Name: Muhammad Bilal Alli
Home Institution: Dublin City University
Host Institution:  No mobility as an Extatic Non-Erasmus Mundus Member
Cohort: 2015

Project Title

Confined Time-Resolved Vacuum  Ultraviolet (VUV) Laser Induced Breakdown Spectroscopy (LIBS) for Pharmaceutical Applications


Laser induced breakdown spectroscopy (LIBS), or laser induced plasma spectroscopy (LIPS) as it is also known, is the use of a laser to ablate a portion of a target, thereby turning it into plasma. The spectroscopy in this instance is an image of the plasma which is taken then analysed.

Liquids, solids and gasses can be analysed with this technique, making it quite versatile as all phases of matter can be analysed. The procedure is minimally ablative meaning only a negligible amount of the sample is destroyed. Quantitative and qualitative results on concentrations and uniformity can be retrieved.


Due to commercial success in the pharmaceutical sector, molecules representing the active pharmaceutical ingredients (API) are becoming increasingly more complex; an issue with the increasing complexity is a reduction in solubility. At this boundary between chemical and biological sciences it does not just come down to whether drugs can be synthesised, they have to be absorbed by the body in such a manner that their intended effect is achieved.

Demand to control and analyse the pharmaceutical manufacturing process has presented itself on a domestic scale in Ireland and internationally.

LIBS presents itself as a solution. The analysis is quick. Samples need no preparation for this technique to be used, thereby removing the risk of introducing any contaminants or losing any analyte.



Mr. Muhammad Alli graduated from Dublin City University with an undergraduate degree in Physics with Biomedical Sciences. He completed DCU’s INTRA (university work placement) at St. James’ Hospital Dublin Ireland working in medical physics, clinical engineering and healthcare informatics.

He went on to collaborate with the Royal College of Surgeons Ireland (RCSI) for his 4th year project, detecting sleep apnoea. He currently holds a position at DCU as PhD student under the supervision of Dr. Patrick Hayden, externally funded by SFI.