Posted in | News | Quantum Physics

Swinburne Awarded ARC Grants for Discovery Projects in Quantum Physics

Swinburne University of Technology has been awarded $5.135 million under Australian Research Council (ARC) grants announced by Minister for Tertiary Education, Skills, Science and Research, Senator Chris Evans.

Swinburne Deputy Vice-Chancellor - Research and Development, Professor George Collins welcomed the grants.

"This research funding will enable us to continue to explore new ideas and discoveries as we pursue our vision to be Australia's leading university in science, innovation, technology and design," Professor Collins said.

Swinburne was awarded $4.92 million to fund 14 Discovery projects in the areas of astronomical and space sciences, quantum physics, nanotechnology, oceanography, historical studies, computer software, distributed computing and optical physics.

This funding included a Discovery Outstanding Researcher Award for Professor Duncan Forbes for the project Revealing how elliptical galaxies formed.

Swinburne also led a successful Linkage, Infrastructure and Equipment Facilities project which the ARC awarded $220,000 for the establishment of Linked data policy hub: connected resources for social research.

This project, which also involves RMIT, The University of Adelaide and Victoria University of Wellington, will enable researchers working on complex social and public policy problems to analyse and visualise relationships between documents and data sets from a wide range of sources in order to better understand underlying patterns and trends.

Senator Evans said the funding would drive research to help deliver solutions to national problems and improve the lives of Australians.

"This research will deliver results that not only benefit Australians, but keeps Australia at the forefront of global science, Senator Evans said.

The successful Swinburne Discovery projects are:

  • Coupling tropical cyclone and climate physics with ocean waves - This project will introduce explicit coupling of large-scale atmospheric and oceanic phenomena with the physics of surface waves which should lead to improved predictions of tropical cyclones and climate.
  • Software engineering of people-oriented technologies and services - This project will use role, goal, and activity modelling to improve technologies that enable older people in their homes to communicate with loved ones and support networks.
  • Asia-Pacific philanthropies: transnational diaspora networks, anti-colonial nationalism, and the emergence of modern Chinese philanthropy, 1850-1949 - This project shows how early Chinese-Australian pioneers helped to shape modern philanthropy in China which now boasts the highest rate of growth in the world.
  • Investigating Rosetta Stones of galaxy formation - By observing a rare population of 'living fossil galaxies', which resemble our Milky Way as it was 10 billion years ago, the project aims to understand the underlying mechanisms by which most stars in the universe formed during its earliest epochs.
  • Pristine fuel for early galaxies - This project will be the first large-scale, purpose-built observational program using some of the world's biggest and best telescopes to discover how the universe's earliest galaxies attracted and processed enough fuel to form the stars we see.
  • Elucidating the physical mechanisms of environment-driven galaxy evolution - This project will use advanced optical/radio observations and numerical simulations to tackle one of the most important problems in the field of galaxy evolution: what physical mechanisms are responsible for transforming spiral galaxies into lenticular galaxies within galaxy groups?
  • Revealing how elliptical galaxies formed - This project will target the dark outer reaches of galaxies with new techniques and the world's largest telescopes to understand how elliptical type galaxies formed and evolved over cosmic time.
  • Plasmonic nanoparticles for probing and perturbing the spatial organisation of membrane proteins - Receptors on the surface of cells provide vital functions and represent a large fraction of drug targets. By combining nanotechnology with biophysics, this project will test the hypothesis that the spatial organisation of these receptors can affect their function.
  • Congestion control of networks: a unified stochastic framework - This research will develop ways to reduce delays in the internet and allow for growth in the power grid, without requiring additional infrastructure.
  • Quantum effects in photosynthesis: responsible for highly efficient energy transfer or trivial coincidence? - This project, which has the potential to impact the design of efficient solar energy solutions, will seek to understand the highly efficient energy transfer processes in photosynthesis.
  • Photonic crystals at visible wavelengths - Three dimensional sculptured nano-structures made at a very high spatial resolution will open the way to control light emission, propagation, and transmission and enable optically thin and transparent solar cells to harvest the light.
  • Collective dynamics in Fermi superfluids - At very low temperatures, particles such as atoms, electrons and nucleons can display remarkable behaviours, such as superfluidity or flow without resistance. This project will provide new insight into the way superfluids respond to a small disturbance and at the same time obtain precise measurements of a number of their key properties.
  • Quantum properties of high-spin ultra-cold matter - The aim of this project is to theoretically investigate high-spin atomic gases, which are a new type of ultra-cold matter with many unique properties akin to the physics of the early Universe.
  • New generation periodic lattices for ultracold quantum gases - Periodic arrays of ultracold atoms trapped by magnetic microstructures will be used to mimic condensed matter systems with nontrivial geometries such as honeycomb lattices. These magnetic lattices will enable us to study exotic quantum states, such as those found in graphene, which has great potential for new-generation atomic-scale electronics.


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