Sydney Nano and RAAF partner to develop sensing tech

Image credit: The University of Sydney.

The University of Sydney’s Nano Institute has partnered with the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF), launching scientific sensing technology for Australia’s defence.

According to a media release by the university, researchers at the Jericho Smart Sensing Laboratory will be developing a nanoscale device that assess physical, chemical, biological, acoustic, and electromagnetic environment. This technology will monitor electromagnetic, space, and underwater domains as they become more contested and congested.

“Advanced sensors give us a clearer picture of what is happening against difficult targets in challenging environments,” said deputy chief of Air Force Air vice-marshal, Gavin Turnbull.

The RAAF’s project, titled Plan Jericho, is to develop augmented intelligence capability to protect Australia from technologically sophisticated and rapidly changing threats. The Jericho Lab at Sydney Nano will form a critical part of the plan’s scientific infrastructure.

“We need to think differently to achieve and maintain our competitive edge in a rapidly changing world, and this is something we cannot do alone. Our academic and other partners are helping us to disrupt ourselves in a controlled way, which is a far better proposition that unwillingly being disrupted by our competitors,” said Turnbull.

Associate professor, Cara Wrigley from the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, has been appointed the Jericho chair of design innovation.

“The University of Sydney’s world-leading design methodologies partnered with accelerate our cutting-edge photonics research into a real defence capability advantage for Australia,” said Wrigley.

The technology developed at the Jericho Smart Sensing Lab will optimise Australia’s conditions, including humidity, foliage, and other environmental factors that currently pose challenges for airborne sensors.

“The Jericho Smart Sensing laboratory will see the design, development and integration for future-generation photonic sensors, to provide enhanced situational awareness for the RAAF,” said professor Duncan Ivison, deputy vice-chancellor.

Professor Benjamin Eggleton from the School of Physics and director of Sydney Nano, said that it’s smart-sensing technology enables photonic platforms which are miniaturised on to thumbnail-sized chips, which cannot be affected by electromagnetic fields.

“These compact, power-efficient, rugged and reliable sensors will provide information that will enable smart, time decision-making,” said Eggleton.