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On-chip photonics snares Eureka prize

Oz science’s night of nights

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Excuse me for focusing on those parts of Australia’s Eureka Prize that I’m more familiar with: there are 26 individual prizes covering pretty much every discipline.

Among those 26 are a scientist working on on-chip photonics designed to speed up communications between computer devices; a development in through-the-wall radar imaging; and the current record-holder for optical switching speed.

Pocketing AU$10,000 for the Google Eureka Prize for Innovation in Computer Science is Associate Professor David Moss. His photonic solution for chip-to-chip communications has resulted in the creation of multiple-wavelength lasers which can be integrated on-chip with the existing silicon, replacing copper interconnects.

The Eureka prize carrying sponsorship from Australia’s Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO), is, appropriately enough, a dream for a spook. Professor Abdesselam Bouzerdoum won this award for his work on through-the-wall radar imaging, focusing primarily on eliminating reflection-caused interference.

OK, it’s not just of interest to spooks and defence forces: the technology would also be invaluable in search-and-rescue operations.

Professor Ben Eggleton of CUDOS – the Centre of Excellence for Ultrahigh-Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems – has also been recognized with a Eureka for CUDOS’s work.

At the moment, CUDOS claims the current world record for optical switching speed. Eggleton was also recently appointed to run Sydney University’s new Institute of Photonics and Optical Science.

The full list of the Australian Musem’s Eureka Prize winners can be found here. ®

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