APT Gateway announces SME Research Funding & Innovation Voucher Clinic

Are you a small and medium-sized limited company registered in Ireland? Do you require assistance with research and innovation solutions? APT Technology Gateway are currently inviting companies to register for their upcoming ‘SME Research Funding & Innovation Voucher Clinic’.  The clinic will run on Thursday 11th May, 9.30am to 11.30am in TUS: Midlands, Dublin Road, Athlone.  
Companies registered on the day will have access to information regarding research, development, innovation, state-of-the-art testbeds, and living lab facilities, along with details on available Enterprise Ireland funding supports, which can help companies of all sizes engage in innovation and research activities. 

The Clinic will offer those interested the following:  

  • A chance to speak to knowledgeable and experienced researchers and engineers from the Enterprise Ireland Funded Gateway Applied Polymer Technologies (APT).
  • Advice on a range of Enterprise Ireland funding sources and funding applications such as the Innovation Voucher,  Agile Innovation Fund and the Innovation Partnership.

Who Should attend:  

This event will benefit registered SMEs that are designing and developing a plastic or polymer-based Product, Process, or Service.  


09:30 – 10:00  – Registration with Tea & Coffee

10:00 – 10:15 – Engaging with APT Gateway & Available Funding

10:15 – 10:30 – Developing Design Concepts for Market Readiness.

10:30 – 11:30 – Break Out Clinics & Networking

APT Technology Gateway  

APT Technology Gateway is based at the Technological University of the Shannon: Midlands Campus. The Gateway provides polymer technology solutions for companies (from SMEs to multinationals) in the sporting, medical, Agri-sector, composite, recycling, food, and pharmaceutical sectors. Acting as an industry-led research hub supporting Irish-based plastics and polymer companies in creating solutions to overcome current challenges faced by industry.  

The mission of the APT Ireland Gateway is “to support the development of innovative, high-value polymer and plastics products, which will increase the global competitiveness of Irish-based plastics and polymer companies, increase export opportunities, and ultimately lead to increased revenues and employment across key industry sectors including Sustainability, Packaging, MedTech and Greentech”. 

Event details

Date: 11th May 

Time: 9.30am – 11.30am  

Location: TUS Midlands, Engineering & Science Building, Dublin Road, Athlone.  





DESIGN+ announce arrival of new Raplas PR450 HD 3D printer

Design+ Technology Gateway in SETU Carlow are delighted to announce the arrival of their new Stereolithography 3D printer, the Raplas PR450 HD funded by Enterprise Ireland to complement the existing suite of polymer additive manufacturing machines on-site in their labs.

As a Technology Gateway that has received support from the Enterprise Ireland Capital Call, we have experienced the positive impact this program can have on Irish businesses first hand. Thanks to the funding we received, we were able to accelerate our research and development efforts, which allowed us to support Irish companies through innovation faster than we would have been able to without this funding. Additionally, the Capital Call program provided us with access to invaluable support services which allow us to further accelerate growth for businesses.

Overall, we credit the Enterprise Ireland Capital Call for contributing significantly to our success as a Technology Gateway, and we would strongly recommend this program to other Irish businesses seeking to innovate and grow in the technology sector.

Using the new Raplas PR450 HD additive manufacturing machine offers numerous benefits to businesses in various industries.

At Design+ we can work together with you to analyse your product portfolio, production lines, and supply chain to identify areas where 3D printing could be most beneficial. Based on the evaluation, we can then develop a strategy for integrating additive manufacturing into your operations, identifying the most suitable equipment and materials, and creating a plan for integrating 3D printing into your existing processes.

New Stereolithography 3D printer, the Raplas PR450 HD funded by Enterprise Ireland

Raplas PR450 offers exceptional precision and can produce high-quality prints, making it an excellent option for businesses that need precise and accurate parts. It is also versatile, capable of producing both small and intricate designs as well as large and complex structures with its large print envelope of 450mm X 450mm x 400mm in the X, Y, & Z axis, making it an ideal choice for a variety of industries, such as automotive, aerospace, healthcare, and consumer goods.

The machine’s speed and efficiency are also significant benefits, as it can produce parts at a much faster rate than traditional manufacturing methods, resulting in reduced lead times and improved productivity. Additionally, businesses can significantly reduce production costs by using the Raplas PR450, as it eliminates the need for expensive tooling and moulds, and reduces material waste by using only the necessary amount of material for the product.

Another advantage of using our Raplas PR450 is its customisation capabilities, enabling businesses to create unique products tailored to their customers’ needs, improving customer satisfaction and setting themselves apart from competitors.

At Design+ Technology Gateway, our goal is to help you leverage its capabilities to drive innovation, streamline your processes, and achieve greater success in the marketplace. Let’s work together to explore the full potential of this technology for your business!

MiCRA Gateway RD&I facilities provide a range of solutions for Industry

MiCRA Technology Gateway is an industry-led research and development facility located in the CASH-Synergy Centre at TU Dublin (Tallaght Campus). Focusing on the advancement of Agri-Food sensing and In-Vitro Biodiagnostic technologies, the gateway consists of state-of-the-art electroanalytical, analytical, surface science, cell culture and microbiology labs/instrumentation, and sensor/prototype fabrication facilities. 

The facility has a strong and growing portfolio of applied research, making knowledge and expertise accessible to local and national industry. Working extensively with a range of companies from start-ups through SMEs to global multinationals. The Gateways core technologies can be readily adapted to provide solutions for a range of challenges.  

In sectors that include: 

  • Agri-Food Sensing Technology 
  • In-Vitro Biodiagnostics 
  • Sustainability & Environmental Testing 
  • Bio and Pharma Technology 
  • Analytical Services & Research 
  • Materials Research 

MiCRA has access to a range of fully equipped research laboratories facilitating wet chemistry, sample preparation and electrochemical and spectroscopic analysis. The Gateway also has full access to the wider laboratory and analytical facilities across TU Dublin including: Chromatographic analysis, surface science, spectroscopic, particle size analysis and elemental analysis. 

Current facilities available at MiCRA include: 

Analytical Laboratories 

We have two dedicated laboratories one for scanning electron microscopy, with two SEM instruments, one with EDX function, and the second which has 300 MHz and 500 MHz multi-nuclear NMR systems (can do solid state as well). 

There is a large analytical instrumentation laboratory which houses a suite of spectroscopic and chromatographic equipment including a GC-MS (Agilent Technology); LC-MS Q-TOF Accurate-Mass (Agilent technologies 6530); Shmiadzu uHPLC and preparative LC systems; FT-IR, UV-vis spectrophotometer, and a polarimeter. 

Chemical Synthesis Laboratory 

Has benchspace and 11 high specification extraction fumehoods, serviced with gases for inert reactions. The laboratory is kitted out with ancillary equipment and glassware for advanced experimental chemical synthesis. It also houses specialist synthesis equipment, including a hyrdogenator, microwave synthesiser and a solid phase peptide synthesiser. 

Electroanalytical Innovation Laboratory 

This is used mainly for sensor fabrication and analysis with at least six different potentiostats for cyclic voltammetry, square wave voltammetry. 

Pilot Plant 

Fermentation Suite – up to 100L capacity with steam in place and clean in place facilities; 10L system and a 2L quad fermentation unit. Can be set up for microbial cell culture, but also has microspargers and marine type impellers for conversion to animal cell culture. All the fermenters have pH, pO2, turbidity and off gas analysis which feeds back to a MFCS data handling unit. For downstream processing there is Centrifuge 50L/hr (11,750 rpm) and a Millipore TFF unit for concentrating down product depending on the process. 

BIOSTAT Cultibag RM 20/50 – This is a wave technology/disposable bag system for animal cell culture, up to 20L capacity currently, 50L possible with additional equipment. 

Pilot Plant: Solid Formulations – 5 vessels ranging from 250Lto 500L; training instrumentation skid; centrally controlled by a PLC with SCADA interface for the user. 

Other equipment in the Pilot Plant includes – Millipore K-Prime unit for larger scale chromatography projects; Bottling line with 500ml fill capacity fed from the main vessels in the lab; Pasteurising Unit. 

PAT and Technology Transfer Laboratories 

We have a 3000 sq ft Technology Development & Transfer Laboratory in the main building which houses a 2L automated Chemical Reactor, 10L 1 Pot Granulator / Dryer, Fluid Bed Dryer (Glatt), Homogeniser, Tablet Press, Powder Testing Equipment – e.g. Particle Size, Dissolution, Hardness, Friability, Disintegration, sieves. There is also a supporting process analytical laboratory (PAT Lab) with Raman and NIR spectrometers, particle size analyser, rheometer and thermoanalytical instruments, e.g. DSC, TGA. 

Prototype and Fabrication Lab 

The Prototype and Fabrication Lab allows for the rapid design and testing of a wide variety of electrochemical and microfluidic systems. Laboratory equipment includes: 

  • Potentiostat equipment and Multichannel Potentiostat suites with potentiostat/galvanostat/impedance capabilities to develop rapid sensors for various industry applications  
  • CAD software for chip and electrode design 
  • DEK 248 Screen printer: allowing for the patterning of electrodes, conductive tracks, and insulators 
  • Formulating facilities: preparation/modification of printing inks 
  • Dispenser for electrode modification and coating 
  • Electrodes and Microfluidics design and manufacturing 
  • Laser-cutter: fabrication of microfluidic channels 
  • Sonic bonder: assembling microfluidic chips 
  • Vastex D1 Series (D-100) Infrared Dryer 

Class II Biosafety & Microbiology Laboratories 

The microbiology laboratories at MiCRA Biodiagnostics is well equipped with facilities to handle general and Class I & II micro-organisms. Our laboratory equipment includes: 

  • Biological Safety Cabinet (Class II) 
  • Support Equipment (for the growth and preservation of micro-organisms in aerobic/anaerobic conditions) 
  • CO2 Incubator, Anaerobic jars, Incubator shakers, –20°C and –80°C Freezers, Refrigerator 
  • Electrochemical Workstations 
  • Potentiostats  
  • UV-VIS Spectrophotometer 
  • Optical Microscope 
  • Support Instrumentation 
  • Water Bath, Thermo-mixer, Balance, etc. 
  • Autoclaves for Sterilization and Waste Disposal 

For more information on facilities and services available at MiCRA check out their website or contact the team.  

ChatGPT: The rise of AI driven writing

The use of artificial intelligence (AI) language models like ChatGPT for content generation has attracted increasing attention in recent months, especially since the latest release and media hype surrounding its use. While these tools have the potential to save time and resources for researchers and companies alike there are also concerns around their use, particularly when it comes to maintaining editorial oversight, avoiding plagiarism, and ensuring accuracy and quality of the articles that in some cases are rife with errors highlighting the need for careful consideration and mitigation of potential risks arising from the use of these tools.

Background ChatGPT[1] is the SotA (state of the art) in natural language processing as an AI language model. Developed by OpenAI, ChatGPT is the result of years of intensive R&D, building on the work of previous language models from the company such as GPT-1 through 3. It is essentially a refined version of GPT-3.5. With GPT-4 only being announced recently [2] allowing for multimodal input such as imagery similar to its cousin DALL-E[3].

ChatGPT was designed to fill the market need for a language model that could understand and generate natural language responses to a wide range of technical topics. In this case context is king and the ability of the tool to contextualise data, while nowhere near perfect, is a step beyond current techniques from competitors. It has seen mass adaptation in recent months and gone “viral” across the technical world. However, while there are advantages to the technology that will only improve over time, it is the human element needed to structure and decode the responses that will ultimately decide how useful an aide it will be.


As a thought experiment let’s use ChatGPT to generate a list of its own pros/cons:

Looking at each point

  • Knowledgeable: While it does have access to a large volume of training data which on the surface may seem great but dig a little deeper and cracks begin to show as it can also be used as a source of misinformation and is surprisingly good at it[4].
  • Saves time: The time required to capture the content and verify it for inconsistences, grammatical errors, potential bias and material that cannot be cited really downplays this.
  • Versatile: One aspect of the model that is hard to play down is its ability to rephrase and rewrite vast swathes of text. But if the above two points are still at play, then re-writing garble is still garble.


Similarly a generated set of cons:

Reviewing these points:

  • Potential for bias: This is a rather serious issue underpinning much of the data taken from ChatGPT (and others). The ability for ChatGPT to discern what could potentially be a paid source of information versus a unbiased product/technology review is severally limited.
  • Lack of creativity: ChatGPT as it stands reads poorly and it is obvious that it is a computer-generated piece. It can lead to less introspection on issues and topics that otherwise would evoke some thought.
  • Limited understanding of context: A key point to note as this can cause major discrepancies when trying to run through ideation or combine multiple idea streams into a cohesive block of logic.

While it can be an effective tool for creating technical blogs, it’s crucial to thoroughly analyse any automatically created text for biases and mistakes. The key is to take into account the technology’s limitations in order to create material that is high-quality with a human touch.

Where is it going?

We can see language models like ChatGPT, and its rivals, being more prevalent in our everyday lives. Much akin to modern day voice assistants such as Alexa, Google assistant or Siri. The technology itself can only be improved from here and with similar tools from the likes of Microsoft, who recently announced integration with Office 365[5] giving wider access to a larger dataset can bring improvements to the tool. The issues identified above including bias, inconsistencies and credibility require careful steps  to be taken to make sure it remains useful without generating ethical or privacy issues in data gathered .

Cautious of its accuracy

There have been some recent concerns raised about the use of AI language models like ChatGPT to generate content for news and media outlets like CNET. In January of 2023 it was found that errors were found in more than half of the sites AI generated content which led to the company stopping the use of their AI tool[6]. Therefore, it is important to note generated material might not be as thoroughly examined or fact-checked as material created by human writers.


While AI language models like ChatGPT have the potential to be valuable tools for content creation, there are important considerations to keep in mind, particularly in technical fields where accuracy, quality, and editorial oversight are critical to ensuring the reputation of research outputs. Technical writers will need to carefully evaluate the risks and benefits of using AI-generation language models like ChatGPT/Bard, and take steps to mitigate potential issues.

However, it’s important to note that ChatGPT is not a substitute for human expertise, and it will never be able to replace the insights and knowledge that come from experience and training. Instead, ChatGPT should be seen as a complementary tool that can assist with the writing process and help augment human capabilities.

Written by Ian Mills, ARVR Technical Lead, TSSG Technology Gateway, Walton Institute  

[1] https://openai.com/blog/chatgpt

[2] https://openai.com/product/gpt-4

[3] https://openai.com/product/dall-e-2

[4] https://arxiv.org/pdf/2301.04246.pdf

[5] https://www.theverge.com/2023/2/10/23593980/microsoft-bing-chatgpt-ai-teams-outlook-integration

[6] https://www.theverge.com/2023/1/25/23571082/cnet-ai-written-stories-errors-corrections-red-ventures


IMaR Gateway delivering solutions to industry through state-of-the-art research equipment

IMaR Technology Gateway based in Munster Technological University (Kerry), is an applied research provider delivering technology solutions for industry. The Gateway engages with industry across Ireland to increase competitiveness in the area of Intelligent Mechatronics, Internet of Things and RFID and provide the best possible solutions to meet their innovation requirements. By applying its core expertise IMaR can assist business by: 

  • Increasing volume throughputs 
  • Decreasing cycle times 
  • Optimising product quality 
  • Sustaining manufacturing competitiveness 

The Gateway currently houses state-of-the-art research facilities, which focus on technology innovation and delivery. The team have recently taken delivery of a range of specialised equipment, funded by the Enterprise Ireland capital call, which aims to support companies, not only within the region but also further afield.

Some of the specialised equipment available at IMaR includes:  

Mobile Robots 

IMaR can now provide mobile robots and an automatic conveyor test-bed to assist industry to evaluate the opportunities to free staff from low-value transport tasks in manufacturing and logistics facilities. With a suite of mobile robots and flexible conveying systems, IMaR can rapidly demonstrate the potential benefits to your organization and how these systems can be integrated into smarter, more efficient operations.   

RFID Test and Development Suite  

IMaR has established itself as a leader in applied research focusing on delivering Intelligent Mechatronics and RFID solutions for industry, the gateway has built considerable expertise in the field of RFID and related emerging technologies. The introduction of the RFID Test and Development suite to their services includes a full complement of RFID readers, antennas, RF test equipment, as well as a large catalogue of RFID tags of varying properties which satisfy many different use cases. 

This facility includes a range of RFID readers covering a wide range of technologies (HF, LF, UNF, RAIN, NFC, UWB), associated antenna arrays/multiplexers and a series of RFID test equipment to measure performance of RFID devices and application setups, verify conformance and support the development of readers, tags and ICs, measurement of tag frequency sensitivity, communication range and backscatter measurements. Where possible, all equipment will be relatively portable to allow deployment and testing of RFID equipment on-site in an industrial environment.     

Wireless Communication Testbed 

Short-range communications technology for industrial environments is a key enabler of the ‘Industrial Internet of Things‘ . Whether it is used for predictive maintenance, operational dashboard or digital twin development, IIoT requires reliable communication between a number of sensors and a control unit which analyses the data provided. To assist clients on their Industry 4.0 / digitisation journey, and in complement to its industrial sensing suite, IMaR has acquired a suite of wireless industrial communications platforms. The aim of this testbed is to help companies to choose the protocol that best suits their application by providing a trialing capacity covering the major low-power short-range (<500m) wireless communication platforms. 

The suite includes LoRa, LTE, Sigfox, GSM, WiFi, ZigBee and Bluetooth Low Energy together with industrial integration fieldbus technology; ModBus, EthernetIP and EtherCad. 

Industrial Process Monitoring Suite 

In recent years the development of systems such as predictive maintenance for process equipment has been somewhat hindered by the cost of sensing units and perceived complexity of digital systems to exploit the data. The industrial process monitoring suite available at IMaR will support clients to evaluate the optimum sensor deployment and data management systems for a range of use cases including not only predictive maintenance, but also the development and prototyping of operational dashboards and process digital twins.  The suite provides for measurement and logging of physical quantities including: humidity, pressure, temperature, light, acoustics, voltage, current, vibration / acceleration. Additionally, the suite includes magnetometers, GPS and gyroscopes. Most popular communications protocols can be implemented, and the suite is complemented by the above industrial wireless suite. 

Mobile data processing rig 

Many enterprises are slow to engage in collaborative research projects in the area of data science due to the dangers of exposing sensitive data to externally hosted entities such as cloud processing platforms. To address these concerns, IMaR has now acquired a Deep-Learning Server with a portable flight-case. 

The system is comprised of: 

  • a CPU/motherboard unit, 
  • RAM and Hard-drive memory, 
  • associated network interfaces and power supplies, and most critically, 
  • multiple high-power Graphical Processing Units (GPUs). 

With advances in the integration scales of these technologies such high-power processing systems have been scaled down to single space (4U – size) rackmount units, enabling the opportunity to mount the system in a rackmount flight-case to create a portable data processing data centre. The system can be fully wiped of data, brought to a specific industrial location, loaded with sensitive industrial data via a physical data transfer platform and processing can take place on-site. All data can then be removed from the server to the satisfaction of the data control officer before exiting the facility. Such a system will reduce the perceived risk of data breaches and thus expedite engagement with industrial clients in the area of data analytics and AI. 

For more information on this range of equipment and how it can assist your company check out the IMaR website or contact the team.  

Shannon ABC: a unique collaboration between MTU Kerry and TUS MidWest

Shannon ABC is a commercially focused, state of the art, Research Centre and Technology Gateway, bringing together a multidisciplinary team of researchers with commercial specialists in areas such as Biotechnology, Cosmetics, Food & Drink, Life Science and Pharmaceutical. 

Shannon ABC is unique to the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network, as it is a collaboration between two Technological Universities – Munster Technological University and the Technological University of the Shannon. The facilities are co-located between the two campuses, MTU Kerry and TUS Midwest, providing excellence in applied research, regionally and nationwide. The Gateway delivers close to market solutions for industry, acting as an access point to wider research resources and infrastructure and responds to the challenges of Industry through the sustainable development of viable and cost-effective processes and products from bio-resources.   

The co-location of Shannon ABC is a dynamic collaboration. Staff are based across both sites, projects are delivered across both sites and the staff and students meet on regular occasions to share research experiences and new techniques and technologies. This active collaboration means that when a company works with Shannon ABC they are getting access to the full potential across both sites in MTU Kerry and TUS Midwest, as well as access to the wider MTU Cork and TUS Midlands community.  






Above: Shannon ABC laboratories in MTU Kerry and TUS MidWest

Expert Advice and Knowledge:  

Working with Shannon ABC opens up many areas of opportunity for industry, and those who choose to collaborate with the Gateway can avail of considerable interconnected resources. This, together with the abundance of expertise and knowledge, makes it the ideal environment for the development of innovative thinking.  

Shannon ABC has developed significant expertise in bioresource detection, identification, characterisation and valorisation, collaborating with industry and other research centres in order to deliver this expertise in applied settings. The team also have wide experience working with industry in areas such as: 

  • Bioeconomy and Bioresources 
  • Analytical and Research Solutions 
  • Microbial Biotechnology 
  • Cell Biology 
  • Food Innovation 

The approach improves client competitiveness and competence, facilitating the transfer of innovative scientific solutions. Through strategic short, medium and long-term partnerships Shannon ABC provides creative, innovative solutions to industry’s challenges as well as access to their research-based pipeline of commercially focused technology offerings. 

Range of Specialised Equipment:   

Shannon ABC has a substantial range of specialised equipment, based within MTU and TUS, which is available to enhance a company’s R&D experience. 

Below is some of the equipment available: 

  • Liquid Chromatography-Mass Spectroscopy (LC-MS) 
  • Inductively Coupled Plasma-Mass Spectroscopy (ICP-MS) 
  • Cell culture suite 
  • Multiplex ELISA  
  • Calorimeter 
  • Fluorescence Microscope 
  • Freeze Dryer 
  • Microalgal Food Grade Suite 

See here for the full list of equipment available. 

Facilities and Laboratories: 

The facilities at Shannon ABC are co-located between the MTU Kerry campus and the TUS Midwest campus. 

This co-location allows industry and research partners to take advantage of the synergistic skills and wide range of equipment available at the two locations. Facilities are also available for industry to access with their own staff; with a number of companies who have based themselves in Shannon ABC for periods of time from a few months, to several years. Companies based in Shannon ABC can avail of equipment and facilities across both sites. 

Shannon ABC laboratories are customised and future-proofed for wide ranging biotechnological and analytical capabilities including dedicated research bench space, analytical suites, raw material processing, HEPA filtered microbial suite and tissue culture suite and fermentation suite. Access to laboratories is controlled and restricted to authorised personnel only. 

Dedicated Gateway team:  

Shannon ABC has a dedicated Gateway Manager and a team of expert business development scientists, across both campuses, who are geared to help with your company’s individual needs. Working together to achieve a cohesive approach in a manner that is time and budget effective. 

Dr Tim Yeomans, Shannon ABC Technology Gateway Manager encourages companies to consider collaborating with Shannon ABC and highlights how co-location can be beneficial for all involved.

“The collaboration between MTU and TUS in terms of Shannon ABC is one of real substance – researchers, students and business development staff work under the banner of Shannon ABC, whether the work is done in MTU or TUS is irrelevant; the key thing is that the project is delivered. Companies often may not realise that part of their work was carried out at one or other location, other times this capability may be the reason that a company chooses to work with us. The capabilities across both sites are incredibly complementary and it is hugely satisfying when joint projects are delivered successfully, only having been possible from having access to both sites“ 

Find out more about Shannon ABC here. You can also follow them on Twitter and LinkedIn for all the latest news. 

Industrial Photonic Sensing for Spectral Fingerprinting

Why light is so good for sensing

The application of light for sensing all phases, solid, liquid and gas is due to the many ways in which light interacts with the world around us. Light is a form of electromagnetic radiation, waves of different energies. The visible light we see in our everyday lives is a tiny fraction of the range of electromagnetic radiation available to us through technological advancements. We cannot sense radio waves, a form of electromagnetic radiation, in a room. However, if someone turns on a radio, we then recognize their presence and know they are around us. If our eyes detected radio waves, it would be of little use, as radio waves can travel through walls and we would just keep on hitting solid objects, because we just would not see them, as the waves do not interact with walls. However, when put to the right job, radio waves can be extremely useful in sensing. Significantly, in astronomy where they have been used to discover pulsars and quasars. Our bodies are sources of electromagnetic radiation, in what is known as the infrared (IR) region.  

Our eyes also cannot detect IR radiation and for good reason. IR is strongly absorbed by atmospheric gases and struggles to penetrate through air, compared to visible radiation. The world around us would be very dark as all the IR light is blocked by just gas. The opposite of radio waves, we would see barriers all around us blocking light and we would not be able to tell the difference between air and a wall. 

However, because of this strong interaction of IR with gases, this region of the electromagnetic spectrum is extremely powerful for detecting trace amounts of pollutants, such as ammonia and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), in the atmosphere. Just like our eyes evolved to select visible light for a purpose, at CAPPA, we select a certain region of the electromagnetic spectrum to serve your purpose of sensing.  

The Light Fingerprint 

Electromagnetic radiation is a form of wave, where shorter wavelengths have higher energy. Depending on the wavelength of the light and the structure or location of the molecule, light can be absorbed, and the molecule is energetically excited. This excitation is the crucial fingerprint, where light can excite a molecule to vibrate, rotate, translate or to move an electron. With sufficient energy, light can also remove an electron totally from the molecule or dissociate molecules. If light is polarized, we can also select the direction the molecule points. To form a visualization of this, exchange a gaseous methane molecule to a human. Methane molecules compromise four hydrogen atoms and a carbon atom, with the carbon located at the centre and the hydrogen atoms distributed around. In comparison, a human has four limbs (arms and legs) located around a centred torso. When visualising our control over methane with light, exchange the methane molecule with a human. By selecting a specific wave of light, we can control the human to move selected limbs in/out, arms or legs, (vibrational excitation) or rotate limbs/torso at different speeds (rotational excitation) or translate (translational excitation). With polarization, we can turn the human to look in a particular direction. Knowledge of the wavelengths of light, which produce these effects, which is exceptionally dependent on structure, is the fingerprint we use to identify the molecule. 

Detection of Fingerprint  

Knowing the location of the fingerprint in the electromagnetic spectrum is important but we also need to know how to take advantage of this interaction with light. There are several ways to identify the existence of the interaction. In all cases, a suitable light source is needed. CAPPA has a large collection of light sources with complimentary benefits. Table 1 illustrates a full list of available light sources.  

Energy increases with decreasing wavelength; therefore, shorter wavelengths have the highest energy interaction, i.e. electronic excitation. These occur in the ultraviolet (UV) region, <400 nm<400 nm (where [Equation] is wavelength) and visible (VIS), 400 nm <<780 nm400 nm <<780 nm. With increasing wavelength vibrational transitions become dominant, in the Near-Infrared (NIR), 780 nm <<1400 nm780 nm <<1400 nm, and shortwave infrared (SWIR), 1400 nm <<2500 nm1400 nm <<2500 nm. At longer wavelengths, vibrational interactions remain strong and rotational transitions become more resolvable, in what is known as the Mid-Infrared, 2.5 μm <<11 μm2.5 μm <<11 μm.

The light sources illuminate the sample and if the target species is present, the absorption or scattering of light can be detected, both directly and indirectly. 

In direct detection, the light intensity reflected or transmitted by the sample is measured, using detectors such as Photodiode, MCT, InSb, bolometers or photo-multiplier tubes. In some cases, the interaction of light may be weak, e.g. where concentrations are very low, making signal change difficult to detect. Several techniques are employed to increase the strength of interaction, such as phase shift interferometry (PSI) and cavity enhanced absorption (CEA) techniques. In PSI, the transmitted signal is mixed with another light signal to improve the contrast in the change of signal. In CEA, the sample is placed inside a cavity composed of highly reflective mirrors, where light can be trapped. Consequently, light trapped inside the cavity can travel through the sample up to hundreds of thousands of times, greatly increasing the interaction path length.  

Direct absorption is the simplest technique, but not always the best. Sometimes, using indirect techniques can result in stronger signal, and importantly creates no signal when the sample is not present, in contrast to direct methods. Indirect methods involve measuring the relaxation processes occurring after light excitation. A molecule can relax in several procedures, including light emission and collisional. In fluorescence spectroscopy, light emitted by the sample after electronic excitation is a measure. Valuable information about the sample can be determined both by the timing of the emission and the wavelength of the emitted light. In photoacoustic spectroscopy, the excited molecule is cooled by collisions with neighbouring molecules, creating heating and consequently, sound waves. A microphone is used to measure the sound and the concentration of the sample can be calculated. In thermal imaging, IR light emitted directly by excited bodies is imaged. 

Industry Application  

Selecting the best light region, interaction and detection technique is a function of the sample type and location. Table 1 shows a sample list of the industries, in which different wavelength regions and detection techniques can be employed. Crucially, the expertise at CAPPA can be of assistance to select the best detection technique for your process or application.  

One such industry example is the Quantum Cascade Laser (QCL) light source. CAPPA has a QCL in the wavelength range short-wave infrared to medium wavelength infrared (SWIR – MIR). The output facet of the QCL is small enough that the light emitted can be imaged to a diffraction-limited spot, enabling the analysis of miniature targets, such as fibers or micro-defects, from long distances. The high power of the source also enables imaging of large areas, in both reflection and transmission modes, to study coatings, microplastics or protein distribution. The sharp linewidth, of approx. 3 MHz, allows application in trace, low concentration, gas sensing, using techniques such as wavelength modulation and photoacoustic spectroscopy. These valuable tools make the QCL applicable in a range of fields from agriculture, environment, energy, astronomy, electricity, pharmaceutical, biology and health.  

CAPPA has a wide range of industry experience in a variety of wavelengths, techniques and sectors. CAPPA offers a number of avenues for companies to explore photonics solutions to their development needs, offering services such as research, product development, process improvement and consultancy. CAPPA has worked with a variety of companies in sectors ranging from medical, device, pharmaceutical, telecommunications, consumer electronics, medical diagnostics, analytical equipment, baby products, semiconductors, fragrance, food and beverage. 

CAPPA have worked on a variety of projects including development of a swallowable capsule for detection of intestinal bleeding, FTIR and Raman analysis of cheese maturity for Four Star Pizza, UV irradiance, dose and flow characterisation of air sterilization appliance, UVC (254nm) irradiance and dose measurements on mobile room sterilizer, in-depth processing and analysis of heard data, and R&D for an advanced optical inspection system.  


The electromagnetic spectrum is the most powerful diagnostic tool we have. Using light, we have found ways to do everything from determining the age of the universe, the concentration of sulphur hexafluoride in the atmosphere down to the parts-per-trillion level and the location of a broken bone in a body. Even so, presently there are more and more applications of light being found. Light is revolutionizing areas such as communication and energy. At CAPPA, we want to highlight the opportunities light creates to Irish enterprises. 

You can learn more about the facilities available at CAPPA here and more about the service offering available for various industries here. 


10 common questions about Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateways

What is the Technology Gateway Network? 

Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway Network is a programme in partnership with Technological Universities and Institutes of Technology co-financed by the Government of Ireland and the European Union through the ERDF Southern, Eastern & Midland Regional Programme 2021-27 and the Northern & Western Regional Programme 2021-27. Each Gateway provides an important service to Irish industry, not only within its own region but nationwide, by providing key assistance and expertise to companies with research, development, or innovation problems or projects across a broad range of sectors, focusing on key technology areas aligned to industry needs. 

How can I work with the Network?
The Network is open to companies of any size so whether you’re a start-up, SME, or multinational, our dedicated Technology Gateway managers and staff are available to assist with all aspects of your R&D or Innovation project. 

Do I need to be an Enterprise Ireland client?
No, the Technology Gateway Network is open to all Irish companies, you do not need to be a client of Enterprise Ireland to collaborate. 

My project requirements are small, can I work with the Network? 

Yes! Whether it is a small, relatively straightforward €1,500 project or a longer, more detailed €200,000 Innovation Partnership project, the Network will provide the relevant resources to complete your project on time and within budget. 

How do I know which Gateway to contact? 

The Network is designed so that you can discuss the initial investigative stages with your regional Gateway Manager. They will take you through the process, available funding options and arrange an introduction to the Gateway most suited to your project. However, if you have already identified the most suitable Gateway, you can contact the Gateway Manager directly. 

What can I expect when working with a Gateway? 

Within each Gateway, a Gateway Manager and a team of specific business development researchers and engineers act as the key contact points and manage the successful delivery of projects. The Technology Gateway network has the expertise of over 300 industry-focused researchers, with the specialist equipment and facilities of four Technological Universities, (ATU, MTU, TUD and TUS) and one Institute of Technology (DKIT), so there is a lot of advice and help on offer. Gateway Managers work closely with their Gateway team to ensure projects are delivered on time and on budget. 

How should I prepare for my initial meeting with a Gateway? 

Innovation can be daunting, but knowing your audience, researching the supports available and considering the positives gained, is a step in the right direction. If you are coming to the Network with a specific problem to be addressed, its useful to have as much background information as possible. This will allow the Gateway team to assess the best way forward. The team can also help you in drafting a project plan for your proposal and are happy to provide guidance and help at all stages of the process.  

Can I avail of the resources of more than one Gateway at a time?
Yes, the unique selling point is our network structure. Our Gateways frequently work collaboratively on innovation projects. If your project requires the expertise of additional Gateways this will be organised by your lead Gateway manager. 

Am I eligible to apply for funding? 

The Network offers a range of Enterprise Ireland funding options to suit companies of all sizes. Current funding mechanisms available include Innovation Vouchers, Innovation Partnerships and the Agile Innovation Fund. Companies can also fund the research themselves. Some terms and conditions may apply in respect of some funding options but Gateway teams will explain in detail the requirements and process. Further information on all supports can be found here. 

What is a Technology Gateway cluster? 

Three Technology Gateway Clusters have been developed to enhance the level of collaboration within the Network. Since 2016 these industry focused research & development clusters have specialised in the areas of Internet of Things (Applied IoT), Engineering, Materials & Design (EMD Ireland) and Food & Beverage technologies (Irish Food Tech). The clusters provide a one stop shop for industry by providing access to research and engineering professionals, equipment and expertise through a single point of contact.  The cluster can aid with greatly reducing time to market by providing the necessary resources and equipment to develop new and innovative near-to market solutions in a timely manner.

Companies wishing to collaborate with the Technology Gateway Network can contact the team for more information.  



What to expect when collaborating with EMD Ireland

The Engineering, Materials, and Design (EMD) Ireland cluster of the Enterprise Ireland Technology Gateway provides specialised technical support, guidance, and assistance to Irish companies of all sizes. For companies wishing to acquire knowledge in research, development, and innovation, EMD Ireland can provide vast experience in the implementation of close-to-market solutions. 

Who are EMD Ireland?   

EMD Ireland consists of seven Technology Gateways specialising in areas such as energy, precision engineering, polymers, protective coatings, prototype design, medical imaging technologies and 3D medal additive manufacturing. With skills, knowledge, and expertise in a variety of industries, the EMD Ireland team strives to equip Irish businesses with the essential aids and supports to advance the growth of RD&I throughout Ireland. 

Companies who choose to work with EMD Ireland benefit from the use of the extensive linked resources available, resulting in a more unified and timely approach to innovation. The team of Gateway Managers and Business Development researchers and engineers works on both large and small projects with a diverse spectrum of clients. You do not need to be a client of Enterprise Ireland to collaborate with the cluster.  Collaboration within the cluster is key, allowing continuous transfer of shared skills and experiences within the cluster, a benefit which can unlock many doors for Irish businesses. Companies also benefit from an availability of professional guidance and expertise, flexibility in approach, and a high degree of cluster member engagement. Companies frequently discover that the cluster becomes a crucial extension of their total R&D capabilities during the product development process. 

What to expect? 

Every innovation journey starts with the creation of a new idea or the acknowledgement of an existing problem within a product or process. All 16 Gateways have a dedicated manager, business development staff and team of researchers and engineers who act as key contact points for industry. If you know which Gateway is the most suitable for your project, make contact with the relevant Gateway Manager, if not your regional Gateway Manager will be able to assist in referring you to the most appropriate Gateway.  

At this early stage the team will work with you to outline your company need. Should your project require expertise from multiple gateways, this transition will be managed in-house by your lead gateway, aiding in process efficiency as well as adherence to financial and timetable expectations.  

Funding and supports can often be critical in allowing a company to proceed with a project. A discussion will take place detailing the various funding options open to you, providing detail on the application process and eligibility for funding. Companies often find funding applications stressful, don’t worry our Gateway teams are here to help every step of the way with support, guidance and advice on submitting your application. 

You can also expect to discuss deliverables and timelines. Agreeing on deliverables at this stage means there will be no unexpected surprises further along the road. It also ensures the project runs smoothly, on time and on budget.  

Once everything is in place and funding has been approved, your project will commence on the start date agreed and will be managed throughout by your lead Gateway team, who will also update you on how your project is progressing. You will be informed when your project has been completed and provided with the agreed outcome as laid out in the project deliverables. 

How can you get started?  

The cluster has a dedicated support office and team to help with your companies’ individual needs. If you have an idea for a new product, service or process or are experiencing difficulties with an existing process, get in touch with us to see how we can assist you in developing an innovative solution.  



Technology Gateways in your region: Midlands / Mid-West

Do you need Research, Development & Innovation assistance for a project, process or service that you are currently working on? Are you unsure where to start? Often the first step is getting in touch with those who can help. 

Enterprise Ireland has a network of Technology Gateways, based in Technological Universities and Institutes of Technology around the country. Providing innovation, assistance, funding support, know-how, and guidance for companies and businesses throughout the country. The Midlands and Mid-West region has a wide range of expertise available for companies to access through the network and is home to three Technology Gateway centres that provide specialities in engineering surface technology, microsensors, renewable energy, and other sectors at the TUS Athlone and Limerick campuses. With a wide range of advice and information accessible, funding from Enterprise Ireland, the combination of expertise and talent is unsurpassed. 


APT Technology Gateway (Applied Polymer Technologies) 

APT Technology Gateway is situated at Technological University of the Shannon: Athlone Campus and provides Polymer solutions, product development assistance, and troubleshooting capabilities for organizations that use plastics materials. 

APT provides clients with access to world-class R&D infrastructure, experience, and resources, both locally and nationally. Collaboration with industry to solve difficult challenges, give R&D support, and ease technology transfer to businesses. 

The Gateway provides all industrial collaborators with access to  facilities and expertise available at TUS via the Materials Research Institute MRI and the larger Gateway network, as well as assistance in accessing diverse funding models to generate innovative solutions to drive sustainability, support exports, and job creation. 


Pilot and Production scale Injection Moulding, Blow Moulding, Thermoforming, Extrusion and Compounding equipment and knowledge. 

  • Advanced Analytical Facilities for materials research, testing and troubleshooting. 
  • Design, Rapid Prototyping, Insert Tooling and Micro-Moulding Capabilities 
  • Unrivalled Polymer Materials Formulation and Development Expertise 

COMAND Technology Gateway  

COMAND Technology Gateway situated at Technological University of the Shannon: Athlone Campus provides industry-focused technology solutions for the software industry across different media platforms. 

The Gateway focuses on the research and development of future interactive media technologies such as cross-platform apps, mobile media cloud, 3D sensing, and Internet of Things interoperability. These technologies are complementary and, when combined, create the opportunity for new and innovative forms of “connected media” – personalised, real-time, interactive applications – in a variety of commercial fields such as telecommunications, gaming, television, e-health, e-learning, e-tourism, e-retailing, entertainment, and digital marketing. The purpose of COMAND is to transmit these innovations to industry in order to maximize economic gain. 


  • Cloud media platform: leverage media processing in the cloud and end user 
  • Media systems: intelligent and cross-platform multimodal development 
  • User interfaces: multimodal interfacing 
  • Real-time data analytics 
  • Interoperability of the Internet of Things (IoT) 


SHANNON ABC Technology Gateway 

Shannon ABC Technology Gateway, based in Technological University of the Shannon: Limerick Campus,  was founded to assist businesses in maximizing the value of bioresources. For over ten years Shannon ABC have worked with Irish food and beverage businesses to help them develop new products, enhance current ones, and improve procedures.

The majority of their food and beverage research is devoted to developing new ingredients and analyzing their effects. Primary research conducted is designed to be use-inspired research, or research having an application in mind. Shannon ABC is also a member of Irish Food Tech cluster, a group of Technology Gateways active in the Food and Drink industry, and collaborates with Food@LIT to offer consumer-facing services for Food and Drink enterprises. 


Shannon ABC can support companies from raw material to final product: 

  • New product development
  • Ingredient screening
  • Technology review
  • Bioactivity testing
  • Microbiological testing
  • Analytical testing
  • Process development and analysis
  • By-product valorisation
  • Shelf-life testing
  • Sensory analysis
  • Consumer studies
  • Food labeling/claims

For additional information on our Gateways or previous projects, check out our Network page and case studies section.