Category Archives: news
The award is in recognition of Andre and team’s pioneering research into the development of techniques for extremely precise and accurate measurement of time. Specifically, the Cryogenic Sapphire Clock is a ultra precise oscillator that can measure time at the femtosecond scale (one quadrillionth of a second) and a single second deviation occurs one every 40 million years. This kind of precision is essential for technologies such as metrology and radar.
Weng’s project is titled “Synthesis of low noise microwaves using solitons locked to an ultra-stable cavity” and he will be conducting his research at the École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL) in Lausanne, Switzerland. Set on the banks of Lake Geneva, EPFL specialises in physical sciences and was ranked 14th in the world across all fields in QS World University Rankings (2015/2016).
The MSCA Fellowship is awarded to the best and most promising researchers from anywhere in the world. The fellowship funds travel, living costs and employment in an European Union country to facilitate career development, such as research-related and transferable skills, research impact, enhanced cooperation and network building.
The University of Adelaide will develop novel very high temperature sensors for global industrial giant Mitsubishi Heavy Industries, the University announced today.
Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and the University have signed contracts for collaborative research by the University’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) to develop unique optical fibre based ultra-high, multipoint temperature sensors that will enhance the efficiency of their power generation systems.
IPAS and the University’s School of Physical Sciences are renowned for the development of light-based technologies, including optical fibre sensors, for a range of biomedical, defence, environmental and industrial sensing.
“Mitsubishi came to Adelaide looking for global research partners and decided our ultra-high temperature optical fibre sensors would provide a unique opportunity to better understand and improve their world leading power generation systems,” says Professor Mike Brooks, Acting Vice-Chancellor and President at the University of Adelaide.
“The University of Adelaide is honoured to be working with such a giant of industrial engineering and manufacturing as Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.”
Last year IPAS worked with 68 different local and international companies to develop novel breakthrough technologies to help them improve manufacturing and business processes.
“Application of IPAS technologies to date has been largely focused on local South Australian companies – helping them grow their business and retain jobs,” says Professor Andre Luiten, Director of IPAS.
“This new collaboration represents international recognition for the quality of the research and development we are doing, and the difference these emerging disruptive technologies like photonics can make to businesses’ bottom lines.”
“This new collaboration surely brings new technology to sensing of the hot parts of the product of MHI. This will lead to improvements in our product power, and a new business opportunity,” says Dr Fukagawa, the general manager of the heat transfer research department, from Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.
The Mitsubishi contract will build on the technology that IPAS developed with SJ Cheesman for deployment at the Nyrstar Polymetalic Smelter at Port Pirie. This provided novel temperature sensors that can withstand furnace temperatures, enabling processes within the environment of the smelter to be monitored for the first time enabling increased efficiency and significant reductions in energy use
The Sapphire Clock is featured on the front cover of this month’s “Cold Facts”, the official publication of the Cryogenic Society of America,
The Sapphire Clock is a cryogenic sapphire oscillator that allows time to be measured to the femtosecond scale (one quadrillionth of a second), the kind of accuracy required for ultra high precision measurements; such as radar technology, long baseline astronomy and quantum computing.
Building off technology developed by Prof Andre Luiten in 1996 and Prof John Hartnett in 2004-2012, the most recent version of the Sapphire Clock is capable of 100 time better spectral purity than other commercially available technologies.
The Sapphire Clock team is led by A/Prof Martin O’Connor and a commercial version will be available in late 2017.
Ref: O’Connor et al (2017) Cold Facts, Vol 33 (1): 16-17.
An IPAS research team led by Dr Erik Schartner has developed an optical fibre probe that distinguishes breast cancer tissue from normal tissue – potentially allowing surgeons to be much more precise when removing breast cancer.
The device could help prevent follow-up surgery, currently needed for 15-20% of breast cancer surgery patients where all the cancer is not removed.
Published today in the journal Cancer Research, the researchers in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP), the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, and the Schools of Physical Sciences and Medicine, describe how the optical probe works by detecting the difference in pH between the two types of tissue. The research conducted with our partners Prof. Grantley Gill at with the Breast, Endocrine and Surgical Oncology Unit at the Royal Adelaide Hospital, Dr Deepak Dhatrak of SA Pathology and Prof David Callen, Director of the Centre for Personalised Cancer Medicine at the University of Adelaide.
“We have designed and tested a fibre-tip pH probe that has very high sensitivity for differentiating between healthy and cancerous tissue with an extremely simple – so far experimental – setup that is fully portable,” says project leader Dr Erik Schartner, postdoctoral researcher at the CNBP at the University of Adelaide.
“Because it is cost-effective to do measurements in this manner compared to many other medical technologies, we see a clear scope for this technology in operating theaters.”
Current surgical techniques to remove cancer lack a reliable method to identify the tissue type during surgery, relying on the experience and judgement of the surgeon to decide on how much tissue to remove. Because of this, surgeons often perform ‘cavity shaving’, which can result in the removal of excessive healthy tissue. And at other times, some cancerous tissue will be left behind.
“This is quite traumatic to the patient, and has been shown to have long-term detrimental effects on the patient’s outcome,” Dr Schartner says.
The optical fibre probe uses the principle that cancer tissue has a more acidic environment than normal cells; they produce more lactic acid as a byproduct of their aggressive growth.
The pH indicator embedded in the tip of the optical probe emits a different colour of light depending on the acidity. A miniature spectrometer on the other end of the probe analyses the light and therefore the pH.
“How we see it working is the surgeon using the probe to test questionable tissue during surgery,” says Dr Schartner. “If the readout shows the tissues are cancerous, that can immediately be removed. Presently this normally falls to post-operative pathology, which could mean further surgery.
The researchers currently have a portable demonstration unit and are doing further testing. They hope to progress to clinical studies in the near future.
Minister for Defence Industry, The Hon Christopher Pyne MP today announced seven Australian organisations would receive Australian Government funding of $14.7 million to develop and demonstrate innovative technologies to enhance Defence capability, as part of the Government’s $1.6 billion investment in defence innovation.
IPAS researchers Prof Andre Luiten, A/Prof John Hartnett and A/Prof Martin O’Connor are the research leaders of one of these projects. Their project is to develop Ultra-High Quality Signal Generation for Over the Horizon Radar. The project aims to upgrade the overall performance of the Jindalee Operational Radar Network (JORN), through a performance upgrade of its essential sub-systems. This will improve overall detection of targets.
IPAS researchers have today been awarded $4.5 million in federal funding for new research.
This included 4 Discovery Projects, 1 DECRA Fellowship, 1 Future Fellowship and 2 LIEF infrastructure grants led by IPAS members.
The experiment, developed by physicists from ANU, University of Adelaide and UNSW ADFA, created an extremely cold gas trapped in a laser beam, known as a Bose-Einstein condensate, replicating the experiment that won the 2001 Nobel Prize. Part of this research team was IPAS Director Professor Andre Luiten and Professor Anton van den Hengel, School of Computer Sciences at University of Adelaide.
“I didn’t expect the machine could learn to do the experiment itself, from scratch, in under an hour,” said co-lead researcher Paul Wigley from ANU Research School of Physics and Engineering.
“A simple computer program would have taken longer than the age of the universe to run through all the combinations and work this out.”
Bose-Einstein condensates are some of the coldest places in the Universe, far colder than outer space, typically less than a billionth of a degree above absolute zero.
They could be used for mineral exploration or navigation systems as they are extremely sensitive to external disturbances, which allows them to make very precise measurements such as tiny changes in the Earth’s magnetic field or gravity.
The artificial intelligence system’s ability to set itself up quickly every morning and compensate for any overnight fluctuations would make this fragile technology much more useful for field measurements, said co-lead researcher Dr Michael Hush from UNSW ADFA.
“You could make a working device to measure gravity that you could take in the back of a car, and the artificial intelligence would recalibrate and fix itself no matter what,” he said.
“It’s cheaper than taking a physicist everywhere with you.”
The team cooled the gas to around 1 microkelvin, and then handed control of the three laser beams over to the artificial intelligence to cool the trapped gas down to nanokelvin.
Researchers were surprised by the methods the system came up with to ramp down the power of the lasers.
“It did things a person wouldn’t guess, such as changing one laser’s power up and down, and compensating with another,” said Mr Wigley.
“It may be able to come up with complicated ways humans haven’t thought of to get experiments colder and make measurements more precise.
The new technique will lead to bigger and better experiments, said Dr Hush.
“Next we plan to employ the artificial intelligence to build an even larger Bose-Einstein condensate faster than we’ve seen ever before,” he said.
The research is published in the Nature group journal Scientific Reports.