Blog Archives

IPAS Quantum Mechanics featured in The Australian

quantum snippingIt is such an honour for IPAS to be prominently featured in the special Defence Research excerpt of The Australian on May 29th. Our members are proudly contributing towards developing disruptive quantum technologies to give an edge to Australia’s defence: of the 11 ambitious Next Generation Technology Fund, 4 are under development at IPAS.
For full article, please click here.




IPAS makes the top 100 of worldwide views on Figshare

IMG_7800 Ashby _ twiiter

Congratulations to Dr Philip Light and PhD Student Ashby Hilton whose research has been receiving the highest number views on the University of Adelaide Figshare. The video was also in the top 100 items viewed worldwide on institutional repositories.

The video is from their paper published in October 2018 which shows an ensemble of atoms laser cooled to around 4 millionths of a degree above absolute zero. The atoms are dropped and caught using an optical trap that confines the atoms and funnels them into a hollow core fibre. The fibre itself is 45 micro meters wide, and once inside the fibre, the atoms become an immensely ‘dark’ medium that can be used to perform quantum experiments such as the coherent storage and retrieval of optical pulses. The publication also won IPAS 2018 Best Outreach Paper Award.


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.

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 Research Open Day – Thursday 6 September 2018


Come join us as we celebrate the fantastic research being conducted at the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing, where we use the power of light to make the world a healthier, wealthier and better place.

11:00-12:30 Introduction to IPAS – Braggs Lecture Theatre
Hear about the exciting research being conducted by IPAS in areas ranging from advanced gravitational-wave detection through to creating next-generation medical devices and Defence technologies.

12:30-2:00 Free BBQ Lunch – Braggs Foyer
Connect with our researchers over a free barbeque lunch. Interested in doing a summer scholarship, honours or PhD project with us? This is the perfect opportunity to talk to experts across Physics, Engineering, Chemistry and Biology about the exciting work they are doing.

1:00-3:00 Tours of the IPAS Labs – Leaving from Braggs Foyer
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.

As places are limited, RSVP is essential. Please click here to register by 31 August.


IPAS Optical Microcavities put forward photonic devices

Optical microcavities are a class of photonic crystals (PCs) that confine light to small volumes by resonant recirculation of electromagnetic waves within the PCs’ structure. They are indispensable for a broad range of applications, including long-distance transmission of data, novel laser sources, quantum communications, sensing and biosensing. In this study Abel and team have developed a pioneering approach for the development of optical microcavities with unprecedented light-confining properties based on self-organised nanoporous anodic alumina photonic crystal platforms. The optimal design of the geometric features and architecture of these PCs can significantly enhance resonant recirculation of light, creating new opportunities to develop ultrasensitive optical platforms, highly selective optical filters, and other photonic devices.

Structural Tailoring of Nanoporous Anodic Alumina Optical Microcavities for Enhanced Resonant Recirculation of Light
Cheryl Suwen Law,  Siew Yee Lim,  Andrew D Abell,  Lluis F. Marsal  and  Abel Santos 

For full article, please click here.

Using Light For Next Generation Data Storage

Tiny, nano-sized crystals of salt encoded with data using light from a laser could be the next data storage technology of choice, following research by Australian scientists.

The researchers from the University of South Australia and University of Adelaide, in collaboration with the University of New South Wales, have demonstrated a novel and energy-efficient approach to storing data using light.

“With the use of data in society increasing dramatically due to the likes of social media, cloud computing and increased smart phone adoption, existing data storage technologies such as hard drive disks and solid state storage are fast approaching their limits,” says project leader Dr Nick Riesen, a Research Fellow at the University of South Australia and Visiting Fellow at the University of Adelaide’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS).

“We have entered an age where new technologies are required to meet the demands of 100s of terabyte (1000 gigabytes) or even petabyte (one million gigabytes) storage. One of the most promising techniques of achieving this is optical data storage.”

Dr Riesen and University of Adelaide PhD student Xuanzhao Pan developed technology based on nanocrystals with light-emitting properties that can be efficiently switched on and off in patterns that represent digital information. The researchers used lasers to alter the electronic states, and therefore the fluorescence properties, of the crystals.

Their research shows that these fluorescent nanocrystals could represent a promising alternative to traditional magnetic (hard drive disk) and solid-state (solid state drive) data storage or blu-ray discs. They demonstrated rewritable data storage in crystals that are 100s of times smaller than that visible with the human eye.

“What makes this technique for storing information using light interesting is that several bits can be stored at simultaneously. And, unlike most other optical data storage techniques, the data is rewritable,” says Dr Riesen.

This ‘multilevel data storage’ – storing several bits on a single crystal – opens the way for much higher storage densities. The technology also allows for very low-power lasers to be used, increasing its energy efficiency and being more practical for consumer applications.

“The low energy requirement also makes this system ideal for optical data storage on integrated electronic circuits,” says Professor Hans Riesen from the University of New South Wales.

The technology also has the potential to push forward the boundaries of how much digital data can be stored through the development of 3D data storage.

“We think it’s possible to extend this data storage platform to 3D technologies in which the nanocrystals would be embedded into a glass or polymer, making use of the glass-processing capabilities we have at IPAS,” says Professor Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem, University of Adelaide. “This project shows the far-reaching applications that can be achieved through transdisciplinary research into new materials.”

Dr Riesen says: “3D optical data storage could potentially allow for up to petabyte level data storage in small data cubes. To put that in perspective, it is believed that the human brain can store about 2.5 petabytes. This new technology could be a viable solution to the great challenge of overcoming the bottleneck in data storage.”

The research is published in the open access journal Optics Express.

For full media release, please click here.

Scientists Pump Up Chances for Quantum Computing

University of Adelaide-led research has moved the world one step closer to reliable, high-performance quantum computing.

An international team has developed a ground-breaking single-electron “pump”. The electron pump device developed by the researchers can produce one billion electrons per second and uses quantum mechanics to control them one-by-one. And it’s so precise they have been able to use this device to measure the limitations of current electronics equipment.

This paves the way for future quantum information processing applications, including in defence, cybersecurity and encryption, and big data analysis.

“This research puts us one step closer to the holy grail – reliable, high-performance quantum computing,” says project leader Dr Giuseppe C. Tettamanzi, Senior Research Fellow, at the University of Adelaide’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing.

Published in the journal Nano Letters, the researchers also report observations of electron behaviour that’s never been seen before – a key finding for those around the world working on quantum computing.

“Quantum computing, or more broadly quantum information processing, will allow us to solve problems that just won’t be possible under classical computing systems,” says Dr Tettamanzi.

“It operates at a scale that’s close to an atom and, at this scale, normal physics goes out the window and quantum mechanics comes into play.

“To indicate its potential computational power, conventional computing works on instructions and data written in a series of 1s and 0s – think about it as a series of on and off switches; in quantum computing every possible value between 0 and 1 is available. We can then increase exponentially the number of calculations that can be done simultaneously.”

This University of Adelaide team, in collaboration with the University of Cambridge, Aalto University in Finland, University of New South Wales, and the University of Latvia, is working in an emerging field called electron quantum optics. This involves controlled preparation, manipulation and measurement of single electrons. Although a considerable amount of work has been devoted world-wide to understand electronic quantum transport, there is much still to be understood and achieved.

“Achieving full control of electrons in these nano-systems will be highly beneficial for realistic implementation of a scalable quantum computer. We, of course, have been controlling electrons for the past 150 years, ever since electricity was discovered. But, at this small scale, the old physics rules can be thrown out,” says Dr Tettamanzi.

“Our final goal is to provide a flow of electrons that’s reliable, continuous and consistent – and in this research, we’ve managed to move a big step towards realistic quantum computing.

“And, maybe equally exciting, along the way we have discovered new quantum effects never observed before, where, at specific frequencies, there is competition between different states for the capture of the same electrons. This observation will help advances in this game-changing field.”

For full media release, please click here.


IPAS Chip Technology for animal welfare biomarkers funded from APRIL & SARDI

Congratulations to Dr Abel Santos and Prof Mark Hutchinson who were awarded a total of $200k in co-funding from the Australasian Pork Research Institute Ltd (APRIL) and the South Australian Research and Development Institute (SARDI).

A key challenge faced by the Australian pork industry is the need to maintain local production of high quality food for a reasonable price and return on production capital invested, without negatively impacting pig welfare, the environment or the health of the consumer.

The aim of this project will be to develop a lab on a chip technology to integrate multiple laboratory assay functions onto a single miniaturised chip system to streamline the assay protocol for animal welfare biomarkers in pig industry.

DSTG presentation at IPAS

We are excited to welcoming Dennis Delic and Barnaby Smith from DSTG at IPAS Seminar on Thursday 12 July from 11:10 -12:00 pm.

Title: Advanced Single Photon Detector Arrays for Defence Applications
Time: 11:10-12:00 pm, Thursday 12th July 2018
Venue: The Braggs – Seminar room level 2
Presenters : Dennis Delic and Barnaby Smith – Defence Science and Technology Group

There are many Defence applications which require electro-optical sensor technologies for detection, tracking and discrimination of distant objects. In this talk we will outline Defence Science and Technology (DST) research into the design and development of Single Photon Avalanche Diode (SPAD) arrays, where we have focussed on miniaturizing individual SPAD detectors using commercially available Complementary Metal-Oxide-Semiconductor (CMOS) processes to allow integration with supporting digital integrated circuits.  Apart from the obvious application for collection of low-light imagery, these detectors are particularly useful for time-of-flight 3D imaging applications using LADAR (LAser Detection And Ranging).  We will outline the latest developments in our SPAD arrays and give a few examples of the LADAR applications we are pursuing.

Dennis Delic has worked in the semiconductor industry for more than twenty-five years as a senior Microelectronic Engineer.   For the last 12 years he has worked at the Defence Science and Technology Group (DST Group) as an applied research specialist leading the design, development and application of CMOS based single photon detectors.

Dr Barnaby Smith undertook a PhD in luminescence at Adelaide University before undertaking postdoctoral research at Bristol and Oxford Universities for a number of years.  Since 1990 he has worked for Defence Science and Technology leading groups working primarily on electro-optical technologies

For further information about this seminar, please contact Dr Ben Sparkes.
For more IPAS Seminars schedules, please click on this link.