The Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia 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.
Associate Professor Richard Mildren of Macquarie University won the Eureka Prize for Outstanding Science in Safeguarding Australia for his research into diamond-based technology to generate high-power lasers.
Professor Mildren overcame the power output limitations of current laser technology by using diamond because of its exceptionally high thermal conductivity and heat dissipating qualities.
The resulting high-energy beam enables the laser to be more tightly focused on the target, reducing interaction times and increasing range.
Minister for Defence, Marise Payne, said Professor Mildren’s technology demonstrated Australia’s world leading expertise in advancing laser technology.
“High energy lasers will enable Australia and its allies to address increasing threats from missile technology, low-cost unmanned aerial vehicles, and improvised explosive devices,” Minister Payne said.
“This innovation gives Defence a capability edge by extending laser power and wavelength range for military applications targeted at remote threats.”
“The technology also has wider applications in areas such as remote sensing, bio imaging, medicine, quantum science, and the management of space debris.”
Wavelengths enabled by diamond technology also have the advantage of optimising beam transmission through the atmosphere while reducing eye hazard for Defence personnel.
Australian and United States defence agencies will continue to invest in further research for this technology to develop high-power lasers for future Defence applications.
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