Detection of dangerous water-borne pathogens will soon be much easier, thanks to advances using microfluidic systems developed at the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (MCN), the Victorian node of the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF).
Microfluidics deals with the control and manipulation of fluids in tiny, constrained volumes, in order to perform scientific tasks. The advantages in such systems centre around the cost and effort savings associated with miniaturisation and automation. Continue reading Small devices to fight a big disease→
Surgeons may soon be able to regrow patients’ nerves, such as those in damaged spinal cords, using technology adapted from the type of inkjet printer most of us have connected to our computer at home.
Researchers at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Electromaterials Science (ACES), University of Wollongong (UOW) node in NSW, have spent the past three years developing the technology to print living human cells—nerve cells and muscle cells onto tiny biodegradable polymer scaffolds. They’ve also developed a special “ink” that carries the cells.
Swinburne University of Technology, Melbourne, Australia
The global race to develop high efficiency, low cost solar energy is fierce. And Baohua Jia and her colleagues are front runners.
Conventional solar cells are efficient, but thick and expensive. Baohua and her colleagues imagine a future when solar cells are so thin and cheap that city skyscrapers will be powered by a coating on their glass. But at present such thin-film solar cells are not efficient enough for general use.
Using her knowledge of nanotechnology and optics, Baohua and her colleagues have already created thin-film solar cells that are more than 20 per cent more efficient than those of her competitors. They have already lodged two patents.
But Baohua thinks she can do better. And that will be the focus of the work assisted by her $25,000 L’Oréal Australia & New Zealand For Women in Science Fellowship.
Science and art have combined to bring hand-drawn content for holographic TV and other 3D display technologies a step closer, thanks to research at the Australian National Fabrication Facility’s NSW node (ANFF-NSW) at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).
Unlike the traditional method of making a hologram—which involves reflecting a laser off a real object—the new technique simulates objects within computer software. In a recent test, a virtual, digital hologram file was produced and etched as a 3 mm-wide nanoscale pattern onto a glass plate using ANFF-NSW’s Electron Beam Lithography facility. When laser light was shone through the glass, a 3D hologram sprang into life.
New Australian technology will enable real-time monitoring of wine throughout its fermentation and maturation process, reducing spoilage and improving quality.
The “Smart Bung” technology has been pioneered at the University of Adelaide by the Institute for Photonics & Advanced Sensing (IPAS) and the School of Agriculture, Food and Wine (SAFW). The work is led by Prof Tanya Monro, Director of IPAS.
An optical fibre sensor incorporated into the bung of a wine cask can detect substances that might cause the wine to spoil. The optical fibres have tiny holes that take up minute samples of the wine. The sensor shines light through the fibres to determine the concentration of certain important chemicals, such as hydrogen peroxide and sulphur dioxide—all without having to open the cask. The system will enable continuous, real-time cask-by-cask monitoring and an immediate response if problems are detected.
A breakthrough in the electroactive polymers used to make electrically controlled micro “artificial muscles” could be important for future drug delivery in the body, as well as a having a host of other applications.
The new research, conducted at the Australian National Fabrication Facility’s (ANFF) materials node at the University of Wollongong (UOW) in NSW has produced materials which, unlike earlier versions, do not need to be immersed in an electrolyte solution. They are self-sufficient and can even work in air. Continue reading Micro muscles bend to the task→
Miniaturised sensors are nothing new, but ones made from a combination of silicon carbide (SiC) and the single-layer lattice of carbon atoms known as graphene certainly are. These new sensors are being designed to operate under the harshest of conditions.
Research, led by the Australian National Fabrication Facility’s (ANFF) Queensland node at Griffith University, promises a new generation of tiny microelectromechanical system (MEMS) sensors that are sensitive to very low forces, can work at high frequencies and in extreme conditions—above 1,000°C or under an acceleration of several times g—and are resistant to chemical attack. Continue reading Micro sensors for extreme conditions→
The first microscopes gave humans the ability peer deep into the microscopic world, allowing us to see cells and microbes in unprecedented detail. Using the latest electron microscopes we are now able to see detail down to single atoms.
In fact, materials scientists can detect impurities in their latest compounds, atom by atom, using powerful electron microscopes aided by sophisticated modelling of what happens when the electron beam hits the material.
Dr Adrian D’Alfonso and a team of theoretical physicists at the University of Melbourne have developed these models and they are already helping groups around the world look at and understand nanomaterials in a way they haven’t been able to before.