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.
Forty per cent of the energy consumed by industry is used to separate things— in natural gas production, mineral processing, food production, pollution control. The list goes on.
Each offers an application for Matthew Hill’s crystals. He has demonstrated that the space inside metalorganic frameworks (MOFs)—the world’s most porous materials—can be used as efficient and long-lasting filters.
By choosing different combinations of metals and plastics, Matthew’s CSIRO team can make a wide range of customised crystals. Then, using antimatter and synchrotron light, they map the internal pores, determine what each crystal can do and explore potential applications.
Watson and Crick’s discovery of the structure of DNA is arguably the greatest of the 20th century. The significance lies in its profound influence on our understanding of the nature of life and in its striking demonstration of the power of two disciplines – physics and biology – collaborating to solve a major problem.
LED lighting is sweeping the world. It’s energy efficient, long lasting, and could save users billions of dollars worldwide and dramatically reduce carbon emissions. But it’s still a young technology. Much more efficient lights are on the way.