Tyndall National Institute

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Tyndall National Institute is a leading European research centre in integrated ICT (Information and Communications Technology) hardware and systems. Specialising in both electronics and photonics – materials, devices, circuits and systems – we are globally leading in our core research areas of:

  • Smart sensors and systems
  • Optical communication systems
  • Mixed signal and analog circuit design
  • Microelectronic and photonic integration
  • Semiconductor wafer fabrication
  • Nano materials and device processing

Central to our mission is delivering economic impact through research excellence. We work with industry and academia to transform research into products in our core market areas of electronics, communications, energy, health, agri-food and the environment. We generate approximately €30m in income each year, with over 85% coming from competitively won contracts.

With a network of over 200 industry partners and customers worldwide, we are focused on delivering real impact from our excellent research. Our ambitious 5-year strategic plan sets out a clear strategy to create employment and build critical mass within the Irish technology space.

As the national institute for photonics and micro/nanoelectronics and a research flagship of UCC, the institute employs 500 researchers, engineers and support staff, including 120 full-time graduate students. Together we generated 270 peer-reviewed publications in 2016.

Our institute hosts the only full Silicon CMOS, Micro-Electro Mechanical Systems (MEMS) and III-V Semiconductor Wafer fabrication facilities and services in Ireland. We are experts at designing, miniaturising and prototyping products to drive connectivity.

At Tyndall, we deliver research and innovation in Europe with local and global impact. Since the launch of Horizon 2020 in 2014, we have participated in 39 projects with total value of €250m, from which the European Commission contributes 70% and the balance is largely matched by industry partners. The investment in our activities from these projects is over €22m, with an additional €18m going to our Irish partners, including €11m to industry.

We are the lead institute for the Irish Photonics Integration Centre (IPIC) and European Space Agency (ESA)Space Solutions Centre Ireland. We host industry aligned research centres; Microelectronic Circuits Centre Ireland (MCCI)International Energy Research Centre (IERC); the Centre for Future Networks and Communications (CONNECT) and the recently launched CONFIRM Centre for Smart Manufacturing.


Our state-of-the-art research facilities comprises six floors, including basement, laboratory, plant and open atrium space totaling c.5,600m2 in area. The research building accommadates, under one roof, research into advanced materials, device fabrication, packaging and integration and their translation into practical, industrially-relevant systems. The unique capability to introduce new materials into the silicon fabrication environment is essential to support Irish companies in their development of new emerging technologies and high-value products.

The existing site comprises the Lee-Maltings Complex and some UCC teaching facilities. The site is a protected structure and consists of a number of buildings of varying age. The complex is bounded on its north side by the River Lee, on the west side by the Presentation College and on its south and east sides by Dyke Parade and Prospect Row.

The form of the Research Building stems primarily from its scientific and servicing requirements, as well as its relationship to the existing buildings and site. Three floors of flexible laboratory space were built over a tall ground floor and basement, which contains the specialist clean room areas. 

The atrium street links the laboratory building at all levels to the existing ‘Maltings’ Building. The internal street leads into the heart of the existing buildings and has become the primary artery of the Tyndall National Institute, a lively space where people will meet and mix informally. 

The scientific requirements of the brief led to an extensive requirement for plant, air handling, cooling, specialist gas distribution etc. The primary concept for the plant has been to localise air handling on each floor in the stone faced gables of the building and to distribute central chilling from the roof level downward. Extract ventilation and other specialist services such as R.O. water are fed from the top down. The structure for the new building is in reinforced concrete, giving mass, stability and low vibration, sitting on piled foundations. The sun shading is in cedar with support system in aluminium. The materials are a natural granite stone in red colour giving a heavily contrasting finish to the smoothness of the grey metal panels and simplicity of the atrium in clear glass.

Our central fabrication facilities consist of three distinct cleanroom spaces; 250m2 of class 1,000 and class 10 for silicon fabrication, 750m2 of class 10,000 and class 100 for MEMS and compound semiconductor fabrication and 40m2 of class 1000 for e-beam lithography. Tyndall's flexible fabrication offering - FlexiFab, is in a unique position to allow for greater material exchange between the fabrication areas, whilst maintaining protocols to avoid cross contamination.

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