nice example of a very simple medical imaging system, using easy to understand image processing and components that many people have available at home.
  • Light based smartphone apps using the camera of smartphones to capture meaningful changes in the light, such as the redness in the skin or even the heart rate.
  • Interference with light (laser and white light) using a Michelson Interferometer.
  • Making UV bracelets and LED badges.
  • Optical illusions to show the different ways in which light works.
  • Laser graffiti

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Inspirefest 2015



Inspirefest 2015 is a two day international event that connects professionals interested in the future of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with new perspectives on innovation, leadership and success. Plus unique networking at our exciting Fringe Festival taking place from 18th – 20th June.




The UCD OSA Student Chapter took part in the Inspirefest Fringe Festival on Saturday the 20th June, in Merrion Square, Dublin.  Chapter members Laura Tobin, Liang Zhao and visiting intern, Victoria Brunny ran a hands on workshop promoting the International Year of Light as part of Dublin Maker stand. The public were able to make UV bracelets and LED badges.


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Light and Shadow

The UCD OSA Student Chapter May 2015
The UCD OSA Student Chapter May 2015

The UCD OSA Student Chapter participated in the UCD Science open day, Light and Shadow in celebration of the International Year of Light and the light based research within University College Dublin Saturday 23rd May 2015. There were over 500 attendees on the day.

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The event was opened with a keynote speaker, Evelyn Cusack, the Deputy Head of Forecasting in Met Éireann on the connection with spectroscopy and the weather. Following the keynote there were 11 shorts talks (full video playlist).

The UCD OSA Student Chapter along with their advisor Prof. John T. Sheridan commanded 9 tables during Light and Shadow, 4 tables for the KHET tournament and 5 on optics outreach “Fun with Light”. The KHET tournament was extremely popular especially amongst the younger players. KHET is a combination of a strategy based board game with lasers and Egyptian themed pieces, which has been described as “laser chess”! Unlike chess however, KHET is easy to pick up as there are fewer rules, and once mastered, the difficulty setting can be increased. Two players take turns to fire their laser to strike and remove game pieces from the board. Most of the pieces are mirrored on one or more sides, allowing players to alter the path of the laser beam each time it is fired by changing the position of the playing pieces. When a piece is struck by a laser on a non – mirrored side, it is eliminated from the game. The object is to hit your opponent’s pharaoh with a laser while protecting your own king, thereby claiming victory. KHET encourages the player to think about the path the light will follow before committing to a move. Many parents enquired about purchasing the game so that the tournament could continue at home.

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The outreach optics tables had a mixture of optical equipment from lasers, LEDs, diffraction gratings, optical fibres and spectroscopes, to optical illusions such as a Mirrorscope, Euler’s Disk, Centripetal Spinners and a Strobotop. There were also hands on making with UV colour changing bracelets, LED badges, conductive painted circuits and make your own spectrascopes.

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The Student Chapter felt that it was important that the visitors could come and get involved by making something to take away. The tables were assembled in a form of the electromagnetic (EM) spectrum with ultraviolet (UV) on one side, visible in the middle and infra-red (IR) on the far side. This made it easier to explain the EM spectrum and the different types of light. For UV light, the Student Chapter used a black light, UV beads, UV makeup and paint to demonstrate the properties of UV light, particularly with using sunscreen on the UV beads under the black light. For the visible light range, the Student Chapter used a colour wheel, different light sources, diffraction glasses and glowsticks to ask the public what colours are missing from the rainbow. This helped explain why the colour pink does not have a wavelength and the properties of white light. For IR, the Student Chapter asked the public to hold the camera of their mobile phones over an IR light to illustrate that even though they cannot see IR light, it is present and shows up on (most) cameras.

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The UCD OSA Student Chapter also provided a number takeaway materials that we handed to science communicators and educators for their own IYL activities such as; templates for creating your own spectroscope, diffraction gratings (500 & 1000 lines/mm), polarisers, liquid crystals sheets and the very popular diffraction glasses.

Our Advisor, Prof. John T. Sheridan gave a talk on “Theraputic Light” and also helped out on the optics outreach stand for the remainder of the day. Volunteers: Ms. Laura Tobin, Ms. Liang, Zhao, Mr. Ra’ed Malallah, Mr. Changliang Guo, Mr. Haoyu Li, Mr. Inbarasan Muniraj, , Ms. Victoria Bunny (ISEN Lille), Mr. Sudharsan Rajasekaran (UCD) and Mr. Nithish Deepankar.

§  Light sources for electronics Padraig Dunne
§  Imaging Molecules with light James Rice
§  Harvesting Solar Energy Dominic Zerulla
§  Listening to See in Dark: a Bat’s perspective Emma Teeling
§  Light for Eye Diagnostics Brian Vohnsen
§  Light, Vision and Health Paul Kenny
§  Sunlight, Excited Molecules and DNA Damage:
An Incredibly Fast Process
Susan Quinn
§  Using Vision to find new Drugs for Blindness Breandán Kennedy
§  Light from the Edge of Time Lorraine Hanlon
§  Therapeutic Light John Sheridan
§  The Dark Net Mark Scanlon

In addition there were also displays, exhibits and tours;

§  Cellular Light Show Biology & Environmental Science – Dr Mariana G. Bexiga, Dr Carl Ng, Prof Jeremy C. Simpson
§  Uncover Molecular Structures with Infrared Light Chemistry and Chemical Biology – Dr Paul Evans
§  The Colour Box Physics – Prof Padraig Dunne
§  From Rays to Waves in Light & Colour Physics – Dr Brian Vohnsen
§  Light & the Planet’s most important Organisms – Plants UCD Program for Experimental Atmospheres and Climates (PEAC)
§  The Chemistry of Light UCD Chemical Society, a UCD student society
§  Light, colour & flavour –
a multisensory experience
Institute of Food & Health – Dr Emma Feeney
§  Light & Nature’s Life Cycle Engineering – Prof John Sheridan; Agriculture & Food Science – Dr Barbara Murphy
§  Fun with light workshop Laura Tobin – UCD OSA Student Chapter
§  KHET Tournament Laura Tobin – UCD OSA Student Chapter
§  Exploration Dome Supported by UCD Research Public Engagement & Outreach, and partners
§  Tunnelling Art & Science Exhibition Organised and curated by UCD – Lorraine Hanlon & UCD/NCAD – Emer O’Boyle; collaborative exhibition by students of Fine Art NCAD and UCD Science
§  Explore the UCD O’Brien Centre for Science Sponsored by UCD Science, guided by student ambassadors
Liang Zhao making LED badges and UV bracelets

International Year of Light Launch


The launch of the International Year of Light in Ireland took place on Friday 13th of March at the Spire in Dublin city centre which coincided with the kick-off of the 4 day St. Patrick’s Day festival. The Spire (or Monument of Light) is a 121.2 metre high landmark monument located on O’Connell St, right in the heart of Dublin city centre. It was illuminated for the first time by Philips Lighting and the lighting sequence was choreographed to Reel around the Sun from Riverdance. The Spire also streamed a live scrolling twitter feed using the hashtag #lightirl which featured messages from all around the world.

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This evening’s proceedings’ were overseen by Grand Marshal of the 2015 St. Patrick’s Festival Parade, Brendan O’Carroll who pushed the button to illuminate the Spire of Dublin green at 7:15pm. Brendan was joined Susan Kirby, CEO of St. Patrick’s Festival, Professor Martin Leahy NUIG, and Professor John Sheridan UCD, of the National Committee for IYL in Ireland. They were joined by the UCD and NUIG Student Chapters.


The light installation and live twitter feed remained in place throughout St. Patrick’s Festival and had a prominent place at the centre location of St. Patrick’s Day parade.

St. Patrick’s Day 2015
St. Patrick’s Day 2015

The reaction from the launch