The Diamond Laser Group has recently been awarded the Australian Museum Eureka Award in the "Outstanding Science for Safeguarding Australia” and Professor Mildren credits ON Prime 1 with helping propel their work to the next level.

“Our work with ON Prime gave us the time out from the research to carefully think through our commercialization path,” Professor Mildren explains. “We had been working hard on the research for a number of years, and with ON Prime we were able to carefully sort through the options, engage with the right people and plan the next steps.”

Professor Mildren’s team’s work focuses on diamonds and their use as an incredibly thermally conductive material for lasers. Previously, other research teams across the world had tried to utilise diamonds as an amplifier for lasers, but had hit numerous impenetrable barriers. After nine intense years of research, the Diamond Laser Group demonstrated an alternative pathway that demonstrated efficient and high power capability.

“The performance is now already close to that needed to really make an impact in the defence space,” Professor Mildren says. “In several aspects the research has yielded some surprises. Like most research there are always obstacles and false starts along the way. I still remember in the early stages when we wondering whether diamonds, being carbon, would combust under high heat load - it was an incredible moment as we saw the power creep up without damage.”

Currently, Professor Mildren and his team are able to derive half a kilowatt of power from their lasers, however, in the future they are confident of doubling or tripling that power output, without beam degradation, and into a regime where other technologies struggled to compete. The team’s Eureka Award was an acknowledgement of outstanding scientific work with tangible outcomes that will have a positive impact on defence in this country.

“It was a great honour for the team to be acknowledged by the Eureka Award,” Professor Mildren says. “This project has been an incredible journey of discovery and we got huge help working with ON. We are really excited about what the future will hold for this project and are creating a roadmap for our work to see where it takes us.”

Image attribution: Macquarie University.

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