Transistor model sets the standard

Dr Sourabh Khandelwal from the Department of Engineering has developed a model for a GaN (gallium nitride) transistor that has been adopted as an international standard.

Silicon transistors are a critical part of modern electronics. There’s a few million of them in your smartphone alone, but owing to their fundamental material limitations they’re extremely inefficient for emerging applications.

GaN transistors are emerging as a go-to technology for use in future applications like 5G communications, sensing electronics in autonomous cars, and compact converters for renewable energy. They’re more efficient than silicon, meaning they’ll use less power and can also be made smaller than silicon transistors. Continue reading Transistor model sets the standard

Using nanoparticles to better target cancer tumours

Dr Andrew Care from the Department of Molecular Sciences has been awarded a 2018 Early Career Fellowship from the Cancer Institute NSW.

Andrew’s fellowship will fund research looking at how biological nanoparticles can be used to better deliver anti-cancer drugs to destroy tumours.

Andrew and his team are re-engineering protein-based nanoparticles that are normally found in microorganisms, like bacteria. These re-engineered nanoparticles will be capable of carrying anti-cancer drugs to tumours inside the body. Continue reading Using nanoparticles to better target cancer tumours

Fresh Science

Fresh Science helps Australian early-career researchers find their story and their voice.

Over the past 20 years Fresh Science has trained and empowered more than 500 future leaders in science to engage with the community, media, government and industry.

In 2016, we chose 60 researchers around the country, trained them, and gave them the chance to present their science in pubs, school talks and to the media. Here are a few of their stories.

Continue reading Fresh Science

Reinventing the laser

High-power lasers have many potential applications: from medical imaging to manufacturing, shooting down drones or space junk, or powering deep space probes. But current laser technologies overheat at high power.

Associate Professor Rich Mildren and his team have developed a technique to make diamond lasers that, in theory, have extraordinary power range. Five years ago, their lasers were just a few watts in power. Now they’ve reached 400 watts, close to the limit for comparable conventional lasers.

Continue reading Reinventing the laser

Protecting surfers from shark attacks

Macquarie University researchers discovered that most sharks are colour blind, and used that knowledge to create patented wetsuit camouflage designs that are now on the market. Now the team is looking at how sharks perceive surfboards.

Associate Professor Nathan Hart, his students and collaborators are taking a new look at the sensory world of sharks. Using a range of physiological, genetic and behavioural methods, they have obtained the clearest view yet of how sharks, including notorious predators such the great white shark, see the world around them. 

Continue reading Protecting surfers from shark attacks

Modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought

Dating of ancient human teeth discovered in a Sumatran cave site suggests modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought.

The international research, led by Dr Kira Westaway from Macquarie University and published in Nature, has pushed back the timing of when humans first left Africa, their arrival in Southeast Asia, and the first time they lived in rainforests.

Continue reading Modern humans were in Southeast Asia 20,000 years earlier than previously thought

The mystery of leaf size solved

Why is a banana leaf a million times bigger than a common heather leaf? Why are leaves generally much larger in tropical jungles than in temperate forests and deserts? The textbooks say it’s a balance between water availability and overheating.

But it’s not that simple.

A global team of researchers, led by Associate Professor Ian Wright from Macquarie University, revealed that in much of the world the key limiting factor for leaf size is night temperature and the risk of frost damage to leaves.

Continue reading The mystery of leaf size solved

Immune boost for cancer patients with HIV

Cancer is the leading cause of death among people with HIV and yet cancer treatment can be risky as their immune system is already compromised.

Now, a new class of drugs developed at the Kirby Institute at the University of New South Wales is providing hope—demonstrating it is effective in treating the cancer and strengthening the immune response to that cancer.

Continue reading Immune boost for cancer patients with HIV