About Me

Jamie Somers · PhD in Physics · Trinity College Dublin

I’m Jamie, a first year physics PhD student at Trinity College Dublin. The focus of my research is Optics and Photonics, however I also have research experience in the areas of laser-induced breakdown spectroscopy and physical chemistry. The title of my PhD project is '3D Printing Next Generation Photonic Structures' and involves a non-linear optical process known as two-photon polymerization.

I am a first generation university student from a socio-economically disadvantaged area. I attended a DEIS primary and secondary school (schools recognised by the Irish Government as being at an educational disadvantage) and have taken part in many outreach programmes over the years. Despite coming from an area where less than 10% of residents obtain a third level degree1, I have managed to do remarkably well in my studies.

Due to my background in Physics, I am highly qualified in skills such as Problem Solving, Programming and I have 5 Years of laboratory experience.

If you'd like to find out more about me I have included some up to date information about my educational background and current research below.

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I completed a one year course in Pre-University Science which gave me a strong foundation across a wide variety of sciences from Physics and Chemistry to Microbiology and Anatomy and Physiology. This experience makes me an excellent scientist in any laboratory setting with certified laboratory skills.

Next, I decided to do a B.Sc (Hons) in Applied Physics at Dublin City University. This allowed me to focus primarily on learning the core concepts in physics while still getting the opportunity to learn about more practical applications of physics and the skills it teaches you, like 'Digital and Analogue Electronics' and 'Data Science & Databases'. During this time I got the opportunity to carry out research in a laser plasma research group and learn about the cutting edge research taking place in the area of atomic, molecular and optical physics.

Today I am a physics PhD student at Trinity College Dublin carrying out my own independent research in the area of optics and photonics under the supervision of Prof. Louise Bradley a photonics expert specialising in nanophotonics. I've spent a semester at the Imperial College of London studying under Dr Ali K. Yetisen, a chemical engineer and expert in developing biochemical sensors and optical devices for application in medical diagnostics and imaging. I will also work closley with and be trained by Liam O’Faolain, a photonics expert at the Tyndall National Institute a European research centre which is renowned for its world class research in the areas of both electronics and photonics.

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To date I have completed 3 research internships ranging from producing python code which automates the process of mapping characteristics of transparent conducting materials, working on an SEAI funded project on laser induced breakdown spectroscopy of wind turbines to Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy probing the chemical reaction and molecular dynamics of photoswitches.

I have also taken part in one research outreach project which aimed to teach secondary school students from disadvantaged backgrounds about the ethics of internet privacy and encourage them to reflect on future challenges they will likely face in a world which utilises artificial intelligence on a daily basis. This modular workshop is now open to all schools in the Republic of Ireland and is called AI in My Life.

As part of my degree, I took part in a work placement programme known as INTRA (INtegrated TRAining). The goal of INTRA is to enrich students' education through real-world experience, help them to develop transferable skills and ultimately enhance their employability. I chose to do an undergraduate research placement in the National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology (NCPST). The research group consisted of 3 postgraduate students working in the area of laser induced plasma, my job was to assist with the current experimentation going on in the lab before eventually setting up my own laser system similar to the one currently in use and carrying out my own independent experiments. During this placement I was also trained on how to use a Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) and Energy-Dispersive X-ray Spectroscopy (EDXS). I also helped write the code for and design the website used to update the SEAI and ESB on the status of the research project which is visible at LaserClean.ie. During this time I also contributed to the collection of results which ended up in a paper titled "Wind Turbine Contaminant Classification Using Machine Learning Techniques" which was published in Spectra Chemica Acta B.

In 2022, I won the Craig Lunte Scholarship which allowed me to spend the summer carrying out research at the University of Kansas - an R1 Doctoral University with very high research activity. This fellowship allowed me to acquire extensive international research experience as part of the Elles Research Group, a prestigious research group known for their work in the field of Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy in the area of Chemical Dynamics & Kinetic Modelling.

My final year undergraduate project was titled "Modelling Laser-Induced Dynamics in Next Generation Resist Materials for EUVL". It involved the use of High Performance Computing and Quantum Chemistry Program ORCA to simulate laser-induced dynamics on molecules we thought could be useful as photoresists in the Extreme Ultraviolet Lithography process. You can find the full copy of my dissertation on my Lab Reports page.

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If you'd like to keep up with me this is a website I update regularly with my most recent watches, reads and listens. I also include a list of my current side projects, hobbies and volunteering.

Thank you for taking the time to read a little bit about me. If you would like to stay in touch you can connect with me at the links below.

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