Tranforming the global energy landscape
To truly transform our society’s power needs and find a solution to climate change needs the fundamental understanding of energy that physicists possess.
At ANU, physicists are creating solutions in all facets of energy research.
ANU Energy Change Institute
Physics at ANU is a key part of the Energy Change Institute, which draws together energy researchers from across the University: engineers studying smart grids and solar thermal systems, chemists and biologists studying biofuels and artificial photosynthesis, social and legal policy experts as well as physicists.
Students can plug into this vibrant network through the Master of Energy Change, which brings together the wide-ranging expertise present at ANU covering policy, legal, environmental and regulatory aspects of energy change.
The program helps bridge the gap between technical skills and the socio-political context to energy change, making it ideal for anyone with a science or engineering background as well as those with policy, legal or advocacy interests.
The Master of Energy Change is underpinned by a fundamental scientific and technical base and allows students to undertake advanced courses and research projects.
Is nuclear a sensible solution to climate change?
ANU researchers explore some of the fundamental physics of both fission and fusion energy using our beamlines, which are the most energetic in the country. But do they believe Australia should move to nuclear energy?
The best way to find the answer is through the Master of Nuclear Science, which not only covers nuclear energy, but also materials analysis, dating techniques and nuclear medicine.
With this qualification under your belt you'll pull your weight in any informed debate. But will you be for or against nuclear?
Solar cells and efficient LEDs
Distinguished Professor Chennupati Jagadish is a big name in a very small field; much smaller than a human hair.
His nanotechnology research in the Department of Electronic Material Engineering was crucial to the development of highly efficient LEDs that are now revolutionising lighting.
His group is now developing highly efficient solar cells, some of which are tiny – made of nanowires or quantum dots.
Can carbon dioxide be successfully captured in a labyrinth of microscopic crevices underground? The Research School' Department of Applied Mathematics is exploring the complex interactions between high pressure carbon dioxide, salty groundwater and the rocks that house them, using specialized flow apparatus and their ultra-high resolution CT techniques.
"It's especially complicated because carbon dioxide is a supercritical fluid at the pressures and temperatures underground," says Associate Professor Adrian Sheppard.
Bringing the Sun's energy down to earth
Fusion energy promises a low carbon future for the world based on fuels extracted from sea water. It’s a global research effort based around large experiments with high powered magnets and plasmas hotter than the core of the sun, like the H1 Heliac at ANU.
The global focus of current fusion research is the building of ITER, a fusion experiment ten times larger than any built before, which will likely use technology developed at ANU to measure ITER’s plasma temperature and flow.
ANU has links to current fusion experiments around the world through collaborations and former students – for example the DIII-D fusion experiment in San Diego, California has so many ex-ANU students it was anticipating a takeover bid.