Professor John Costello,

B.Sc., Ph.D., C.Phys., F.Inst.P, M.Eur.Phys.Soc

ORCID: 0000-0003-4677-9999

ResearcherID: L-8011-2017

Scopus Author ID: 7201995887



Postal Address:

Room N233, School of Physics

Dublin City University,


Dublin 9.

Tel:          +353-1-7005304 (Physics)

Fax:          +353-1-7005384




Current Position:

Professor of Physics and SFI/SEAI/EU PI, School of 

Physical Sciences and NCSPT, Dublin City University



DCU Career History:

University Roles

2011 – 2016: Dean of the Faculty of Science and Health

2009 – 2011: (Acting) Associate Dean (Research) – Faculty of Science and Health

2004 – 2009: Head of the School of Physical Sciences


Academic Ranks

2014 – Present: Full Professor

2005 – 2014: Associate Professor

1990 – 2005: Senior Lecturer

1987 – 1990: Lecturer

1984 – 1987: Assistant Lecturer


DCU Awards

President’s Research Award Winner 2017




1980 – 1986: PhD in Laser Plasma Physics (UCD)

1976 – 1980: BSc in Experimental Physics (UCD)

1966 – 1976: Westland Row Christian Brothers Primary and Secondary School – WR CBS – see the PPU page here




Professional Body Memberships:

Institute of Physics – IOP (Fellow and Chartered Physicist)

European Physical Society – EPS (Member)




National/ International Research Board Memberships

Current Memberships

1. EPSRC Peer Review College

2. Institute of Physics (IOP) Fellowship Panel

3. Editorial Board of the Optics and Lasers section of Applied Sciences (MDPI)

4. Editorial Board of the Journal of Modern Optics (JMO) – Taylor & Francis

5. Founder and current International Advisory Board member of the I-SWAMP (Intense-field Short Wavelength Atomic and Molecular Processes) workshop series

6. Scientific Advisory Council of the Centre for Atomic, Molecular and Optical Sciences and Technologies (CAMOST), IIT/IISER (Tirupati)

7. Member and Vice-Chair of the European XFEL SQS Proposal Review Panel 



Other External Roles

1. External Examiner (All Physics Programmes) University College Cork (UCC)



Former National and International Boards/ Committees

1. Chair Steering Committee, European Fusion Development Association (EFDA) for Ireland

2. Committee Member IOP Atomic and Molecular Interactions Group (AMIG)

3. Committee Member of the Institute of Physics (in Ireland)

4. Honorary Treasurer of the Institute of Physics (in Ireland)

5. Board Member of the European Group for Atomic Spectroscopy

6. Member International Advisory Board, Highly Charged Ions Conference Series

7. Member International Advisory Board, University of  Manchester Photon Science Institute

8. Committee Member of ANREST

9. Editorial Board of the Journal of Atomic, Molecular and Optical Physics (JAMOP) – Hindawi Publishing Corporation


DCU Board/Committee Memberships:


1. School of Physical Sciences Teaching Committee

2. DCU Research Infrastructure Executive Committee

3. Faculty Research Committee



1. Academic Council

2. Faculty Executive Group (Chair)

3. Faculty Management Board (Chair)

4. Faculty Research Committee (Chair)

5. Faculty Teaching Committee

6. Faculty Health and Safety Committee

7. Faculty Chair Committee (Chair)

8. DCU Full Economic Costing Steering Group

9. DCU Senior Management Group

10. DCU Executive

11. DCU GAA and Athletics Academies

12. DCU Academic Promotions Committee

13. DCU Women in Leadership Steering Group

14. DCU Research Advisory Panel

15. DCU Graduate Studies Board

16. DCU University Research Committee

17. Office of the VP Research - Sustainability Working Group

18. Search Committee for President DCU 2010 - 2020

19. DCU Foresight Panel

20. DCU Mentorship Working Group

21. DCU Teaching Quality Evaluation and Enhancement (TQEE) WG

22. DCU India Working Group

23. DCU Research Infrastructure Advisory Committee (Chair)





20-09-2021 Iris Apale and Cian McGirr have joined as Year 4 project students. Iris will work on VUV photoabsorption of laser ablated diatomics like CsI using the dual laser plasma (DLP) technique. She will analyze ion spectra using the Cowan code suite. Cian will use the ORCA quantum chemistry code to study corresponding molecular spectra.



16-07-2021 Dr. Lazaros Varvarezos has published a paper in Chemical Physics Letters on Ionization–Dissociation of Methane with Conor Long (DCU) and SQS group at the European XFEL -



13-07-2021 Sadaf Syedah Zehra defended her thesis successfully this afternoon. Many congrats to her and many thanks to co-supervisors, Dr. Paddy Hayden, now Assistant Professor in UCD physics, and Prof. Piergiorgio Nicolosi of UniPD. Thanks also to external examiner Prof. Jose Vadillo of the University of Malaga, internal examiners Prof. Colette McDonagh and Prof. Giampiero Naletto and viva chair Assoc. Prof. Lampros Nikolopoulos.



21-06-2021 John Costello has been invited to deliver a plenary talk at the 11th EMSLIBS in Gijón, Spain (Nov. 29th to Dec. 2nd, 2021). The talk will centre on Vacuum-UV Photoabsorption of Atoms and Ions with Laser Induced Plasmas.



11-06-2021 Muhammad Bilal Alli defended his thesis successfully this morning. Many congrats to him and his main supervisor, Dr. Paddy Hayden, now Assistant Professor in UCD physics. External examiner, Prof. Philip Martin, internal examiner, Assoc Prof. Paul van Kampen and viva chair, Assoc. Prof. Blanaid White.



31-05-2021 Irish Apale has completed her internship with the research group. She is moving to Twilio for the remainder of her ‘INTRA’ year. We thank Irish for her work with the group and wish her well in her new role in the private sector.



28-05-2021 We recently visited the ESB Wind Farm at Raheenleagh. There is a picture of the group here on Twitter. The DCU Physics and UCD Physics collaboration is funded by, and in collaboration with, the SEAI and the ESB.



25-03-2021 John Costello has received an ‘Outstanding Reviewer’ award from the IOP (Institute of Physics). The list of awardees can be found here.



24-03-2021 Sadaf Syedah Zehra submitted her thesis entitled “Time Resolved and Time Integrated VUV LIBS for the Detection of Light Elements in Metals” for examination in respect of the award of a joint doctorate between DCU and UniPD. Sadaf is part of the EU EMJD programme EXTATIC that was funded by the EU agency EACEA.




24-03-2021 Muhammad Bilal Alli submitted his thesis entitled “Vacuum Ultraviolet Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (VUV-LIBS) For Pharmaceutical Analysis” for examination in respect of the award of a PhD degree.



17-03-2021 John Costello has been designated a ‘Trusted Reviewer’ by the IOP (Institute of Physics). Details on the scheme are here.



26-02-2021 Dr. Lazaros Varvarezos has published a paper in the Physical Review A on non-linear ionization of Kr with the FLASH FEL collaboration -



18-02-2021 Irish Apale has joined the research group as an intern. She is working on atomic structure calculations (using the Cowan suite of codes) for metal ions of potential interest in nanoparticle based EUVL resist materials.



18-01-2021 The latest paper from our collaboration at X-ray Free Electron Lasers (XFELs) was published in Nature Physics - The background story to the work is at - The preprint is on ARXIV at:



18-12-2020 The AAMOS20 online conference om AMO physics hosted by DSU, IIT&IISER Tirupati, in honour of Steve Manson’s more than 50 years of contributions to the field ended today. The full 5 days have been recorded and are available at the following Youtube links:

Session 1 :

Session 2 :

Session 3 :

Session 4 :

Session 5 :



15-09-2020 Hu Lu successfully defended his doctoral thesis on “UV and VUV Photoionization of Some Metal Atoms and Ions” today. The degree will be awarded jointly by DCU and UniPD. Hu Lu is part of the EU EMJD programme EXTATIC that was funded by the EU agency EACEA.



14-08-2020 Today the Centre for Atomic, Molecular and Optical Sciences and Technologies (CAMOST), IIT/IISER (Tirupati) was inaugurated by Dr. Arabinda Mitra, Scientific Secretary, Office of the Principal Scientific Advisor to Government of India. The centre is the initiative of Prof. Pranawa Deshmukh and I’m delighted to be a member of its Scientific Advisory Board. The event was recorded - – the event starts about 10 minutes into the video.



13-07-2020 Just completed our beamtime at the FERMI Free Electron Laser at the ELETTRA facility in Trieste studying ultrafast photoion and photoelectron spectroscopy of impulsively aligned C2H2. Click here.



07-07-2020 I am delighted to announce that Stephen Durkan and Ross McGarry will join myself and colleague Associate Professor Mary Pryce as PhD students on a newly funded SFI Frontiers for the Future Programme (FFP) Project focused on EUV Lithography. Welcome Stephen and Ross.



07-07-2020 I am delighted to announce that James Campbell, Séamus Cummins and Ross Murray will join myself and UCD colleagues Prof Padraig Dunne and Dr Paddy Hayden as PhD students on a newly funded SEAI Research, Development and Demonstration (RDD) Project focused on laser ablation for wind energy generation. Welcome James, Séamus and Ross



17-06-2020 The MUT Council has today approved the DC recommendation that Lazaros Varvarezos be awarded the joint doctorate. Congrats Dr. Varvarezos.



10-06-2020 Lazaros Varavrezos has defended his doctoral thesis successful both in DCU and MUT as part of the EXTATIC joint doctorate programme. His name goes forward with a positive recommendation to IOE-MUT Council on Wednesday 17th June, 2020. Congratulations to ‘Ares’ on his superb work, thesis, private and public defenses.



10-01-2020 Our SEAI funded project on Laser Ablation for Wind Turbine Blade Contaminant Classification, Quantification and Removal has started. We are seeking 3 highly talented and accomplished students to join the project to pursue PhDs. Download a presentation on the associated projects here.



05-12-2019 Many congratulations to 2018-2019 final year project student (and now B.Sc. graduate in PBM) Pierre Murchan.  The Instrument Society of America (Ireland) Honours & Awards committee have selected Pierre Murchan for this year’s 2019 Hon’s Degree Award. A superb achievement by Pierre who is now a Master degree student at NUI Galway.



20-11-2019 Today Minister Minister for Communications, Climate Action and Environment, Richard Bruton TD announced €11M for 50 cutting-edge research, development and demonstration energy projects at the SEAI Energy Conference. Our project on laser ablation applied to wind turbines was amongst them.



22-10-2019. We have been awarded beamtime at the FERMI Free Electron Laser at the ELETTRA facility in Trieste, Italy following a competitive process. Our bid consortium stretches from the US west coast to Japan and we thank the members for collaborating on this proposal. The proposal concerns “Open Loop Control in the Photo-isomerization of the Acetylene Dication



10-09-2019 Ben Delaney submitted the final bound copies of his PhD thesis entitled “Imaging and Spectroscopy of Laser Produced Annular Plasmas” today. Ben will graduate at the November 7th ceremony.



31-07-2019 The proceedings of the 24th ICSLS conference have appeared in the IOP Journal of Physics Conference Series as Volume 1289. You can view all open access papers here. Editors John Costello (DCU), Paddy Hayden (UCD), Emma Sokell (UCD) and Peter van der Burgt (Maynooth Uni.).



11-06-2019 Prof. Vasudevan (Vengu) Lakshminarayanan, University of Waterloo, a fellow board member of the Journal of Modern Optics, gave a talk entitled “Biomedical Image Processing and Deep Learning for Ophthalmic Diagnosis” in the Adapt Centre today. Many thanks to colleague Prof. Andy Way for hosting the talk.



08-05-2019 Congratulations to Ben Delaney who successfully defended his PhD thesis today. Super work to demonstrate the generation of annular plasmas and how they can be used as a colliding plasma system. Wishing him all the best for his future career in lasers, optics and photonics.



12-03-2019 Take a look at the commentary published by Steve Manson and myself in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (USA) today on X-rays putting molecules into a spin -



21-02-2019 Congratulations to Stephen Davitt who won the Chancellor’s Medal which was awarded at the Spring Conferring Ceremony in DCU today. Great achievement. The lead nominator was CASTEL Director Eilish McLoughlin.



21-02-2019 Congratulations to Stephen Davitt who graduated PhD at the Spring Conferring Ceremony in DCU today.



20-03-2019 Congratulations to Lazaros Varvarezos who won 1st prize in the BOC sponsored poster competition in the DCU Physics Research Day. Lazaros is part of the EXTATIC Doctoral Programme. The early stage PhD student prizes were won by Adam Prior and Andrew Foremski, both students of colleague Dr. Lampros Nikolopoulos – a clean sweep for Laser and AMO physics.



02-03-2019 Congratulations to Ben Delaney who has secured a research engineer position in an EI funded project led by Dr. Fergal O’Reilly at University College Dublin. We wish Ben all the best in his new role.



01-02-2019 Congratulations to Stephen Davitt who has secured a postdoctoral position in an SFI funded project led by Prof. James Lunney and Dr. Rocco Lupoi at Trinity College Dublin. We wish Stephen all the best in his new role.



10-01-2019 Congratulations to Columb Doherty who has secured a scientist position in the State Forensics Laboratory. We wish him all the best in his new role.





Click here for old news items





TEACHING 2019-2020


Course(s) for 2016/17


Semester 1:  

PS407 Quantum Electronics – Laser Physics

Main text: Fundamentals of Photonics, B.E. Saleh and M. Teich (Wiley, 2nd edition, 2007)


Download PS407 1st section here


Download PS407 2nd section here


Download PS407 3rd section here


Download PS407 4th section here


Download PS407 5th section here


Download PS407 6th section here


Download PS407 7th section here


Download PS407 8th section here





PS451 Year 4 Physics Projects


PS258 Year 2 Physics Laboratory



Semester 2:

PS403 Digital Signal Processing

Main text: Digital Signal Processing with Computer Applications. Wolfgang Fuerst and Paul A. Lynn, Wiley.


Download PS403 1st section here



Download PS403 2nd section here



Download PS403 3rd section here



Download PS403 4th section here


Download PS403 5th section here


Download PS403 6th section here



Download PS403 7th section here


Download PS403 8th section here



PS451 Year 4 Physics Projects


PS259/260/261 Year 2 Physics Laboratory









160+ Refereed Publications


280+ Conference Abstracts


15+   Facility Reports


30+   Conference Papers


Nature Photonics News and Views Articles



PNAS Commentary


Various other contributions, e.g., to the Irish Scientist magazine.






Recent invited talks (up to 20 MB ppt/pdf files !!) given at:

CFEL Hamburg Colloqium on colliding plasmas, February 6th 2015. Download


School of Physics, University College Dublin, March 5th 2015. Download


4th CDAMOP, Delhi, March 12th, 2015. Download


 “The future of ion spectroscopy at FLASH”, DESY, Hamburg, June 2nd, 2015. Download


SFI schools talk [Download] given to Transition Year Students in:  

Magh Ene College, Bundoran, Co. Donegal, January 25th 2016-06-03


COST MP1208 Meeting, Belgrade, April 18th 2016 [Download]  


All Ireland Conference on Quantum Technologies, Maynooth University, June 1st 2016 [Download]  


Institute of Advanced Studies of the TUM, Munich 12th September 2016 [Download]  


SFI ISCA Ireland-Japan Workshop UCD November 4th 2016 [Download]  


CONUL – Consortium os National and University Libraries. Talk preceding discourse on Open Access, May 31st 2017 at CONUL 2017[Download]  


School of Physical Sciences, The Open University, UK, June 22, 2017 [Download]  


Photonics Ireland, Galway, September 13, 2017 [Download]  


Colloquium, Kassel University, Germany, December 14, 2017 [Download]


President’s Research Award Day, February 22, 2017 – View the talk here


COST Action CA17126 – TUMIEE, Porto, Portugal, March 4, 2019 [Download]


SEAI/SFI MaREI Workshop – Online from NUIG Galway, December 2, 2020 [Download]


Silver Jubilee Webinar Series, International School of Photonics (ISP), Cochin University of Science and Technology, India - March 19th 2021 [Download]Youtube link -







DESY/XFEL Users                Online from Hamburg (January 29 – 31, 2021)

47th IOP Plas Phys Div          Online from London (April 6 – 9, 2021)

9th Photonics Ireland             Online from Dublin (June 14 – 16, 2021)

32nd ICPEAC                       Online from Ottawa (July 20 – 23, 2021)

EOSAM 2021                        Rome, Italy (September 13 – 17, 2021)

Adv. Tech. Ind. 4.0                Online from Tokushima Uni., Japan (Nov. 8, 2021)

11th EMSLIBS                      Gijon, Spain (November 29 – December 2, 2021)

Seminar, CEITAC                 Brno, Czech Republic (December 8 – 10, 2021)



XFEL AMO PRP                   EuXFEL, Hamburg (Feb 17 – 19, 2020)

Trieste                                  FERMI@ELETTRA (May 12 – 13, 2020, IBT Training)

Trieste                                  FERMI@ELETTRA (Remote beamtime on July 8 – 12, 2020)

EuXFEL                                EuXFEL, Hamburg (May 20 – 25, 2020, - postponed to late 2020)

25th ICSLS                            Caserta, Italy (June 21 – 26, 2020, postponed to June 2021)

SFI MaREI W/shop               Online, NUI Galway, (December 2, 2020)

AAMOS20 Conference          Online from Tirupati, India (14 – 18, December 2020)



2nd All Ireland QT Meeting     Maynooth University (January 21, 2019)

XFEL Users Meeting             DESY, Hamburg (January 23 – 25, 2019)

JMO Board                            London (May 10, 2019)

UK FEL Town Hall                Royal Society, London (July 16, 2019)

5th ISWAMP Workshop         City University, Paris (July 20 – 22, 2019)

SFI Summit                           Hodson Bay Hotel, Athlone (November 7 – 8, 2019)

XFEL Frontiers Workshop     Imperial College, London (November 13, 2019)





Research Affiliations

Centre for Laser Plasma Research  &

National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology, Dublin City University


Current Research Interests

1. Fast and ultrafast laser matter interaction

2. Laser ablation and LIBS

3. Vis/ UV, Extreme-UV and soft X-ray imaging and spectroscopy

4. Fundamental photoionization processes with EUV and X-ray free electron lasers (FELs)




Click here for Experimental Facilities
at the CLPR node of the NCPST






Current Research Funding Agencies

Science Foundation Ireland: Research Infrastructure Programme and Frontiers for the Future (TBA soon).


Sustainable Energy Authority of Ireland: Research Development and Demonstration (RDD) Programme


EU FP7 EACEA: Erasmus Mundus Joint Doctorate Scheme – EXTATIC



1. Laser Ablation for Wind Turbine Blade Contaminant Classification, Quantification and Removal

DCU:                   John Costello, James Campbell, Séamus Cummins and Lazaros Varvarezos

UCD:                   Paddy Hayden, Padraig Dunne and Ross Murray

SEAI:                   Lucy Corcoran and John McCann

ESB:                   David Byrne



2. One and Multi-Colour Experiments in Femtotime X-ray Free Electron Laser Experiments

DCU:          John Costello, Hu Lu, Stephen Durkan and Lazaros Varvarezos

XFEL:        Michael Meyer, Markus Ilchen, Patrik Grychtol and Tommaso Mazza

PSI:           Adrian Cavalieri

DESY:        Stefan Duesterer

FERMI:      Kevin Prince, Michele Di Fraia Oksana Plekan, Luca Giannesi and Carlo Callegari

SLAC:        Ryan Coffee, Matthias Hoffman

QUB:          Jason Greenwood

TUM:          Reinhard Kienberger, Albert Schletter, Markus Wurzer

TUD:          Wolfi Helml

GMIT:        Mossy Kelly

Moscow:    Alexei Grum-Grzhimailo and Nikoloay Kabachnik



3. EUV and Ultrafast Spectroscopy for EUVL Materials

DCU:          John Costello, Mary Pryce, Stephen Durkan, Ross McGarry and Lazaros Varvarezos

TUM:          Reini Kienberger

UCD:          Paddy Hayden

MUT:          Henryk Fiedorowicz, Andrzej Bartnik and Przemyslaw Wachulak

INTEL:       Matt Shaw and James Blackwell



4.      Space and time resolved VUV LIBS

DCU:          Sadaf Zehra, Muhammed Bilal Alli, John Costello and Eugene Kennedy

UCD:          Paddy Hayden

UniPD:       Piergiorgio Nicolosi



Laser Plasma and AMO Physics PIs at DCU:     

Assoc Prof. L. Nikolopoulos, Assoc. Prof. J-P. Mosnier, Assoc. Prof. Paul  van Kampen and Prof. E. T. Kennedy (Emeritus)



Current Research Students

1. Syedah Sadaf Zehra (Thesis Submitted, Joint with P Nicolosi/P Hayden)

Time Resolved LIBS in the UV and VUV for elemental characterisation


2. Muhammed Bilal Alli (Thesis Defended, Joint with P Hayden)

VUV LIBS for pharmaceutical applications


3. Stephen Durkan (Funded by SFI)

Dynamics of new materials for EUVL


4. James Campbell (Funded by SEAI)

Laser Ablation for Wind Turbine Blade Contaminant Classification, Quantification and Removal


5. Séamus Cummins (Funded by SEAI)

Laser Ablation for Wind Turbine Blade Contaminant Classification, Quantification and Removal


6. Ross McGarry (Funded by SFI)

Dynamics of new materials for EUVL (Joint with Mary Pryce)


7. Ross Murray (Funded by SEAI)

Laser Ablation for Wind Turbine Blade Contaminant Classification, Quantification and Removal (Supervisors Paddy Hayden and Padraig Dunne [UCD])



Postdoctoral Fellow

Dr. Lazaros Varvarezos (Funded by SFI)

Dynamics of new materials for EUVL





Final Year Project Students

Ms. Iris Apale

VUV Photoabsorption of High-Z Atoms and Diatomics


Mr. Cian McGirr

Simulation of High-Z Diatomics Using the ORCA Quantum Chemistry Codes





Former Postdoctoral Fellows

Former Research Students


Dr. Cormac McGuinness (with ETK)

Richard Corcoran


Dr. Amit Neogi

Martin Collins (Co-advisor with JPM)


Dr. Mark Stapleton

John Dardis


Dr. Hugo de Luna

Lee Dardis


Dr. Deirdre Kilbane (with PVK)

Barry Doyle


Dr. Kevin Kavanagh

John Hirsch


Dr. Lynn Gaynor (with PVK) 

Padraig Hough


Dr. Jofre Pedregosa

Kevin Kavanagh


Dr. Padraig Hough

Oonagh Meighan


Dr. Subhash Singh

Matthew Shaw


Dr. Paddy Hayden

Brian Doohan


Dr. Colm Fallon

Vincent Richardson


Dr. Mossy Kelly

Caroline Banahan (2nd advisor with PVK)


Dr. Pramod Pandey

Jiang Xi (Joint with ETK)


Dr. Stephen Davitt (with P Hayden)

Mossy Kelly



Colm Fallon (Joint with ETK)



Brian Sheehy (Joint with Liam Barry)



Nicky Walsh



William Hanks (Co-advisor with LN)



Getasew Wubetu (Joint with Mossy Kelly, H Fiedorowicz & W Skrzeczanowski)



Columb Doherty



Stephen Davitt (Joint with Mossy Kelly)



Ben Delaney (Joint with Eugene Kennedy)



Lazaros Varvarezos (Joint with A Bartnik)



Hu Lu (Joint with P Nicolosi/P Hayden)



Muhammad Bilal Alli (Joint with P Hayden)






Past Visiting Research Students (EU MC, HEA North-South, SFI, UPPI, Naughton-Notre Dame & Other)


Nely Parvanova (Sofia)    

Philip Orr (Belfast)                    

Domenico Doria (Lecce)                    

Floralice Miroiu (Bucharest)

Alice Delserieys (Belfast)

Nadia Gambino (Catania)

Ricarda Laasch (Hamburg)

Julien Witz (Paris-Palaiseau)

Raman Namboodiri (Chennai)

Sudhakara Reddy (Chennai)

Ravi Singh (Kanpur)

Shyam Gupta (Kanpur)

Irene Maria Carrasco Garcia (Malaga)

Aparna Neettiyath (Chennai)

Sean Howard (Notre Dame)

Robert Black (Notre Dame)

Patrick Colley (Notre Dame)



Former SFI STARs (Teachers)      Former SFI UREKA Students

Dee Kilbane (2007 & 2008)                     Mossy Kelly (AP3 – 2007)

Stephen Chaney (2008)