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A shining solution wins Eureka Prize

30 August 2017
Media Release

Technology using diamond crystals to generate high-power lasers has taken out the 2017 DST Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia.

Associate Professor Richard Mildren of Macquarie University received the prize for his innovative research at an awards ceremony last night in Sydney.

The Eureka Prize, sponsored by DST, is awarded annually for outstanding science or technology that has developed, or has the potential to develop innovative solutions for Australia’s defence or national security.

Professor Mildren’s innovation is an advance on current laser technology because it uses diamonds as the energy source due its exceptionally high thermal conductivity and heat dissipating properties.

High-powered lasers lend themselves to many defence applications, including protection against missile threats. They are also useful in remote sensing, bio imaging, medicine, quantum science, and the management of space debris.

Congratulating Professor Mildren, the Minister for Defence, Senator Marise Payne said the innovation gave Defence a capability edge by extending laser power and wavelength range for military applications targeted at remote threats.

Chief Defence Scientist Dr Alex Zelinsky said breakthroughs such as the diamond laser technology were the result of cutting edge research being done in Australian universities. 

“The government’s drive to engage industry and academia in developing Defence capability is paying dividends,” he said. 

The Eureka Prizes, hosted by the Australian Museum, represent the premier science event in the country.  

More information can be found at the Australian Museum website or from the DST Awards Coordinator,  on 02-6128 6608.