29th June 2018: Professor John Boland, Investigator in SFI Research Centre AMBER, and School of Chemistry, Trinity College Dublin, has been awarded an Outstanding Researcher Award from the Intel Corporate Research Council (CRC). It is the fourth time the award has been given to a researcher in Ireland.

The award will be presented today in Trinity College by Dr. Michael Mayberry, the Chief Technology Officer for Intel Corporation, Managing Director of Intel Labs, and Head of the Intel CRC. These awards, which are considered annually by the 18 Strategic Research Segments (SRS) which make up the CRC, recognise only outstanding university research collaborations. The recipients must have demonstrated a high level of innovation at enabling the understanding, or solving of major technology roadblocks.  In addition, the award is only given to researchers within an Institute that have exhibited a close relationship with Intel, leading to student hiring, which has been the case over many years with AMBER and the CRANN Institute.

Professor Boland was given the award for revealing to the world in a Science publication in July 2017, a new insight into the behaviour of the building blocks of copper.  Professor Boland with AMBER researcher Dr. Xiaopu Zhang and an international team have shown that the granular building blocks in copper can never fit together perfectly, but are rotated causing an unexpected level of misalignment and surface roughness. This behaviour, which was previously undetected, applies to many materials beyond copper. Nanocrystalline metals such as copper are widely used as electrical contacts and interconnects within integrated circuits. This new understanding at the nanoscale will impact how these materials are designed, ultimately enabling more efficient devices, by reducing resistance to current flow and increasing battery life in hand-held devices.

“At Intel, we recognize the world-class work of Professor John Boland and his team, and also the many other activities that have been undertaken over the last fifteen years in collaboration with AMBER and CRANN.  We have cultivated an excellent research relationship, learn from each other, and appreciate the many fundamental insights that the teams discovered that help us make informed decisions regarding the future of semiconductor technology,” said Dr. Mayberry, Intel Labs.

Professor John Boland, Principal Investigator in AMBER and Trinity’s School of Chemistry, said, “I am very honoured to have received this award from Intel. It has been rewarding to see the impact of our research over the last 14 years translated into new technologies. This would not have been possible without our model of collaborative research engagement with Intel, from researchers-in-residence working in our labs to joint research challenges. I look forward to continuing this engagement with Intel in years to come”.

Professor Mick Morris, Director of AMBER and Professor in Trinity’s School of Chemistry, said, “I’d like to congratulate Professor Boland on this award. He has driven AMBER’s collaboration with Intel for many years and it is his research excellence and expertise in scanning tunnelling microscopy that has ensured new developments in the fundamental understanding of materials, which will ultimately benefit people, through new electronic devices, but also other areas such as medical implants and diagnostics. This award demonstrates both the excellence and also the quality of the research team that has been built in AMBER.”

Professor Boland has served as Trinity’s Vice President and Dean of Research at Trinity. He is a fellow of Trinity College and a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science. He was the Laureate of the 11th ACSIN Nanoscience Prize (2011) and was awarded a prestigious ERC Advanced Grant in 2013.