A leading University of Adelaide scientist whose research places him among the leaders in the world for precision measurement has received national recognition for supporting the needs of industry.
The Australian Institute of Physics has awarded its 2018 Alan Walsh Medal for Service to Industry to Professor Andre Luiten, Director of the University's Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS).
The medal recognises Professor Luiten's outstanding research in the fields of optics and photonics, and for his leadership in commercialising breakthrough research to support industry.
Professor Luiten heads a team of 220 researchers whose work collectively contributes to the health and medical, mining and minerals, environment, agriculture and food, defence, and space sectors.
He is highly regarded for his own research into precision measurement, and leads a team renowned for creating the world's most precise clock, the Cryogenic Sapphire Oscillator – also known as the Sapphire Clock. The Sapphire Clock is 1000 times more precise than any other commercial system. It's so precise, it gains or loses only one second over 40 million years. This research is now commercially available through his company, Cryoclock Pty Ltd.
The unparalleled precision of the Sapphire Clock, which was this year awarded a Eureka Prize, will assist in a major upgrade in the Jindalee Over-The-Horizon Radar Network (JORN) system. The JORN system monitors aircraft and ships off Australia’s northern approaches, which means accurate frequency and timing signals are vital for its operations.
The Alan Walsh Medal was presented to Professor Luiten in Perth last night, as part of the 23rd Australian Institute of Physics Congress.
Professor Luiten thanked the Australian Institute of Physics for its award, and for recognising the importance of translating research into real-world outcomes.
"To innovate means more than just to have a great idea or do great research; it requires that your concept results in a real impact on society, by making society healthier, wealthier, or safer," Professor Luiten says.
"At IPAS, we provide the environment in which talented and creative people can have bright ideas, but then have the means to turn those ideas into something that society can benefit from.
"In the last year, our Institute has worked with more than 60 companies and had three spin outs that are delivering new products into the market. Our work is generating tens of millions of dollars of new wealth, as well as new jobs, all built on a foundation of breakthrough scientific research," Professor Luiten says.