Category Archives: events



Come join us on Thursday 8 August 2019 as we celebrate the fantastic research being conducted at the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS), where we use the power of light to make the world a healthier, wealthier and better place!

5PM-6PM: IPAS Show ‘n’ Tell over Free Pizza – Braggs Level 2
Enjoy and watch the world leading research on display. Connect with our researchers over  free pizza. Interested in doing a summer scholarship, honours or PhD project with us? This is the perfect opportunity to talk to experts and fellow students across Physics, Engineering, Chemistry and Biology about the exciting work they are doing.

5:30PM onward -7PM: Tours of the IPAS Labs – Depart from The Braggs Level 2
Take advantage of this rare opportunity to go behind closed doors and get a close up to our experiments. See the state-of-the-art equipment we use and create to do our world-leading research.

RSVPs essential for catering. Register here by 26 July.


The 20th Asian Physics Olympiad welcomed at IPAS

IMG_9209IPAS proudly joined the University of Adelaide to host the 20th Asian Physics Olympiad which was held in Adelaide from 5-13 May.

A group comprising 100 of the most outstanding and brightest high school students from 25 countries competing at the 2019 Asian Physics Olympiad were warmly welcomed at IPAS. The group was shown through state-of-the-art fabrication facilities and equipment in The Braggs such as the high tech 3D Metal and Ceramic Printer, The Extrusion Lab, and the Fibre Drawing Tower by IPAS Deputy Director Prof Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem, Drs Stephen Warren-SmithErik Schartner and Georgios Tsiminis. The group was then guided on a visit to the Cryogenic Sapphire Clock (CSO) Lab and had interactive discussions with Dr Ori Henderson-Sapir.

The group also had the unique and immersive experience with IPAS research on display. The demonstrations of Laser Radio, High Temperature Sensor, and Sapphire Clock  by Drs Ben SparkesChris Perrella and Stephen Warren-Smith showed the students the world class research at IPAS and the enormous research opportunities at the University of Adelaide. All students were amazed, inspired and appreciated the opportunity to meet and interact with leading researchers at IPAS.

We hope you enjoyed your excursion at IPAS and wish you all the best in your future scientific endeavours!


First IPAS REARCH OPEN DAY in the Braggs


The atmosphere in the Braggs has never been more exciting than it was on Thursday 6 September 2018. It was the first #IPASOpenDay with attendance of more than 200 people from the general public, university stakeholders, STEM students and industry partners. The day kicked off with an hour of presentations by six IPAS team leaders who shed light on the culture and ground breaking research within IPAS. The “loud and clear” message for school students was about the tremendous opportunities in Defence, Space and Start-ups in SA.

The event offered a unique opportunity for all visitors to experience the state of the art facilities at IPAS up close. All IPAS-related research labs in the Braggs, MLS and Physics buildings were open for more than two hours and it was rewarding to see wide-eyed visitors coming out chatting excitedly about their experiences. With so much to offer, it was our pleasure to see such a diversity of people at IPAS especially the STEM students who had so much fun and gained so much from the experience. The IPAS demonstrations table with the Interferometer and the Radio Laser was always full of people with interesting questions. The visitors even got to experience a fluorescent chocolate fondue, and see how to measure radiation through a banana smoothie…

The day was a huge success and a credit to those staff who put together such a fun and inspiring event. Next year will be even bigger and better. Given the benefits of explaining to the community what we really do at the University, this might be something to be considered more broadly across the campus. The philosophy of opening the labs to all and being transparent about our activities can be very powerful.

If you are interested in exploring potential synergies and being part of next year’s event, please contact Elodie Janvier, IPAS Strategic Research Development Manager.

For more information, please look at the video and  IPAS website.







Turning agriculture waste into new industries

IPAS researchers Prof Andrew Abell and A/Prof Tara Pukala  are part of a University of Adelaide research team who will lead the Agricultural Product Development Research Consortium to increase the agriculture value and turn it into new products.

The Consortium, led by Prof Vincent Bulone, has been granted $4M over four years by the State Government through its Research Consortia Program. It will bring together a total of 18 partners to develop high-value products from agricultural waste: nine South Australian-based companies from the agriculture and food sector, and another nine national and international academic institutions and industry partners. The support coming from the partners brings the total value of the consortium to $10.9M.

The Consortium will build on the work of Adelaide Glycomics, a carbohydrate analytical facility at the Waite campus, and make use of other, complementary analytical activities provided by the Adelaide Proteomics Centre at the University’s North Terrace campus. “This Consortium draws together a unique combination of research expertise, facilities, industry know-how and resources. It promises increased profitability and sustainability for our local agricultural and horticultural industries, and significant health and economic benefit for our whole state,” says University of Adelaide Deputy Vice Chancellor (Research) Professor Mike Brooks.
“The Consortium has already drawn the support of four international industry partners, which shows the incredible commercial potential to be developed.”

The Consortium partners are: University of Adelaide, University of South Australia, CSIRO, KTH Royal Institute of Technology (Sweden), Filsell’s Orchards Pty Ltd, Raw Nation Wholefoods Pty Ltd, AE Cranwell & Sons, Ashton Valley Fresh, JVJ Co Pty Ltd, Vanquish Technologies, SA Mushrooms, Coopers Brewery Ltd, Potatoes South Australia Inc, CarbOzide Pty Ltd, Agilent Technologies Australia Pty Ltd, Plant & Food Research, Ingredion Inc (USA), Carlsberg Group A/S (Denmark).

For more information, please see The University of Adelaide website.


IPAS DECRA named South Australian Tall Poppy of the year 2018

Ben_SAAwardCongratulations Dr Ben Sparkes  who was named South Australian Tall Poppy of the Year at the 2018 SA Government Science Excellence Awards. Dr Sparkes is developing a device that can extend the maximum distance of quantum cryptography, which will boost the security of communications for government, business and the broader community. 

Unveiling of China-Australia Joint Laboratory for Fabrication of the special Optical fibres and biochemical Detection Innovation (CAFODI)

unveiling ceremony

Building on two complementary areas of research excellence with strong industry relevance, IPAS and the Laser Institute (LI) of the Shandong Academy of Sciences (SDAS), the Joint Laboratory CAFODI (China-Australia Joint Laboratory for Fabrication of the special Optical fibres and biochemical Detection Innovation) was established in September 2017, and officially unveiled by Hon David Ridgway, South Australian Minister for Trade Tourism and Investment and VC Peter Rathjen of University of Adelaide in Jinan, Shandong, China, on 17th July 2018.

CAFODI aims to fabricate novel microstructured optical fibres and develop biochemical optical sensors, speeding up their translation in the global market as well as postgraduate education. The joint laboratory is led by Prof Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem and Dr Yinlan Ruan in Adelaide and Director Zhongqing Jia and Dr Jiasheng Ni of Laser Institute, SDAS, in China. An initial commitment of AU$60K was made from the University of Adelaide in January, 2018 and the second investment from our partner is on the way and will focus on fabrication of the hollow core fibres and petrol sensors. We expect that establishment of CAFODI will largely contribute to increasing commercial opportunities for SA researchers and education institutions and demonstrate a shared commitment to solve industry problems through research and collaboration.

CAFORD leaders


IPAS Semiconductor photonic crystals with optical properties featured in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces

The precise control of light is key for the efficient utilisation of photons in photocatalytic reactions. Semiconductor nanoporous photonic crystal structures with rationally engineered optical properties can speed up photocatalytic reactions up to several orders of magnitude by utilising the slow photon effect. In this study, the Abel Santos team has demonstrated for the first time that photo-active nanoporous anodic alumina photonic crystals can outperform benchmark photocatalytic platform materials by a rational design of their structure. These semiconductor photonic crystals provide superior performances for a plethora of applications, including photodegradation of environmental pollutants, green energy generation, chemical synthesis and CO2 reduction.

Engineering the Slow Photon Effect in Photoactive Nanoporous Anodic Alumina Gradient-Index Filters for Photocatalysis
Siew Yee LimCheryl Suwen LawMarijana MarkovicJason K. KirbyAndrew D. Abell, and Abel Santos
ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces, Just Accepted Manuscript

DOI: 10.1021/acsami.8b05946

For full article, please click on this link.



IPAS Quantum Communications broadcast on Radio Adelaide

To elaborate on the IPAS’s vision and research program, Dr Ben Sparkes, who is working on quantum atom-light interactions at IPAS, was invited for an interview with Radio Adelaide’s Subatomic program with Rohan Neagle. Dr Sparkes discussed the quantum optics research taking place at IPAS and its potential to increase the distance of absolutely-secure quantum communications using our novel hollow-core optical fibres.

For the interview podcast, please click here.

Quantum machanics


1st Year Physics students at IPAS

On Friday 16 March, IPAS was delighted to host a group of 1st year physics students. The group was organised by Miss Lily Taylor who was recently an IPAS Summer scholarship winner and has followed this up with a third year project candidate with the Precision Measurement Group. The students, welcomed by Drs Ben Sparkes and Chris Perrella to the Optics Labs, were inspired by cutting edge projects as well as a learning experience from IPAS PhD candidates Sarah Scholten and Nathanial Wilson.  The students were then guided to see the state-of-the-art fabrication facilities and equipment such as the high-tech 3D Metal and Ceramic printer and  5–Axis Ultrasonic Mill, with expert commentary from Mr Evan Johnson and Mr Lijesh Thomas.  All students showed great interest in the science through constant interactive enquiries with leading researchers and experienced technicians. All the best to the 1st year physics students, we hope this experience will continuously develop your passion for science and look forward to welcoming you to our IPAS community in the future!

Minister Pyne at IPAS


On Wednesday 8th November 2017, IPAS was honored to welcome  the Hon Christopher Pyne MP, Minister for Defence Industry,  to visit our Sapphire Clock  and High Power Laser Labs. Accompanying the Minster, were Dr Alex  Zelinsky, Chief Defence Scientist and head of the Defence Science & Technology (DST) group, Prof Michael Brooks, Interim Vice-Chancellor and President and Rear Admiral the Hon Kevin Scarce AC CSC RAN-Rtd and Chancellor. The Minister was extremely impressed by the amazing work of the Sapphire Clock and High – Power Laser teams and fascinated by the demonstration of IPAS innovative Laser Radio project contributing to the promotion of STEM education in Australia. Following the lab tour, the Minister launched the new University of Adelaide Defence Research and Innovation Network, which will strengthen the University and DST Group partnership.

Click here for more information on the University partnership with DST Group.