ARC funding upgrades Australia’s fastest laser system

Professor Robert Sang and Professor Igor Litvinyuk in the Australian Attosecond Science Facility.
Professor Robert Sang and Professor Igor Litvinyuk in the Australian Attosecond Science Facility.

Researchers at Griffith University’s Australian Attosecond Science Facility have been awarded $744,000 in Australian Research Council funding for a new ultrafast laser system following an announcement today by the Minister for Education Dan Tehan.

“The upgraded laser system will produce more than 10 times the pulses of light than the current system and will lead to a greater understanding of the dynamics of atoms and molecules,’’ says Professor Robert Sang, Dean (Academic), Griffith Sciences.

“This will enable us to undertake a whole range of new atomic physics experiments that weren’t previously feasible with the existing Australian Attosecond Science Facility.

“The knowledge of these processes underpins many technologies that rely on quantum physics from simple LED lights to transistors in computers.”

Unique in Australia, the facility, based at Nathan campus, has the capacity to precisely manipulate highly-amplified and ultra-short light pulses to investigate the dynamics of matter.

The scientific outputs from the facility have already delivered important new scientific advances in strong-field physics such electron dynamics in atoms and molecules, with the knowledge enabling the development of new technologies.

“Ultrafast and attosecond science is a fast-developing field actively pursued by all scientifically advanced nations,’’ says Professor Igor Litvinyuk, Director of the Australian Attosecond Science Facility.

“This field is driven by technological developments, resulting in increasingly advanced coherent light sources capable of probing ultrafast processes in matter in real time at the attosecond timescale.

“The detailed understanding of these processes will guide further fundamental scientific and technological research that will underpin the development of new materials, nanostructures and medicines, enabling Australia to remain internationally competitive in this growing field rather than to rely on others for those new materials and technologies.

“This grant will help us consolidate Australia’s position as a leader in ultrafast and attosecond science and technology.”

Additional funding of about $500,000 for the laser infrastructure has been provided by Griffith University, the University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and Monash University.