University College Cork
Physics Dept., University College Cork
National Institute, Prospect Row, Cork
I graduated from Cork Institute of Technology in 2004 with an Honours degree in Applied Physics and Instrumentation. My fourth year project was on “Environmental Sampling using Electrostatics”. In this experiment 4.5 meter enameled wires were energized at 3 different voltages, -5KV, -10KV and -15KV for a duration of two hours. The electric field generated around the wires attracted radioactive elements in the atmosphere. After the collection period the wires were placed on a high purity Geranium semiconductor detector kept at 77 Kelvin and surrounded by a 4 inch thick lead shield. Background samples were compared against samples taken from wires of varying diameters. Many elements from the Thorium series and the Uranium series were detected on the wires thus showing that electrostatics can be used effectively as a means of environmental sampling. For this project I had to build my own 20 kV power supply. I did this using a flyback transformer from a PC monitor. Working on this project developed my interest in research.
After travelling for a while, I commenced my PhD, under the supervision of Dr. Síle Nic Chormaic, into the study of whispering gallery modes and spectral emissions from heavy-metal fluoride microsphere lasers in March 2005. As part of my studies I've spent some time in the lab of our French collaborator, Dr. Patrice Féron, in ENSSAT,
I graduated with my PhD in November 2009 and I am currently working as a postdoctoral reasearcher in conjunction with the Humboldt University, Berlin.