9.00am Director’s presentation
Prof Tim Senden
10.00am What do footprints on wet sand have to do with building robotic grippers?
Dr Mohammad Saadatfar, Applied Maths
Shake sand; it will act like gas. Pour it from a bucket; it will flow like a liquid. Stand on it and it will support your weight like a solid object. Sand belongs to a special class of matter known as granular materials, which exhibit unique properties depending on their boundary conditions. In this talk, I will explore the physics behind some of the fascinating behaviours of granular materials.
10.15am Atto-clock mystery: How long does it take an electron to tunnel?
Prof Anatoli Kheifets, Atomic Molecular Physics Laboratories
The attoclock uses the rotating electric field of a circularly polarized laser pulse as a hand of the clock. By applying this measuring technique to multi-photon atomic ionization, experimentalists find themselves facing an almost age-old and controversial question: how long does it take an electron to tunnel through a barrier? Does the attoclock provide the correct answer?
10.30am Nano-satellites for mega-scale experimental physics
Prof Christine Charles, Centre Plasma Fluids
Space is the largest laboratory available to physicists. Low-cost nano-satellites are becoming the platform of choice for physics experiments, for astrophysics, for Earth observations and for terrestrial communications systems. Here we present our work on Cubesats: space instrumentation testing and calibration, cold gas and plasma propulsion systems.
10.45am Morning Tea
Leonard Huxley Building Courtyard
Departmental talks (cont)
11.15am Liquid Instruments
Prof Daniel Shaddock, Department Quantum Science
In August 2014, a group of ANU researchers and students took the plunge and formed a new company, Liquid Instruments, to develop, manufacture and sell a new test and measurement device. In this talk I will give an overview of why Liquid Instruments began, how things have unfolded, and where we are headed. I’ll try to highlight what went wrong, what went right, and give some advice for any others that are considering dipping a toe in the water of research commercialisation.
11.30am Race towards faster-than-flash memory
Dr Dinesh Venkatachalam, Electronic Materals Engineering
With ‘Flash’ memory rapidly approaching scaling limits (or perhaps not) it gives other new technologies an opportunity to rise to displace the current technology. This talk will highlight the recent materials science advances to build one such serious contender, resistive random access memory (ReRAM).
11.45am Alchemy of ultrafast microexplosion
Prof Andrei Rode, Laser Physics
Powerful ultrashort laser pulses focused in a bulk of transparent material create the temperature and pressure conditions comparable to that exists inside planets and stars. In this talk we demonstrate a possibility to create entirely new exotic states of matter with unusual physical properties which cannot be produced under laboratory conditions by any other means.
12noon Quantum optics on a nonlinear chip
Dr Alexander Solntsev, Nonlinear Physics Centre
Quantum entanglement is a special connection between the particles, which enables correlations without interaction. Entangling photons, elementary particles of light, brings the promise of secure communication and ultra-fast quantum computing. Another phenomenon called optical nonlinearity allows interaction between electro-magnetic waves of different colors. Bringing the concepts of quantum entanglement and optical nonlinearity together, and integrating them on a chip, opens a way to efficiently generate entangled photons and tune the entanglement. In this talk I will show the first experiments featuring such tunable integrated sources.
12.15pm Supernovae near Earth – mapped through interstellar Fe-60
Dr Anton Wallner, Nuclear Physics
The interstellar medium is continuously fed with new isotopes produced by nucleosynthesis, for example in supernova explosions. Accelerator mass spectrometry (AMS) has been used to detect the live radioisotope Fe-60 on Earth, picked up from the interstellar medium following its 'recent and nearby production.
12.30pm Practical nuclear physics from kindergarden to postgraduate
Dr Greg Lane, Physics Education Centre
Staff from Nuclear Physics and the Physics Education Centre teach both practical and theoretical nuclear physics at a range of levels, including public and government outreach programs, primary and high school demonstrations and lab visits, as well as undergraduate and postgraduate programs, both coursework and research. We will describe the differences and the similarities between these variety of teaching experiences, the importance of hands-on activities for engagement, and how we have found the use of real research equipment captures the imagination of students and drives their learning.
12.45pm Australian Fusion - with an eye to ITER
Prof John Howard, Plasma Research Laboratory
The Australian Plasma Fusion Research Facility in the School contributes to the world effort to harness fusion power in the areas of basic plasma physics, 3D magnetic confinement, extreme materials and advanced measurement systems. I will describe some recent advances in optical imaging systems at the Facility and discuss how and why they are winning Australia a place on the USD20 Billion ITER fusion project presently under construction in France.
1.00pm Mysteries of the Quantum Vacuum
Prof Vladimir Bazhanov, Theoretical Physics
In quantum theory the vacuum state is not empty but filled with fluctuations of all observable fields, eg the electromagnetic field. These fluctuations never stop even at the absolute zero of temperature. Standard calculations give an absurdly large value for the corresponding "zero-point" vacuum energy, leading to the hitherto unsolved cosmological constant problem, since the energy-mass is universally self-gravitating. In my talk I will discuss recent fascinating mathematical discoveries in this field, which are still awaiting their physical interpretation.
1.15pm Founders’ Day Luncheon
RSPE Tea Room