07 April 2016 The University of Adelaide
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Dear Colleague,

IPAS External Newsletter 15

Welcome to our 15th External Newsletter.

Director’s Welcome by Prof Andre Luiten

The New Year certainly started with bang in January with our annual IPAS New Year Event attended by 93 members.  We were able to celebrate members’ achievements for 2015 and members had the opportunity to give each other snapshots of their current and upcoming projects.

2015 was a significant year for IPAS with members driving research in an upward trajectory.  We saw publication outputs jump by a total of 20%.  Even more pleasing was the 50% increase from 2014 in High Impact papers.  Grant funding came flowing in with members being awarded over $7M in new grant funding.

We have continued to strengthen our relationship with key government and industry players.  This included: securing a further $250k from State Government for the Photonics Catalyst Program; continued interactions with our strategic partners in Defence Science Technology Group with 4 funded projects worth more than $1.7M and the establishment of the Trajan R&D Hub based in the Braggs Building. Another exciting development in late 2015 was the success of IPAS researchers in establishing two new spinout companies.

The appointment of Prof Robert McLaughlin to the Chair of Biophotonics will ensure the continuation and success in this exciting area of research. Robert is the inventor of the “Microscope in a Needle” technology which uses low-power infra-red waves to probe tissue. This research won The 2015 Australian Innovation Challenge. We look forward to welcoming Robert and his colleagues Bryden Quirk and Jiawin Li in mid April.

A/Prof Martin O’Connor has also joined us leading a number of defence and Industry linked projects in IPAS.

IPAS continues to welcome visits by Government ministers and thus far we have hosted 4 Federal and 6 State Government ministers with many more already scheduled this year.

But IPAS isn’t just about the numbers; I am very pleased to report that we have an extremely healthy social culture enabling our researchers to interact regularly. This interaction underpins the ability of our researchers to generate high quality science and is obvious from the buzz I observe in our numerous meeting rooms and at events.  I very much look forward to the continued growth and successes of IPAS members.

High Impact Research

Human predation contributed to the extinction of the Australian megafaunal bird Genyornis newtoni ∼47 ka

We analysed & dated burned eggshell fragments from the giant (megafaunal) bird Genyornis newtoni, collected at > 200 sites across Australia, and show Genyornis went extinct about 47,000 years ago. This is the first direct proof of human involvement in megafaunal extinction, and of great significance to the debate on whether humans or climate change caused megafaunal mass extinctions.

Authors: Miller, G., Magee, J., Smith, M., Spooner, N., Baynes, A., Lehman, S., Fogel, M., Johnston, H., Williams, D., Clark, P., Florian, C., Holst, R., DeVogel, S.
Nature Communications, 7, 10496 (2016)

IPAS In the Media

Trajan’s Partnership with IPAS announced in Parliament

Take a look at the YouTube clip. Trajan / University of Adelaide story captured in the records of the Australian Parliament.

Challenging the theory of time

IPAS in collaboration with BAE Systems in Australia are helping to develop the world’s most accurate clock which will be used to test the foundation theories of physics.

Full article on the IPAS Blog.

The 40-year search for Einstein’s gravitational waves is over

A global team of researchers, including IPAS Members Associate Professor Veitch, Professor Emeritus Jesper Munch, Associate Professor David Ottaway and PhD student Eleanor (Elli) King, have for the first time detected gravitational waves─ripples in space and time caused by cataclysmic events in the distant universe that were predicted by Einstein in his general theory of relativity 100 years ago. Full article on the IPAS Blog.

Roadmap for light-based technologies

An international expert in photonics is visiting South Australia and the University of Adelaide to investigate the impact and value of light-based technologies to business, government, and the community.

Dr Bob Lieberman, President of the International Society for Optics and Photonics, is investigating the feasibility of establishing South Australia as a world-recognised leader for photonics excellence.
See the full article on the IPAS blog

Pilot Projects 2016

This scheme is intended to seed new research projects and ideas that have potential to become externally-funded research projects. The scheme can support new science that would give the key initial data to create a compelling fundamental science grant application, a fellowship or enable research to create new industry engagement or commercialisation opportunities. $100k of funding was allocated to IPAS members across the following seven projects:

  • Mr Roman Kostecki, Dr Chris Perrella, Dr Philip Light - Demonstrating Spatially Resolved Corrosion Detection
  • Dr Mel McDowall, Dr Jonathan Hall  - Determining embryo health and morphology using whispering gallery modes (WGM)
  • Dr David Ottaway, Mr Andrew Malouf, Dr Ori Henderson Sapir  - Simple Single Pumped 3.5 µm Fiber Lasers
  • Dr Nicolas Riesen, Prof Hans Riesen (UNSW), Dr Peipei Jia, Prof Tanya Monro  - Photoluminescent Storage Phosphors: A Pathway to 3D Memory
  • Dr Yinlan Ruan, Dr Tim Zhao, Dr Victoria Peddie  - A Turn-on fluorescent fiber probe for background free detection of heavy metal ions in water
  • Dr Erik Schartner, Dr Georgios Tsiminis, Mr Mustaf Bekteshi, A/Prof Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem  - Simplified Hollow Core Optical Fibres for Sensing Applications
  • A/Prof Peter Veitch, Prof Jesper Munch, Dr Miftar Ganija  - Spectroscopy and lasing of cryogenic Ho-doped lasers

IPAS New Year Event for 2016

We held our New Year Event this year in ‘The Jungle’ at Kent Town Hotel On 29 January 2016. Winners of our “IPAS Best Papers” competition for 2015 were announced. We were inundated with entries demonstrating the quality and impact of the research being conducted by IPAS members. Full details and winners of the prizes are detailed on the IPAS Blog.

We also announced the winners of our best student presenters for the Annual Student Research Event. Full information on winners and their talk titles here.

Pictures of the event by are on the IPAS Facebook Page

Visiting Speakers

We continue to build collaborations with researchers from around the world. Recently we have hosted the following speakers: