Monday, May 23, 2016

University of New South Wales

Today we visited the University of New Wales, a school of over 50,000 students, situated in southern Sydney. There, we toured labs and clean rooms and listed to several lectures.
Today we headed on a full day visit to the University of New Wales, a school of over 50,000 students, situated in southern Sydney. This research university ranks as one of the finest for engineering and technology in the world, and has partnerships with over 200 other universities around the world.

Our visit today was focused on the Australian Nation Fabrication Facility (ANFF), which is housed by the university and founded to allow researchers access to high-tech facilities. The ANFF has over 250 researchers working in their labs and over 600 square meters of cleanrooms. We were taken on a tour of various labs and cleanrooms by Dr. Linda Macks, who first spoke to us on lithography, which is the process of etching features on the scale of microns and sometimes even nanometers. On our tour we learned about the process of making a room “clean”, or reducing the particle count of a room to various levels.

We also got to examine a machine which grows single crystals for study and research purposes, really a quite remarkable piece of machinery. It is able to create an ultra-high vacuum, and looks like something straight out of a science fiction film.

After lab tours, we heard a series of lectures by researchers of quite a few different fields. Our first lecturer was Dr. Dane R. McCamey of the School of Physics at UNSW, he spoke to us on organic electronics, and engineering organic materials and using them to create circuits or electrical components. Then a Ph.D. student, Josiah Firth, talked to us about his research into the use of liquid crystal based optrodes, and the hope of using these to replace electrical sensors that are often used in medicine today. Dr. Yuanhui Zheng spoke on the use of “smart” nanostructures for detecting molecules, and the application of this technology in anti-counterfeiting measures. Dr. Till Boecking spoke on the construction and deconstruction of actin filaments and its behavior at a fundamental level, also on clathrin, a protein important for molecular assembly and disassembly. Our final speaker, Professor Andrea Morello spoke on his research in building a quantum computer in Silicon using Phosphorous atoms, and the advances in and difficulties of building a quantum computer.