TMOS 2023 Annual Report – A Message from our Centre Director

At the ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems, 2023 was a year of remarkable achievements. It was a year full of enthusiasm to excel in our collaboration activities without the constraints of Zoom and lockdowns. Collaborations lie at the heart of a Centre of Excellence, serving as its lifeblood and its driving force for innovation and success. Within TMOS, expert engineers, physicists and entrepreneurs converge to push boundaries and achieve research excellence. Our collaborations foster a dynamic intellectual environment with diverse perspectives, flourishing ideas, and shared knowledge. In the TMOS 2023 annual report, we feature the power of collaboration that allows us to transcend individual capabilities in research, education, equity, outreach, and translation.

A team of high achievers

I am honoured to lead the accomplished TMOS team. This year, the team’s research has yielded 119 publications in major refereed journals, including prestigious titles such as Nature Photonics, Nature Nanotechnology, Advanced Materials, Nature Communications, and Light Science and Applications. I commend the efforts of our team member and research program manager, Dr. Lukas Wesemann, who has established a new startup company called MLAI Aus, with the goal of empowering AI builders in Australia. I would also like to recognize the outstanding achievements of our team members, who have received major awards in 2023, including Prof. Jagadish (Pravasi Bharatiya Samaan Award, Thomas D. Callinan Award, Fellow of Chinese Academy of Science, and Fellow of Chinese Chemical Society), Prof. Ken Crozier (Fellow Optica and Fellow of SPIE), and Prof. Sharath Sriram (Rotary International Chennai Chapter Young Achiever Award and Innovation Leader Award Finalist).

Fostering Collaborations and Engagements

Centre-wide events flourished last year. The fortnightly online Centre seminars, Science Tuesdays, are now screened at the node hubs, allowing the students and staff from each node to get together, participate in the seminar, and exchange ideas. In addition, we have enjoyed research theme workshops, an in-person ECR & Student conference at Kioloa and, of course, the annual TMOS Conference, which took place at Tangalooma Island Resort in Queensland. More than 100 people attended the annual conference, which combined team-building and networking activities together with a top-notch scientific and educational program. Many of our international collaborators also joined the TMOS team at this conference. The Centre’s achievements were praised by the members of the Centre Advisory Board and the International Scientific Advisory Committee, who also provided constructive feedback for future development.

In 2023, we increased our external engagement as well as cross-node collaborations within the Centre. We released a major update to the TMOS website, which includes excellent educational information about meta-optics and its applications. Additionally, the website provides detailed information about the potential impact of our research on major industry sectors, including defence, space, and the medical sectors. Our translational research has been presented at various research and industry conferences, leading to increased external interest and numerous discovery calls with potential industry partners.

We have also taken a proactive approach to shaping science policies at both national and international levels. Spearheaded by Chief Investigator Prof. Jagadish, President of the Australian Academy of Science, we have made submissions to several government proposals, including the national quantum strategy. We led several professional conferences, such as the In-STEM conference in Melbourne, the 2023 KOALA Student Conference in Canberra, and the 2023 ANZCOP Conference in Canberra. These activities made our Centre a major contributor to the Australian science community.

Advanced research program

The Centre’s research program continues to be refined. The Centre’s application-driven flagship program has emerged and with it has come increased industry and government engagement as the real-world impact of meta-optics become more tangible. The flagship program focuses on integrated devices using technology that’s at a higher technology readiness level. It is not only a path for the translation of our fundamental research, but for further collaboration and higher impact.

International development of the field

Our research development is well-aligned with major international activities. The field is fast-moving, driven by industry needs. In the past year, we have seen the emergence of multiple start-ups, a number of steadily growing companies such as Metalenz continuing to flourish, and investment in the meta-optics industry by major technology players. Major manufacturing powerhouses such as TSMC, UMC, Canon and A*Star have all taken an interest in the field. This industry growth signals a thriving field with a bright future. At TMOS, we are particularly excited to see the interest in our technology from non-traditional disciplines, such as telescope instrumentation, satellite earth observation, and gravitational wave detectors. TMOS is well-positioned to lead this development, and as we consider our future legacy, we will look to where we could have the biggest impact.

Actions and Initiatives for 2024

In 2024, we will conduct our mid-term review. During this review, we will take the time to reflect on the Centre’s mission and accomplishments. We will assess how we can improve and focus our efforts for the second half of the Centre. We will compare ourselves to international development standards, while also considering the needs of our staff and students at TMOS. We want to ensure that we provide the best support for their career paths. We will enhance our Centre training and provide project management training to our research and flagship managers, as well as key Centre personnel to further advance the translational program of the Centre and maximise its engagement and impact.

I am most excited about what we can achieve in 2024. I am eager to work alongside the TMOS team to ensure that our research is recognized and impactful.

Prof. Dragomir Neshev, Centre Director

About the author/s

Dragomir Neshev

Dragomir Neshev is a Professor in Physics at the Australian National University (ANU) and the Director of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems (TMOS). He received the PhD degree in Physics from Sofia University, Bulgaria in 1999, in the field o ... more

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