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Atomic blueprint device: a winner

25 November 2016
Atomic microscope will assist the development of new materials

Dr Peter Liddicoat, a recipient of AMP Tomorrow funds and PhD graduate of Materials Engineering, has developed a new microscope that can unravel the ‘DNA’ of inorganic materials. 

Peter Liddicoat studies data

The Atom Microscope by Projection is capable of imaging atoms in 3D, providing a 100x resolution improvement.  This innovative research led to Atomnaut, a startup company to bring the new microscope to the world.  

Hidden in this atomic data are the answers for how to engineer longer-lasting batteries, quantum computing chips, improved solar cells or even higher-temperature superconductivity
Dr Peter Liddicoat, recipient of the AMP Tomorrow Fund

Finding a way to explore the world’s materials one atom at a time has secured a University of Sydney graduate support from the AMP’s Tomorrow Fund, the AMP Foundation’s annual $1 million grants program.

Dr Peter Liddicoat, recipient of the funding and PhD graduate of Materials Engineering, has developed a new microscope that can unravel the ‘DNA’ of inorganic materials.

“For the first time, we can measure the position and identity of every atom for millions of atoms at a time.”

Developing a new material for cars, planes or electronics takes decades and billions of dollars.  Dr Liddicoat’s new Atom Microscope by Projection will assist in unlocking powerful computer design methods with the potential to reduce costs by a factor of 10 or more.

Dr Liddicoat developed the Atom Microscope by Projection to help solve the problem of missing data.  Knowing a material’s complete atomic structure has recently been dubbed materials ‘genome’ or ‘DNA’.

“Hidden in this atomic data are the answers for how to engineer longer-lasting batteries, quantum computing chips, improved solar cells or even higher-temperature superconductivity,” he says.

“Like human DNA, we will be able to read the atomic blueprint for a material, decode it, then redesign it.”

Professor Archie Johnston, Dean of the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technologies, congratulated Dr Liddicoat.

“We have been delighted to be able to support Peter’s endeavours over the past 18 months through our Sydney Accelerator Network SAN-IT program,” he says.

“SAN-IT provides a platform for students, graduates, academics and industry practitioners to collaborate and come up with innovative solutions to challenging problems, and to pursue opportunities for creating new products and services.

“Equipped with state-of-the-art infrastructure, the accelerator provides a conducive environment for experimenting with innovative ideas and developing and testing prototype solutions,” Professor Johnston says.

Victoria Hollick

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