Tag Archives: laser

Clean gas, clean air

New technologies are making natural gas a cheaper and greener fuel

Air quality in China’s cities is improving thanks to government initiatives to reduce urban coal burning. In Beijing, for example, homes, schools, hospitals and factories are switching from coal to gas for heating. As a result, demand for gas has quadrupled over the past decade. Now Australian researchers are partnering with Chinese industry to make gas production even cleaner and more efficient.

Both countries will benefit. China has large gas reserves but much of the gas is in unconventional sources such as coal seam gas and shale gas. The gases from these sources can contain less than 50 per cent methane so impurities such as carbon dioxide and nitrogen must be removed. For nitrogen that usually means cooling the gas to separate the valuable methane from the nitrogen in an energy-intensive process costing billions of dollars.

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Zebedee bounces around, mapping as he goes

Now you can map a mine, cave, building or forest just by walking through it with Zebedee in your hand.

A 3D laser scan by Zebedee of the wreck of the HMQS Gayundah, at Redcliffe, Queensland. Credit: CSIRO

CSIRO scientist Elliot Duff and his colleagues developed a spring-mounted hand-held laser scanner that can make 3D images of spaces previously impossible to map.

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A new art form from nanotech

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).

Paula Dawson’s work may help to deliver holographic TV and 3D display technologies – represented with an artist’s impression. Credit: Paul Henderson-Kelly

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.

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Laser therapy to fight early signs of eye disease

Around fifteen per cent of people aged in their fifties who think their eyes are fine will show the early signs of age-related macular degeneration (AMD) if tested.

A scan reveals bleeding inside the eye due to age-related macular degeneration. CREDIT: CERA.
A scan reveals bleeding inside the eye due to age-related macular degeneration. CREDIT: CERA

It is Australia’s leading cause of blindness and there is no way to stop it progressing even when detected in its earliest phase.

“There have been advances in treatment but that’s at the end stage,” says Prof Robyn Guymer, who heads the Macular Research Unit at the Centre for Eye Research Australia. Continue reading Laser therapy to fight early signs of eye disease