The University of Adelaide was this week awarded a share of the $6.6 million Next Generation Technologies Fund from Australia’s Department of Defence to develop three defence technologies using quantum mechanics.
Researchers will progress with projects focusing on quantum detection. The projects include research into whether quantum radars can be used to detect stealth aircraft, while two other projects will focus on detecting ‘exquisitely-small’ magnetic fields, which could be used to track submarines or detect hidden metal objects through a wall.
A further project will develop a portable clock that will harness billions of cold atoms to provide ultra-precise timing, “ticking” 500 trillion times per second. The technology will be developed together with scientists at Griffith, Curtin, Latrobe and Queensland universities.
High-performance clocks are used in synchronising communications and computing facilities and are at the heart of the GPS navigation systems that are used in cars and smartphones. If you improve clocks, then all technologies on which our society depends, can also improve.
This funding reaffirms an ongoing commitment to South Australia from the defence industry. In addition to an influx of defence jobs and innovation in defence research, there are significant opportunities for the defence industry to leverage Australia’s first 10Gbps fibre optic network.
The rollout of the City of Adelaide’s smart infrastructure, Ten Gigabit Adelaide, is enabling growth capability and capacity for the defence sector in the city. As a destination for defence industry professionals, Adelaide offers a unique launchpad for defence innovation.