Eureka! Sapphire Clock Finalist in the Eureka Prize
The Sapphire Clock team, led by Professor Andre Luiten, is one of two finalists in the “Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia” category the Australian Museum Eureka Prize.
Over the last 20 years, the Sapphire Clock team, including Professor Andre Luiten, A/Professor John Hartnett and A/Professor Martin O’Connor has developed a high-precision technology that generates signals of the ultimate purity. The Sapphire Clock is a cryogenic sapphire oscillator that allows time to be measured to the femtosecond scale (one quadrillionth of a second), with only a single second gained or lost every 40 million years. This kind of accuracy is required for ultra-high precision measurements.
Their work was motivated out of a belief that precision measurement is the path to discovering new knowledge – a foundation belief of all science – however, this capability also delivers a competitive advantage to industry by allowing one to measure what was previously thought to be immeasurable.
Recently, the Sapphire Clock team initiated a collaboration the Jindalee Over-The-Horizon Radar Network (JORN) with the Sapphire Clock having applications to improve radar technology. JORN is a linchpin of Australia’s security, providing long-range, broad-scale and continuous surveillance. The sapphire clock technology offers a step-change in the performance of this radar, which has been likened to getting 30 years of development in just one day. This combination of leading technologies opens a path to improved security for all Australians
“By combining two decades of pioneering research with cutting-edge engineering, the Sapphire Clock Team’s technology offers the potential for a step change in the performance of the Jindalee Over-The-Horizon Radar Network, a vital Australian defence asset. The Sapphire Clock offers a thousandfold improvement in timing precision, helping Australian defence agencies identify threats to the nation”
Australian Museum media release