Multi-million dollar photonics research centre

7 April 2011

Profs Ben Eggleton & Trevor Hambely, Dean of Sciences at University of Sydney with Christopher Armstrong

A research centre developing technology with the potential to revolutionise quantum computing and transform the defence industry was officially launched at the centre's Sydney University headquarters on Wednesday 6 April.

The new phase of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS) has secured $23.8 million in federal funding for research and development until 2017.

The NSW Government is also supporting the research centre with $500,000 through the State's Science Leveraging Fund, a program that supports NSW-based research and development consortia.

Scientists involved in CUDOS are building on their groundbreaking research that has already developed photonic chips which can dramatically increase the speed and power of information processing.

The technology, which involves controlling light at the nanoscale, has the potential to increase internet speeds by more than a thousand times and will be used to magnify the capacity of the National Broadband Network.

The research is also focused on delivering greener telecommunications by reducing the power consumption needed to meet the rapid growth of the internet.

The CUDOS scientists are investigating other uses for the photonic chip technology which include applications to detect explosives or chemicals that may be used in terrorist attacks, environmental pollutants or disease.

The centre will also look at ways the photonic chips can be further developed using metamaterials, which are new, artificially engineered materials that have extraordinary properties; properties that in other applications could one day be used to create invisibility cloaks.

Plans to commercialise some of the innovations are already underway, with the centre looking to establish a technology start-up business in Sydney.

CUDOS is a collaboration between a number of Australian companies and universities including University of Sydney, Macquarie University, University of Technology, Sydney as well as other partners interstate and overseas including University of Oxford, Imperial College London, University of Karlsruhe in Germany and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology, Japan.

For more information on the Centre for Ultra bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems go to www.cudos.org.au.