Nanotech and solar energy, laser and light

Media releases, nanophotonics
Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE)
  • Small Australian technology powering China’s green revolution
  • 300 movies on a DVD
  • Copying plants
  • Doubling the efficiency of solar panels
  • Talk with the world’s largest producer of high efficiency solar cells

Media alert: Conference starting Sunday evening 21 June 2009

These issues and more will be explored at an international conference opening in Melbourne on Sunday.

Researchers at the conference will reveal how solutions to some of the world’s biggest problems-cheap and reliable solar power; faster computers; customised materials; vast data storage; more powerful microscopes; new medical therapies-depend on what happens at the smallest scale.

Nanophotonics Down Under 2009 Devices and Applications is a conference devoted to how laser and light interact with the very small. Understanding these interactions holds the key to all the above applications.

The conference brings together leading international specialists to identify key challenges in the emerging field of nanophotonics (nano meaning small, photonics meaning using light). There are 37 invited speakers and 83 contributed papers from 18 countries representing every aspect of nanophotonics and its applications.

They include:

  • Shi Zhengrong, the entrepreneur who used Australian R&D to create China’s Suntech, the world’s largest producer of high efficiency solar cells. His company has recently announced an agreement with Swinburne University of Technology to develop new technology based on plasmonics, the study of surface waves of electrons, which they believe can make solar cells twice as efficient for half the cost. He will be available for interview at 10 am on Monday;
  • Satoshi Kawata from Osaka University and Romain Quidant from the Institute of Photonic Sciences in Barcelona, experts in plasmonics and why it can make solar cells more efficient;
  • Peter Zijlstra from Swinburne, who will talk about the new five-dimensional optical data storage system-a cover story in Nature last month-that can fit as many as 300 movies or 250,000 songs on one disc;
  • David Officer from the University of Wollongong, who will look at progress towards replicating photosynthesis as a means of producing hydrogen and energy;
  • Min Gu from Swinburne, who will discuss a microscope technique which allows doctors to diagnose and follow the progress of cancer in three dimensions through tissue; and
  • Max Lu from the University of Queensland, who will reveal the wonder of titanium dioxide in cleaning up air and water.

Nanophotonics Down Under 2009 Devices and Applications runs from Sunday 22 June to Wednesday 24 June at the Melbourne Convention Centre. It is one of the Sir Mark Oliphant series of conferences on the International Frontiers of Science and Technology funded by the Australian Government and managed by the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering (ATSE) and the Australian Academy of Science.

Other major sponsors include the Swinburne University of Technology and the Australian Research Council’s Nanotechnology Network.

For further information, contact Meg Caffin for ATSE, 03 9864 0909, 0413 949 641,

Or Margie Beilharz for Science in Public: 03 9398 1416, 0415 448 065,