Australia's Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS), the newest institute at the University of Sydney and the only one of its kind on the continent, will officially launch on Thursday, April 23, with a one-day symposium titled "The Photonic Universe--Faster, Further, Smarter."
IPOS research spans all areas of optics and photonics from fundamental to applied, including the areas of metamaterials and cloaking, speeding up and greening the Internet, and structural health monitoring--as well as astrophotonics, and medical and quantum photonics.
"IPOS has broken new ground in terms of what we have achieved and the amazing future directions in which we are now headed," says Professor Ben Eggleton, ARC Federation Fellow and IPOS Director. "We're discovering new ways with photonics and optics that we never imagined."
Eggleton says that by working across diverse areas such as physics, mathematics, chemistry and microscopy, ideas that were once thought to be in the realm of fiction, such as invisibility or remote surgery, are now becoming reality. He adds, "Photonics has only just touched on what it's capable of and being part of a broad team pushes us to truly explore new concepts and ideas even further. 'What if?' is a very exciting phrase."
At the same time as pioneering new ways to use photonics, Eggleton says that IPOS has met its core objective to increase the Internet to operate at terabit per second capacity and are now researching clever ways to ensure the power the net uses won't be a source of future energy crises. "It's always exciting to solve a problem, such as speeding up the net, but at the same time you have to be responsible for the impact it will place on our resources. For instance one Google search equates to a kettle being boiled so you can imagine what our tech savvy society is doing to the world's power sources by constantly uploading images and movies. We're now looking at how optics can save energy and our planet."
Senator Anne McEwen, Chair of the Senate Standing Committee on Environment, Communications and the Arts will join University of Sydney Vice-Chancellor Dr. Michael Spence in launching IPOS, which is based within the School of Physics. The symposium will provide an international overview of photonics and optics and includes such eminent speakers as optical networking trailblazer Professor Alan Willner, and astrophotonics pioneer Professor Pierre Kern.