The centre will research monitoring systems for safer driving, moving holograms on smartphones and super-fast light-based WiFi. Other institutions partnering in the project are the University of Melbourne, the University of Technology Sydney, RMIT University, and the University of Western Australia, as well as industry and universities from six other countries.
A statement from the ANU said research would focus on the interaction of light with nano-materials.
Professor Dragomir Neshev, who will head the research centre, said it would make Australia a leader in optical technologies for the fourth industrial revolution.
“The centre will help develop real-time monitoring systems for driver fatigue to keep people safe on our roads. It will lead to smaller, smarter, faster and cheaper wearable optical sensors to better monitor our health.
Professor Neshev and Professor Jagadish at work. Supplied
“It will also produce holographic displays and augmented reality for more immersive and powerful education in our classrooms, and laser tech that makes autonomous vehicles better at predicting and avoiding hazards.
“And it will underpin light-based WiFi – which is a thousand times faster than current technologies – to be used in our mobile phones and laptops.”
ANU Provost Professor Mike Calford said: “This research centre will help revolutionise how light is used in ways that can have significant impacts for everyday Australians.
“This includes less invasive medical diagnostic tools that scatter light through the body to detect disease.
“This revolutionary new centre will help strengthen Australia’s very own knowledge economy – setting up a global epicentre for light-based research and development that will develop the products of tomorrow, today.
“Currently, light underpins industry worth approximately $1000 billion to the world economy.
“This transformational leap will make Australia’s economy stronger, enrich daily lives and create a safer environment that cannot be achieved with today’s technology.”