Author Archives: melmcdowall
Today we were delighted to host Rachel Bragg, the great great granddaughter of William Henry Bragg and the great granddaughter of William “Lawrence” Bragg. Not only did William and Lawrence win the Nobel Prize in 1915 for the X-ray crystallography, but both are the namesakes of our building.
Rachel and her husband toured the Braggs laboratories, received a brief tour of the University campus, saw the UNiversity’s collection of equipment from the Bragg’s laboratory and lastly, saw the busts of both William and Lawrence, twins of busts that are located in the Royal Institute of Great Britain.
“The Braggs” were the only father-son team to win a Nobel Prize and Lawrence is the youngest recipient, at 25 years old. William Bragg was the Elder Professor of Mathematics and Experimental Physics at the University of Adelaide between 1885-1908. Lawrence was born in Adelaide in 1890 and was a student of the University until 1908, studying mathematics, chemistry and physics.
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
Despite the fact that dragonflies can’t drive cars, understanding how their brains work is improving selective attention for artificial vision systems, for applications such as driveless cars.
A recent study by Dr Steven Wiederman and published in eLife, demonstrated how dragonflies are highly efficient predators due to the highly complex nature of their brain. Specifically, cells in their brains, called Small Target Motion Detectors, can predict the direction and location of its prey.
Further understanding of such complex neurological systems can be applied to autonomous robots and driverless cars.
Wiederman SD, Fabian JM, Dunbier JR & O-Carroll (2017) A Predictive Focus of Gain Modulation Encodes Target Trajectories in Insect Vision, eLife, 25th July, DOI: 10.7554/eLife.26478.002
Bagheri ZM, Cazzolato BS, Grainger S, O’Carroll DC & Wiederman SD (2017) An Autonomous Robot Inspired by Insect Neurphysiology Purses Moving Features in Natural Environments, Journal of Neural Engineering,13 July, DOI: 10.1088/1741-2552/aa776c
Dragonfly Brains Predict the Path of Their Prey, Science Daily
Thank you to Karen Cunningham and the Jam Factory team for hosting Deputy Director Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem, Tim Zhao, Yunle Wei and Mel McDowall. The team added their own spin to paper weights and glass making and are eager to see the finished products!
This was the initial stages of a collaboration between the Jam Factory and CNBP, to create glass art incorporating nano-particles.
Dr Chris Perrella (Precision Measurement Group) was recently awarded a Global Connections Fund Priming Grant. The purpose of the grant is to facilitate collaborations between Australian small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) and researchers.
This Project will develop a compact high-performance optical clock for ultra-precise timing signals by bringing together Australia’s foremost precision measurement laboratory at the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS), the University of Adelaide, and links it to the world’s leading company in optical precision measurement technology, Menlo Systems GmbH.
The compact high-performance optical clock has potential applications in: communication networks; telecommunications; global positioning systems (GPS); and inertial navigation systems.
This week’s IPAS seminar will be presented by Francois Duvenage, titled “Commercialisation: Are You Ready“.
Francois is a Commercial Manager within Adelaide Enterprise.
Thursday, 6th July, 3:30-4:30 pm
Level 2, The Braggs Meeting Room
During the visit, Stephen and Tim met with MHI staff to discuss the progression of the high temperature fibre sensor project, including delivery of the first prototype.
Included in the visit was a tour of the Mitsubishi History Museum, with Research Managers Mr Kohei Kawazoe and Mr Shigenari Horie acting as excellent tour guides.
Overall, the visit was positive, well received and the project continues to make excellent progress against its milestones.
Kohei Kawazoe, Tim Nelson, Shigenari Horie and Stephen Warren-Smith at the Mitsubishi History Museum.
This week’s IPAS seminar will be presented by Dr Wen Qi Zhang, titled “A Numerical Study of Passive Mode-Locked Lasers with Two Peaks in the Gain Profile“.
Wen Qi is currently a researcher within the Laser Physics and Photonics Devices Laboratory at the University of South Australia
Thursday, 29th June, 3:30-4:30 pm
Level 2, The Braggs Meeting Room
A probe, developed within IPAS and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), that allows the real-time detection of differences in pH (indicative of healthy vs. cancer tissue) was featured in Flinders University news.
Funding from the State Government’s Medical Technologies Program has allowed a team involving Dr Erik Schartner, Prof Mark Hutchinson, Prof Grantley Gill and Dr Elizaveta Klantsataya to work with biomedical engineers within Flinders University’s Medical Device Partnering Program (MDPP) to bring the technology one step closer to clinical trials.
More information can be found on the Flinders University news page.
Congratulations to IPAS members, Dr Lee Arnold and Adjunct Professor Nigel Spooner for their successful $669k ARC Linkage Project to establish an unprecedented record of biodiversity and environmental change during the Quaternary in the Naracoorte Caves.
The caves of Naracoorte provide a rare opportunity to investigate multiple biological and environmental records spanning a key period in earth history. The study will integrate investigations on all aspects of the preserved deposits, employing new approaches in geochronology, palaeontology and geochemistry to develop a truly comprehensive reconstruction of regional-scale palaeoecological and palaeoenvironmental histories. Comprehensive understanding of long term patterns is key to our understanding of future impacts of climate change and biodiversity loss.
A full list of successfully funded ARC Linkage programs can be found here.