Australian Institute of Physics Congress

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The 22nd  Australian Institute of Physics Congress was held as a joint conference with the 13th Asia Pacific Physics Conference in December 2016.

Below are the media releases, media alerts and other news items released during the Congress. The  proceeding were also tweeted from @AsiaAusPhysics and @ausphysics on #BrisPhys16. The conference website is appc-aip2016.org.au.

If you’d like more information on any of these stories, please contact

The quantum manifesto: why quantum is worth one billion Euro to Europe; and is being funded by the US big tech companies

Thursday 8 December 2016

Professor Alain Aspect firmly believes we’ve entered the second quantum revolution—an age which will see radical technological developments across industries, from manufacturing and measurement, to energy generation and computing.

During the first quantum revolution, we discovered the rules that govern the quantum realm, and how they differ from classical physics. Those discoveries, from 1950 onward, led to the invention of lasers, transistors and optical fibres.

Now in the second revolution we’re taking these rules and using them to develop new technologies in communications, measurement, and computing. Today at the Physics Congress, Alain Aspect from Institut d’Optique Graduate School will review how we got to where we are today, and share his hopes for what’s next.  [continue reading…]

Looking into fly eyes for the perfect solar cell; embracing chaos to improve solar power; and printing high-temperature superconductors

banner Thursday 8 December 2016

On the final day of the Physics Congress in Brisbane we’re hearing about inventions that could change the way we generate and store power.

Researchers available for interview, contact Toni Stevens on 0401 763 130 or toni@scienceinpublic.com.au

QUT researchers spot solar revolution in fly eyes

physics-7

The compound eyes of flies have inspired QUT researchers hunting for the perfect solar cell.

Fly eyes have evolved over millions of years to make the most of the tiny amount of visible light that hits them in a brilliant example of natural nanotechnology. The team’s zinc-oxide replicas pull off the same tricks, using a three-zone structure copied straight from a real-life fly. The bio-inspired nanomaterial captures energy across a wide solar spectrum using only one material, something that conventional solar panels struggle to achieve with a plethora of metals. The fly-eye solution comes “very close to perfection,” says Dr Ziqi Sun, and could readily be incorporated into modern solar cells for an impressive boost in energy harvesting.

At the conference Ziqi will talk about the underlying technology that he and his colleagues have developed to make nano-structures using sheets of metal oxides. The new solar cell design will be published in Materials Today Chemistry. [continue reading…]

The biggest discovery of 2016 was gravitational waves, but what’s next?

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Have more been found, what is Australia’s role, and why should we care?

Back in February 2016 it was Professor David Reitze who announced to the world that gravitational waves had been discovered at LIGO, 100 years after Einstein predicted them.

Credit: Matt Heintze/Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab

Credit: Matt Heintze/Caltech/MIT/LIGO Lab

And now they want to find more. Last Thursday LIGO resumed the search for gravitational waves and the world is eagerly awaiting the results.

Today in Brisbane David Reitze will give a first-hand account of what it is like to make a potentially Nobel-prize winning discovery, which is being hailed as the beginning of a new era in astronomy.

[continue reading…]

Nanodiamonds to highlight cancer; plasma in the workplace; super-light night-vision glasses; science-art created by Synchrotron light; and more

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Nanorubies and diamonds make your cancer cells stand out in a crowd (Melbourne)

Near-infrared fluorescent nanomaterials could help surgeons better identify tumour tissue to remove, and healthy tissue to leave, according to researchers at RMIT. Dr Philipp Reineck and his team tested seven classes of red and near-infrared fluorescent materials in spectroscopy and fluorescence microscopy experiments for the first time. They found that nanomaterials such as nanodiamonds and nanorubies are vastly more stable than the organic dyes currently in use—glowing brighter for longer. [continue reading…]

Australia set to ride the quantum computing wave

Tuesday 6 December 2016  banner

Scientists available for interview from the Physics Congress in Brisbane

We have the technology! The first simple quantum computers are being built all over the world as decades of research and development culminate in technology that accurately builds structures atom by atom.

Researchers already have practical plans for building usable quantum computers based on silicon, the director of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology Professor Michelle Simmons, at the University of New South Wales, will tell the Australian Physics Congress in Brisbane on Wednesday.  [continue reading…]

Australia helping to crack fusion power, bringing the energy of the sun down to earth for a zero carbon future

banner Tuesday 6 December 2016

It’s the world’s biggest experiment—a multi-billion machine, with first results in 2025.

Speakers from around the world, including senior advisor to the ITER project Professor Jean Jacquinot, will speak at the Physics Congress in Brisbane about the global race to master the process that powers our sun. Researchers from ANU will speak about Australia’s involvement.  [continue reading…]

Arc welders in the operating room; the physics of kangaroo’s knees; no more exploding smartphones; women in leadership; and more

Tuesday 6 December 2016

No more exploding smartphones: Australia-China supercapacitor collaboration (Brisbane)

The perils of lithium-ion batteries are well known to owners of the Galaxy Note 7, but battery fires have also plagued power plants and even passenger jets in-flight. The Queensland Government is getting behind an Australia-China collaboration to build supercapacitors: purely electric storage devices using graphene, which promise many advantages over their chemical-based cousins.

QUT’s Professor Nunzio Motta is leading the Australian end of the research. The major challenge is developing scalable ways of growing graphene sheets. At the Congress, he’ll present his work on growing graphene for other kinds of electronic components but he’s happy to talk about both areas and the potential of graphene. He imagines, for example, a car or train in which the body panels act as energy stores extending the battery range, and storing energy from braking.  [continue reading…]

Australian scientists stalking, sensing and trapping elusive dark matter

banner Monday 5 December 2016

Scientists available for interview from the Physics Congress in Brisbane

Media contacts

Australian physicists are using all the skills of experienced hunters in their quest for dark matter, the 85 per cent of matter in the Universe we have not been able to detect. And they are getting closer to their quarry.

Members of three separate groups from across the continent will give the latest updates from the hunt at the APPC-AIP Physics Congress in Brisbane.

Dark matter is so called because it does not interact with light or any other electromagnetic radiation. So the physicist hunters need to use all their ingenuity to track it down.  [continue reading…]

Satellites the size of bread; why making anti-matter matters; telescopes on a chip; our neutrino world and more

Monday 5 December 2016

A new constellation of Australian satellites – packed up and ready for launch in 2017 (Canberra)

Credit: Stuart Hay, ANU

Credit: Stuart Hay, ANU

Australia is heading into space: Professor Christine Charles (ANU) was part of the Australian team of Universities that are launching Australian research satellites into space for the first time in over a decade.

Three Australian designed and built cubesats – satellites the size of a loaf of bread – are soon to be launched into space as part of the EU QB 50 Program.

Credit: Stuart Hay, ANU

Credit: Stuart Hay, ANU

Charles’ plasma thruster system for spacecraft is just one of the Aussie ideas which is being studied to extend the capabilities of nano-satellites. Christine Charles will explain the possibilities for this renaissance of Australian space science.

[continue reading…]

QLD’s forgotten Nobel Prize winner

Rediscovering the physicist born a century ago in Far North Queensland who went on to win a Nobel Prize for his role in the invention of the laser.

AOSlogo Australia’s forgotten Nobel Prize winner Aleksandr Prokhorov was born 11 July 1916 in Atherton, Far North Queensland—the child of refugee parents fleeing Tsarist Russia.

When he died in 2002, Prokhorov was a nation AIPlogo al hero in Russia. Here, his Australian roots are largely forgotten.

Australian physicists are now working to change that.

The Australian Optical Society (AOS) sessions at the Congress on Monday morning will be held in honour of Prokhorov— AOS President, Professor Stephen Collins can speak to the topic.

The centenary of Prokhorov’s birth was also celebrated in a series of spectacular laser-shows in Far North Queensland as part of National Science Week.

[continue reading…]