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Harnessing light at the nanoscale

18 April 2017
Why light is leading us to the next scientific frontier

Professor Ben Eggleton and Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo are set to illuminate the science of light at the nanoscale with their dazzling Sydney Science Forum.

Professor Ben Eggleton and Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo in the Sydney Nanoscience Hub

Professor Ben Eggleton and Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo set to illuminate at their upcoming Sydney Science Forum.

Nanophotonics has a big, bright future. With applications for telecommunications, environmental monitoring and health, the future is certainly bright with our researchers at the helm.

Professor Ben Eggleton and Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo from the Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) in the School of Physics, will present their Sydney Science Forum on Wednesday 26 April at Westmead. Bright lights: The science of light at the nanoscale will take us on a journey through history to current laboratory experiments to the prospects for the future.

We are fabricating nanoscale devices that will transform how we control information.
Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo
Professor Ben Eggleton in his lab

Professor Ben Eggleton in his lab.

“We have 1000 years of light research and our reflections on the history of photonics reveal some important milestones in the development of our current understanding and use of light.

“Some of the most beautiful mathematical equations ever written tell us how light propagates through our universe,” said Professor Eggleton.

Photons are the building blocks of light and photonics deals with the science and technology of detecting, generating, harnessing and manipulating light.  

“Optical fibres are the highways that connect our world. We investigate how to get light onto these highways, how to get light off these highways and how to avoid collisions,” he said.

Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo aligning equipment in her lab

Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo

“We will delve into the underlying physics of the actual work we conduct in our lab in the Sydney Nanoscience Hub, part of the Australian Institute for Nanoscale Science and Technology (AINST). The results and applications of our work in next generation mobile communication systems and smart sensors, as well as new frontiers of fundamental research, including nonlinear and topological photonics, and in manipulating photons, is quite remarkable. We will provide a glimpse of what happens when we put light through circuitry that is smaller than the wavelength of light itself,” said Dr Andrea Blanco Redondo.

“Photonics can offer information processing solutions that are compact, energy efficient and immune to electromagnetic interference, so photonics presents an ideal way forward to develop fast, efficient technologies that depend on light,” said Ben.

And that’s exactly what these physicists are developing. They will discuss some of the not-so-distant applications of where their research will take us.

Health, telecommunications, information technology, transportation and environmental monitoring will all benefit greatly from photonics.

“We are fabricating nanoscale devices that will transform how we control information. We will be able to control light at the nanoscale within these nanoscale circuits,” Andrea said.

“These devices will be able to fit in your mobile phone. One application is in point-of-care medical diagnostics. Sensing devices will improve the way doctors and nurses might test patients, for example the sensors can be used for analysing blood samples, and improve the efficiency and accuracy in delivering results.

“The devices can be used to monitor local air quality, detecting pollutants and nanoparticles in the atmosphere.

“And imagine the possibilities for telecommunications if we can use nanoscale devices and light to improve our mobile phone capabilities by a factor of 1000,” said Ben.

“We are so pleased to use the University of Sydney’s Westmead Clinical School as the location of this Sydney Science Forum. This is the place where some of the applications of our work will make a frontline difference,” Andrea said.

Watch the recording of the Bright lights: The science of light at the nanoscale public lecture now

A lightbulb shining and the words bright lights

Bright lights: The science of light at the nanoscale

Be dazzled by the amazing science that underpins new technologies, and discover how light is making our future bright.

Wednesday 26 April 2017
5.45pm - 7.00pm
Westmead Education and Conference Centre, John Loewenthal Auditorium, Level 2, Westmead Hospital
Free, registration requested
Watch the talk