News & Blog


We are delighted to bring you this 2nd annual newsletter from the EU-funded RADICAL project, which is now halfway through its four-year lifespan. 

Our coordinator, Professor Justin Holmes from University College Cork (UCC), shares this welcome:

“Welcome to the second RADICAL project newsletter!

The aim of our project is to develop an electrical sensor for detecting atmospheric radicals. Radicals are important for controlling the quality of the air we breathe. Currently, only a few labs world-wide can detect atmospheric radicals at low concentrations and the equipment used by these groups is often expensive, complex and immobile. In contrast, the sensors we are developing in RADICAL will be simple and portable. Find out more in our “About RADICAL” article on page 2.

We are often asked about the current state-of-the-art for radical detection, and how our sensor fits into this mix. Dr Adrien Gandolfo, atmospheric chemist at University College Cork (UCC), gives an overview of the current methodologies in his article “The Challenge of Measuring Radicals in the Atmosphere” (page 5), and Professor Victor Chechik, University of York, describes the latest lab-based radical detection techniques, as well as his group’s recent efforts on RADICAL in his article “Tuning the RADICAL sensor to detect free radicals” (page 8). In this article we also highlight the key computational modelling work done by the National Technical University of Athens, which guides us in our selection of the most promising sensing molecules.

2022 has seen us fully back in the lab after Covid restrictions, and our scientific progress on RADICAL has been exciting.

Our partners at Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) in Germany have achieved a key sensor fabrication milestone, enabling our groups in Cork and York to start functionalising and testing our sensors for radical detection. Find out more in the article on page 4.

Over in Ireland, the UCC team has been testing a range of nanowire arrays and 2D surfaces for the gas sensing capabilities, both with and without surface functionalisation. We’ve seen some promising initial results towards NO2 detection, which you can read more in our article on page 10.

Our atmospheric chemists at UCC have also been busy setting up and characterising the brand-new Irish Atmospheric Simulation Chamber on campus, including creating numerical models for how the chamber influences radical reactions. Read more in our article “UCC prepares new Irish Atmospheric Simulation Chamber for radical detection experiments” on page 7.

In-person events and conferences have also returned, and it’s been a true pleasure to bring the RADICAL team together for two project meetings in 2022, in Cork, Ireland and Sofia, Bulgaria. All conference presentations are available for open access download through in the links in our “Recent Events” section on page 12.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, we are actively seeking feedback on future applications of this RADICAL sensor. In return, we can offer a one-to-one virtual tour of the atmospheric chemistry facilities at University College Cork. Find out more on how to get involved on page 16 or send us an email (

As always, follow our ongoing progress through Twitter, LinkedIn, and on our website:”


Justin Holmes, RADICAL Coordinator and Professor of Nanochemistry at University College Cork

Download our second RADICAL project newsletter for updates on our progress in the first year, as well as recent blogs, team profiles, and events.

The RADICAL newsletter is issued annually in October between 2021 and 2024.

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The newsletter was designed by the Creative Services team at UCC Academy.

Follow our progress with RADICAL