Friday 6th Dec

Keynote: Christine Charles

Space plasma physics applied to smartphones, satellite propulsion and space debris removal
Harnessing the plasma state on Earth has allowed the development of increasingly performant integrated circuits and sensors such as those found in smartphones. Similarly, progress in satellite technologies is ongoing and eventually finds applications back on Earth. Electric propulsion has been an innovative or complementary solution in a number of space missions but its scalability remains a challenge especially when considering standardised nano-satellite platforms such as CubeSats. The low-cost Pocket Rocket electrothermal radio frequency plasma thruster has now reached Technology Readiness Level 7 and uses a compact, efficient and less expensive power supply with pulsed operation and “instant on” capabilities. Thousands of CubeSats satellites are expected to be launched over the next decade, many in constellations. While most of these will be positioned in low earth orbit with a short lifetime and complete burn on re-entry, the emerging space sector is faced with the problematic issue of space debris mitigation. Space debris removal from Earth orbit by using a satellite is an emergent technological challenge for sustainable human activities in space. In order to de-orbit debris it is necessary to impart a force to decelerate it, resulting in its atmospheric re-entry. A satellite using an energetic plasma beam directed at the debris will need to eject plasma in the opposite direction in a controlled manner in order to maintain a constant distance between it and the debris during the deorbiting mission. By employing a magnetic nozzle plasma thruster (such as the Helicon Double Layer Thruster or the Helicon Thruster) having two open source exits, bi-directional plasma ejection can be achieved using a single electric propulsion device. Paving a path to space heritage for these new propulsion concepts while addressing the fundamental physics of out-of-equilibrium expanding magnetised plasmas is an exciting challenge. The Australian Space Agency was born in 2018 and a complete end-to-end small satellite industry — “Lab to Launch” — may now be envisaged within the Trans Australasian Pacific region, thanks to the recent demonstration of Rocket Lab’s access to orbit and successful commercial launches from New Zealand with the Electron Rocket.

Keynote: Deb Kane

Optical Surface Profiling at Micro/Nanoscopic Scale
It is well known that standard compound microscopy has a fundamental lateral resolution limited by the wavelength of the light. Hence a lateral resolution of better than 200 nm cannot be achieved by a standard compound microscope. The innovations in techniques to overcome this limit has led to super-resolution microscopy which has enabled a burst of discovery, and has been recognized in the 2014 Nobel Prize in chemistry. What is less well known is that depth resolution at the nanometer scale is possible using interference microscopy – optical surface profiling. Two generations of Optical Surface Profiler have been established at Macquarie University through multi-institution ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment funding. From the early plan to use this instrument to measure 3-dimensional data of microscopic single-laser-pulse/photonic materials interaction sites [1], we have gone on to research such things as ways to measure the diameter of semiconductor nanowires [2] and size nanoparticles [3]; explain unexpected spectral results in VUV spectroscopy [4]; study spider silks from several different species, with relevance to the likely visibility of the silks to insects; and uncovering unexpected systematics in laser processing of mineral muscovite [5]. Overall, this will be a tour of what we can learn and discover by embracing the third dimension in microscopy. [1] D M Kane, A M Joyce, and R J Chater (2006), Optical surface profilometry of low reflectance materials – evaluation as a laser processing diagnostic, ch 15, pp271 – 289, Laser Cleaning II, Ed. D M Kane, World Scientific Publishers (Singapore, 2006) [2] D. J. Little and D. M. Kane, (2013), Measuring nanoparticle size using optical surface profilers, Optics Express 21(13), 15664, DOI:10.1364/OE.21.015664 [3] D J Little, R L Kuruwita, A. Joyce, Q. Gao, T. Burgess, C. Jagadish and D M Kane (2013), Phase stepping interferometry of GaAs nanowires: determining nanowire radius, Appl. Phys. Lett. 103(16), 161107, DOI: 10.1063/1.4825153. [4] R J Carman, D J Little and D M Kane (2015), Optical emission spectroscopy system operating in the VUV spectral range…, Meas. Science & Tech. 26 (8), Art. No. 085203. [5] Saurabh Awasthi, D J Little, A Fuerbach and D M Kane, (2019) Single femtosecond laser pulse interaction with mica, arXiv preprint arXiv:1909.02113

Morning Tea

Session VII


AIP (Victoria branch) AGM

Location: 80.02.07
Location: 80.02.07

Session VIII

Closing Ceremony

Location: Building 80, Level 2, Lecture Theatre 7
Location: Building 80, Level 2, Lecture Theatre 7