World beating ANU laser technology goes on show

April 03, 2000

A team of AUSTRALIAN scientists will unveil their powerful new semiconductor 980nm laser this week (5 April). The researchers from the Australian National University in Canberra will also outline the commercialisation strategy for the new lasers and a research agreement with a Taiwanese company.

Professors Jim Williams and Chennupati Jagadish are leading a team of scientists from the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, ANU that has succeeded in producing a type of semiconductor laser with world beating performance. The 980nm (or infrared) lasers form the backbone of fibre optic amplification systems, vital to advanced communications.

Laser technology and photonics have the potential to speed the rate of information that is transported through optical fibres. "The 980nm laser we are launching with the company Acton Lasers will be a key component to making the current telecommunications system faster and more efficient," Professor Williams said. "With more development, the upgrade to the telecommunications sector could be similar to replacing a one-way street with a multi-lane information freeway, to allow large amounts of data in and out of the average home at a faster rate."

The research is good news for people interested in real-time videophone communication, high-resolution pictures and simultaneous data operation. "Instead of relying on one source at a time, the laser technology we are working on could help households download or communicate through multiple information sources at the same time," Professor Jagadish said.

"As we progress towards the next stage of production of these lasers, and other components, we are clearly focused on manufacturing within Australia. This means both Australian jobs and export dollars," Professor Williams said. "Optimism about the potential of Acton Lasers is shared by many Australian and overseas investors who are already lining up to provide the $50 million necessary to initiate the next stage of production".

The innovative technology, which is central to Acton Laser's potential products, has attracted international commercial interest in other industry sectors as well. A Taiwanese company, part of the multi billion dollar Yuh Chen Group, will establish a research and development lab in Australia in a joint venture with the ANU. "Its hoped that this multi million dollar venture will open up entirely new markets for Australian high technology manufacturing" Professor Jagadish said.

Photos are available for downloading at:
http://rsphysse.anu.edu.au/admin/laser/
Website for the Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering, ANU at:
http://rsphysse.anu.edu.au/admin/index.html
For further information or interviews contact:
Professor Jim Williams, Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering 612-6249-5199 (on the day of the press conference) or 612-6249-0020 (secretary)
Prof Chennupati Jagadish, Research School of Physical Sciences and Engineering 612-6249-0363 (w)
Or Clarissa Thorpe, ANU Media Liaison 612-6249-5575 (w) or 0416-249-245 (mobile)
OR FOR EMAIL CONTACT: media.liaison@anu.edu.au


Australian National University

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