Australian Government invests in next generation of optics for Industry 4.0

The Australian Research Council (ARC) has awarded $34.9 million dollars to the formation of a new Centre of Excellence dedicated to the development of optical technologies.

TMOS, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems, brings together researchers from five Australian universities and 20 partner organisations to develop technology that is fundamental to the progression of Industry 4.0.

Current optics have become a choke point for device miniaturisation. A new solution—meta-optics—is required to further reduce the size, weight, and production costs of technology.

“The Government’s decision to fund this project is a great indication of its commitment to future innovation in this field and its belief that Australia can become the ‘go-to’ location for cutting edge research and development in miniaturised meta-optics that can enable us to see the invisible,” says Centre Director, Dragomir Neshev.

“Australia has the talent, infrastructure and community support that make it an ideal birthing ground for innovation, and we’re excited to be part of this next step towards new technologies that will fundamentally shift the way many industries operate.”

Minister for Innovation and Science Ed Husic said “Australia’s future prosperity and wellbeing relies on undertaking the fundamental research required to transform the industries of the future. Integrating and advancing our knowledge of light and its interaction with materials at the nanoscale is a tremendously exciting new field.

“I’m keen to see how TMOS, the new ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems, will deepen our knowledge of this growing area of science pioneered in Australia that promises to have significant impact on our future way of life.”

ARC CEO Ms Judith Zielke said ““Australian Research Council Centres of Excellence are focal points of expertise, through which high calibre researchers collaborate to deepen and deliver research in areas of national priority, strengthen Australia’s international standing, and have a strong impact on the quality of life enjoyed by Australians.

“I am looking forward to seeing the real-life research outcomes of the ARC Centre of Excellence over the coming years and the amazing researchers that will be continuing to innovate for Australia as a result of their training and the work with industry partners”

Some of the Centre’s research projects include the development of ultra-thin photodetectors for infrared and remote sensing, single photon emitters and detectors for quantum technology and LIDAR, infrared upconversion technology for enhanced night vision, tuneable detectors for multi-gas sensing, and nanophotonics-enabled coverslips for mobile medical diagnostics.

The dreams though, and what the Centre is taking a coordinated approach to achieving, are full colour moving holograms and wearable sensor for biometric tracking.

Neshev says, “Advancements in optical metasurfaces have significant industrial implications. Space, agriculture, medtech, defence, transport, and consumer entertainment are just a few of the industries it will transform from adopting this new technology. We’re currently searching for collaborators who can see new applications for it and want to help lead that change.”

TMOS researchers come from Australian National University, University of Technology Sydney, RMIT University, University of Melbourne, University of Western Australia. It has 20 national and international partners.

The Centre will officially launch at the new ANU Physics Building on 28th September 2022 with the Australian Research Council Chief Executive Officer Ms Judith Zielke and ANU Vice Chancellor Prof. Brian Schmidt in attendance.

For media enquiries, please contact Samara Thorn, Engagement Manager, TMOS Phone: +61421 276 272

About the author/s

Samara Thorn

As the Engagement Manager at TMOS, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems, my role is to help researchers communicate their science and help businesses understand how the new field of meta-optics will transform their industry and where future opportunities for growth li ... more

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