Chemistry PhD & Bachelors Degree in Nanomaterials.
Science Foundation Ireland Industry Research Fellow.
Award Winning Scientific Communication & Education.

Research - 3D Printing - Science Outreach & Education
Picture of Hugh.


Since learning about 3D printing I've been fascinated by the rapid development of additive manufacturing techniques. Building up a part layer by layer is a mesmerizing process and something which I considered straight out of science fiction.
I do research additive manufacturing, and I use additive manufacturing in my spare time, it's one of my favourite and most fulfilling hobbies. My FDM 3D printer was my best purchase, and I would really enourage anyone with a curiosity in 3D printing to pick one up. I bought a Creality Ender 3 for a little over €175 and it's been a gateway to a wealth of information, opportunities and self development. I've designed and printed, replacement parts, gifts, models, prototypes, jigs, fixtures, art pieces, functional pieces, research pieces.Suitcase With Customized Handle
My favourite 3D printed part has to be a customized replacement suitcase handle I designed and printed a few hours before catching a flight. In terms of material cost,the plastic filament used in printing the handle was around € 0.20 but it meant a new lease of life for an otherwise perfectly good suitcase which would have ended up being thrown out!

My Research in 3D Printing

Miroscope Image of a Metal 3D Printed Cube I'm very fortunate that my love of additive manufacturing extends out from my personal life and into my current area of research. I work with metal additive manufacturing and try to understand how to make parts more resiliant, reduce the amount of post-processing required, add additional functionality, and make them easier to adopt for industry! Metal additive manufacturing is a completely different beast to consumer level plastic filament based 3D printers. These machines use ultra fine metal powders (which are toxic, explosive and cling to everything) and high power lasers to melt the powder layer by layer here's a good youtube video that shows the process.

Additively manufactured parts, especially metal ones, generally need a few extra post-processing steps after they come out of the printer. Excess metal powder has to be carefully removed from the part, and the part has to be heated to a high temperature up to remove the stresses that build up in the part due to the laser selectively melting and the ensuing rapid cooling of those areas. The whole processes of building up a solid metal object from small powder particles like this using a laser is very unnatural, and we don't yet fully understand all the nuances involved in how the metal crystal structure is formed, and how we can control the propeties of the final part. If we can understand this, it opens up a huge amount of opportunities and applications!
The image below is taken with a Scanning Electron Microscope, a powerful instrument which takes pictures with electrons rather than photons (light). This means it can zoom in to thousands of times magnification and really let us see the finer detail of the structure of the part. SEM Image of a Metal 3D Printed Cube
As you can see, the surface of the metal cube is quite rough, and a lot of the metal powder hasn't fully melted together, this surface roughness is a problem and something we're looking to solve without having to using traditional subtractive machining.

An Introduction to Nano

Nanoscale. It's hard to imagine places we've never been to before. If I described a country to you, you may be able to imagine something based on places which are familiar to you. If I tried to describe the nanoscale to you, I may as well begin to describe an alien planet.
Imagine shrinking down to the width of a human hair, (a hair's width varies, but for this example we'll use 100 micrometres (μm) or 0.1 mm) congratulations, you're halfway to the nanoscale. Shrink yourself again, by a factor of a thousand, you're now 0.1 μm or 100 nanometres (nm).

Nano-dimensions Now, the type of nanomaterial you are, depends on what shape you are, if you're a little sphere, block, or blob around 100 nm in all your dimensions you're a zero-dimensional nanoparticle. If you're flat and stretch out in your other two dimensions, like a sheet of paper, you're a two-dimensional material, like graphene. However, if you happen to be one-dimensional, resembling a piece of uncooked spaghetti, you're a nanowire, and I think you're quite interesting.

My Research On Nanowires and Nanowire Networks

I make measurements using electricity and light on lots of different types of nanowires, I look at single nanowires and then a whole bunch of nanowires called a network. A network is useful because it means we can make new types of materials and coat surfaces with a mesh of the nanowires, "It's like throwing spaghetti at a plate" my Professor John J. Boland said, its actually a little more complicated. We spray the spaghetti nanowires onto the surface and let them randomly form a network. Depending on what material the nanowires are made out of, the network behaves in different and interesting ways.

NWN bending Silver and Copper nanowires form networks which are great and conducting electricity, and so small that they let lots of light past, these are called Transparent Conductors and they're a key component in displays, touch screens, solar cells, lighting and transparent heaters, we can spray our networks on plastic, whereas the materials we currently use behave like glass, this means we can make flexible versions the things I've just listed, making them cheaper and less likely to break when dropped!

Check out this article about my work at Into The Void Science Magazine!

I've written about our most recent paper putting the results in context, discusses the major findings and gives a hint at some applications!

My publications can be found through the following links.
  • 2021 Nanoscale
  • 2021 Chemical Engineering Journal
  • 2021 ACS Applied Nano Materials
  • 2020 Scientific Reports
  • 2020 Applied Physics Letters
  • 2020 Advanced Materials Interfaces
  • 2019 Scientific Reports
  • 2019 Scientific Reports
  • 2018 PhD Thesis
  • 2018 Journal of Applied Physics
  • 2018 Nature Communications
  • 2017 ACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
  • 2016 Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics
  • 2016 Advanced Electronic Materials
  • 2015 Nanoscale
  • 2015 ACS Nano

Science Outreach

"Dr Hugh Manning, Winner of I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here 2018, New Materials Zone"

I’m was so happy to have won I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here!, I cannot thank everyone who voted for me enough, I really enjoyed every moment of the event. I was very impressed with the enthusiasm and interest of the students and the quality of the questions. I must thank the organisers and moderators, everyone on the I’m a Scientist team was incredible and worked so hard behind the scenes to make the event run smoothly, I particularly liked all the Twitter interaction surrounding the event!
I don’t think I was quite prepared for the huge variety of questions, or the intense fast-paced nature of the online chats. Questions of all types came flooding in; from my favourite animal to my own hobbies to my interest in dinosaurs. What got me interested in science, what was my background, who supported me, what obstacles I’ve faced along the way and how long I’ve been a scientist. Why my specific area of research, nanomaterials, is important. What they are used for, how do we store them, see them and if I’ve ever lost any! This event is so important as it lets students experience first-hand that scientists are people too and a career in STEM is readily achievable if you have a love of science and a passion for knowledge.
I have to thank Science Foundation Ireland for sponsoring the zone and recognising the importance of science outreach and communication. I would also like to thank my colleagues in AMBER Trinity College Dublin, my family and my girlfriend for all their encouragement and support. My deepest commiserations go out to the other scientists in my zone who were brilliant to work with, I learned so much from their responses. I really enjoyed the diversity of not only the New Materials Zone, but the other zones, and the UK portion of the event. The whole experience was really fun. If anyone is interested in participating in I’m a Scientist, I would highly encourage them, you learn so much about yourself, and how others view you and your research area. It's a really rewarding experience!
Scientists! If you’d like the chance to win funding for your own public engagement work, apply for the next I’m a Scientist, Get me out of here:

My Own Journey
Hugh Outreach
My passion for science and nanoscience began in 2007 at TYPE , which is the Transition Year Physics Experience at Trinity College Dublin, it is a wonderful programme of events that introduce TY students to physics and the physicists at Trinity. I remember sitting in the Erwin Schrödinger (of Schrödinger's Cat) lecture theatre and listening to fascinating physics lectures. I remember travelling to dunsink observatory to learn about astrophysics, and completing a powerpoint poster on the topic of black holes with Joe Roche, a then Astrophysics PhD student. This week long experience seeded a nine year journey through Trinity college rewarding me with a BA(mod) in nanoscience and a PhD in Chemistry.
Levitating Graphite
It was once I started my PhD that I began to give lab tours, representing our research centre at the BT young scientist and working with Trinity Walton Club. Trinity Walton Club is a 30- week Science Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM) educational program hosted by Trinity College which challenges and inspires young adult's (13-17 year old) knowledge and skills. I led the Physics Walton 1 stream in 2016-2017 developing a range of challenging STEM sessions and activities that complement their national maths and science curricula and enrich their understanding of physics even further. The culmination of the three term experience was a showcase where the top 10 of 21 physics inspired projects / experiments were presented in poster form. Trinity Walton Club is such a fantastic program as it strives to support students to reach their potential and encourages them to one day become passionate, forward thinking innovators.

I also worked with Dr John O'Donoghue (RSC Education Coordinator) as an ambassador for Spectroscopy in a Suitcase, which gives secondary school students the chance to learn about spectroscopy through a hands-on experience. As well as covering the principles of spectroscopic techniques, the activities use real-life contexts to demonstrate the applications of the techniques. I traveled to secondary schools helped set up the spectroscopy and lab equipment and engaged with the students during the activity.

Click Here to View Some of my Award Winning Science Images

Contact Me

Want to get in touch with me? Feel free to drop me a line through any of the social media links below, or at
manninh (at) tcd (dot) ie