Feds splash $34.9m on 'meta-optics' research at ANU

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Feds splash $34.9m on 'meta-optics' research at ANU

For li-fi, holograms and sensing systems.

Ultra-fast light-based wi-fi, holographic displays and monitoring systems research at the Australian National University has received a $34.9 million boost in the latest round of the government’s Centres of Excellence program.

The Australian Research Council (ARC) Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems is set to examine the interaction of light with nano-materials for smaller, faster devices.

"This work will make Australia a leader in the optical technologies for the fourth industrial revolution and improve all our lives," said ANU’s Professor Dragomir Neshev, who will lead the new centre.

He said the centre will help create a number of optical systems to underpin other advanced and emerging technologies including autonomous vehicles, artificial intelligence, augmented reality, wearable sensors and remote sensing.

"The centre will help develop real-time monitoring systems for driver fatigue to keep people safe on our roads. It will lead to smaller, smarter, faster and cheaper wearable optical sensors to better monitor our health.

"It will also produce holographic displays and augmented reality for more immersive and powerful education in our classrooms, and laser tech that makes autonomous vehicles better at predicting and avoiding hazards.

"And it will underpin light-based li-fi - which is a thousand times faster than current technologies - to be used in our mobile phones and laptops."

ANU Provost, Professor Mike Calford, added that the outcomes of the research will have significant impacts for “everyday Australians” and the economy.

"This revolutionary new centre will help strengthen Australia's very own knowledge economy - setting up a global epicentre for light-based research and development that will develop the products of tomorrow, today.

"Currently, light underpins industry worth approximately $1,000 billion to the world economy.”

While ANU will lead the centre, the University of Melbourne, the University of Technology Sydney, RMIT University, and the University of Western Australia, as well as industry and universities across six other countries will contribute to the research.

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