Adelaide High School students welcomed at IPAS

On Wednesday 21 November 2018, IPAS was delighted to welcome a group of high achieving STEM students from Adelaide High School.

The students were welcomed and guided to the Precision Measurement Group Labs by Dr Ben Sparkes before headed to the Bio Sensing Lab by Dr Jiawen Li. They were also shown the ground floor fabrication facilities by Mr Evan Johnson and Lijesh Thomas before travelling to the top of the building to see the 2.5 um laser labs with Mr Nathaniel Bawden and Dr Ori Henderson-Sapir.

All the best for our STEM students and looking forward to welcoming you to the IPAS community in the future!


IPAS ECR wins 2018 Emerging Leadership Mentored Development Program

Congratulations to Dr Jiawen Li who was successfully awarded 2018 FHMS Emerging Leadership Mentored Development Program. Dr Li will be mentored by world-renowned scientists in cardiovascular research Prof Stephen Nicholls and Dr Christina Bursill for the next 12 months on developing the novel device to enable accurate detection of high risk atherosclerotic plaques which are likely to cause acute coronary events, one of the most common cause of death in middle and high income countries worldwide. 

The Emerging Leadership Mentored Development Program is designed to foster a productive mentor-mentee relationship between an ECR/MCR (mentee) and a senior academic staff member (mentor). The ECR/MCR will work closely with mentors of their choice to co-develop a new area of research and build their track record. The mentors will work closely with the applicant throughout the process and help the ECR/MCR to develop a strategic pathway, skills and independence necessary to make them competitive for local or national funding schemes (i.e. NHMRC investigator, new idea and synergy grants or equivalent schemes).

IPAS Star Trek Tractor beam featured in Physical Review Applied


IPAS researchers led by Dr Philip Light and PhD Student Ashby Hilton have created an infrared tractor beam – or light-driven energy trap – for efficiently guiding into and confining atoms inside a hollow optical fibre. The work is opening the way for new quantum experiments that may lead to new secure communications or advanced sensing technologies. This innovative research has received several interests from major media outlets such as: The Advertiser, The Lead, UK Daily Mail and was invited for the interview with ABC Radio.

High-efficiency cold-atom transport into a waveguide trap
A.P. Hilton, C. Perrella, F. Benabid, B.M. Sparkes, A.N. Luiten, and P.S. LightPhys. Rev. Applied 10, 044034 – Published 12 October 2018.
DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevApplied.10.044034


IPAS ECR awarded a Global Connections Fund Bridging Grant

Congratulations to Dr Chris Perrella who was successfully awarded $50,000 for the project titled “High-performance optical clock for next-generation precision timing” under the Global Connections Bridging Grant program. This Project will develop a compact high‐performance clock for delivering ultra‐precise timing signals by linking Australia’s foremost precision measurement laboratory at IPAS, University of Adelaide, with the world’s leading company in precision optical measurement technology, Menlo Systems GmbH (Menlo).

Bridging Grants are a program of assistance that targets early stage proof of concept and knowledge transfer, product development and market testing, innovation and commercialisation activities. They are designed to support international SME-Researcher partnerships grow beyond an initial level of engagement such as might be developed during a Priming Grant funded process, into a strong collaboration which leads to the translation of research knowledge and intellectual property into market ready products or services.

IPAS Comprehensive Review of nanoporous anodic alumina photonic crystals featured in Nanomaterials

A comprehensive review introducing the fundamental development and significant advances of nanoporous anodic alumina photonic crystals for chemo- and biosensing applications. The different fabrication methods, photonic crystal architectures, surface chemistry functionalisation methods and examples of sensing applications are collated along with prospective outlook about this research field.

Nanoporous Anodic Alumina Photonic Crystals for Optical Chemo- and Biosensing: Fundamentals, Advances, and Perspectives
Cheryl Suwen Law, Siew Yee Lim , Andrew D. Abell, Nicolas H. Voelcker  and Abel Santos  Nanomaterials 2018, 8(10), 788 – DOI: 10.3390/nano8100788

IPAS First 3D printed freeform OCT probe featured in Scientific Reports

What can 3D printing do? IPAS 3D printed micro-optic can obtain sectional images of micro-structures deep in a body via a non-invasive or minimally-invasive approach. This is the first 3D printed freeform micro-optic for an optical coherence tomograph (OCT) probe.

Two-photon polymerisation 3D printed freeform micro-optics for optical coherence tomography fibre probes.
Jiawen Li, Peter Fejes, Dirk Lorenser, Bryden C. Quirk, Peter B. Noble, Rodney W. Kirk, Antony Orth, Fiona M. Wood, Brant C. Gibson, David D. Sampson,  & Robert A. McLaughlin
Scientific Reports 8, 14789 (2018)


IPAS members recruited for DSTG Cadetship

Congratulations to the following IPAS members who were successfully recruited to join DSTG in the future, following the completion of their Postgraduate Degree.

  • David McAfee, MPhil Student, will join the  Electro-Optic Processing & Exploitation group under the National Security & Intelligence, Surveillance & Reconnaissance Division
  • Adam Gambell, MPhil Student, will join the  Laser Technology Group, under the Cyber and Electronic Warfare Division
  • Lily Taylor, Honours Student, will join the Cyber Surveillance/Information Integration Group.

The DST Cadetship Program is an entry-level employment pathway for high performing undergraduate students currently studying a relevant Science, Technology, Engineering or Mathematics (STEM) degree. Should you have any questions regarding the DST Cadetship Program, please contact:

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.







IPAS Metastable Krypton featured in Physical Review Letters

MiladPublished this week in the prestigious Physical Review Letters journal, IPAS researchers have demonstrated a record performance in the generation of metastable krypton by using a two photon excitation technique. This is set to bring extreme value as a source for metastable atoms for laser cooling and trapping applications, in particular for atom trap trace analysis (ATTA).

Here, they show an efficiency of up to 2% per pulse; a great step towards achieving the holy grail of 10% that would allow the dating of deep ice core samples. This has the potential to revolutionise the ice core research field by addressing one of its key unmet challenge of extending the existing 800,000 years dating record back in time to 1.5 million years and  help unravel many mysteries that are still puzzling geologists today.

Laser-Based Metastable Krypton Generation
M.A. Dakka, G. Tsiminis, R.D. Glover, C. Perrella, J. Moffatt, N.A. Spooner, R.T. Sang, P.S. Light, and A.N. Luiten
Phys.Rev.Lett.121,093201 – Published 31 August 2018.


Sapphire Clock awarded the prestigious 2018 Defence Science and Technology Eureka Prize

1Congratulations to Sapphire Clock team for being awarded 2018 Defence Science and Technology Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia.

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.

The Eureka Prizes is one of the biggest nights for Australian science and highlights all the incredible work coming out of Australia. Presented annually, the Australian Museum Eureka Prizes reward excellence in the fields of research & innovation, leadership, science engagement and school science. The winners were announced last night at the award dinner  held in the Sydney Townhall.