The future of electronics is chemical

We can’t cram any more processing power into silicon-based computer chips.

But a paper published in Nature overnight reveals how we can make electronic devices 10 times smaller, and use molecules to build electronic circuits instead.

We’re reaching the limits of what we can do with conventional silicon semiconductors. In order for electronic components to continue getting smaller we need a new approach.

Molecular electronics, which aims to use molecules to build electronic devices, could be the answer. Continue reading The future of electronics is chemical

Why so blue? New research sheds light on why our iconic blue-tongue lizards have such colourful tongues

By Macquarie University

A new study by researchers at Macquarie University has shed light on why blue tongue lizards have such an outrageously coloured tongue, given that the vast majority of lizards have a regular pink tongue.

The study, just published in the journal Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology, found that the colour is not accidental, and likely evolved as a protection against predators. Continue reading Why so blue? New research sheds light on why our iconic blue-tongue lizards have such colourful tongues

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

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

Unravelling atoms: the Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter

Almost all matter we can see and touch is made up of the protons and neutrons. But what are protons and neutrons composed of? The simple answer is quarks, of which there are six distinct kinds, held together by gluons.

The ‘strong force’ carried by gluons is about 100 times stronger than electromagnetism, which governs the interactions of atoms. It’s a major focus of the ARC Special Research Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter (CSSM).

Established 20 years ago at the University of Adelaide, the Centre is at the international forefront of investigating the ramifications of quantum chromodynamics (QCD), the theory which describes the strong force interactions that are fundamental to how our world works.

Continue reading Unravelling atoms: the Centre for the Subatomic Structure of Matter

Quantum computers with photons

The idea behind quantum computing has been around for almost half a century, but getting to a point where quantum effects can be created experimentally has taken a long time.

Now that materials physics and photonics have caught up, the race is on to devise and construct a quantum device that can out-compute today’s solid-state silicon supercomputers.

And Swinburne is leading the way with the use of photons.

Continue reading Quantum computers with photons

Gravitational waves—looking further

The brainpower of 18 institutions and more than $30 million are expanding the net to detect gravitational waves—disturbances in the fabric of spacetime—and cement Australia’s role in the emerging field.

Continue reading Gravitational waves—looking further

Australian Science Prizes 2016

Clunies Ross Awards

Dr Elaine Saunders has made premium hearing aids more affordable and easier to use. She and her team have built on Australia’s bionic ear technologies to create a system where you can: test your hearing online; buy your hearing aid online and receive it set up ready for you; and adjust the hearing aid with your smartphone while you’re at the pub, dancing, or watching TV.

Credit: Blamey Saunders

Continue reading Australian Science Prizes 2016

Hearing voices is normal; lenses a thousandth of a hair-width; harnessing the Internet of Things; and more—Swinburne University of Technology

Researchers at Swinburne University of Technology are working on:

Continue reading Hearing voices is normal; lenses a thousandth of a hair-width; harnessing the Internet of Things; and more—Swinburne University of Technology