Centre updates

We need to challenge students to 'be the best they can be' – Prof Simmons delivers Australia Day Address

UNSW quantum physicist Michelle Simmons has delivered the 2017 Australia Day address for NSW, urging young people to tackle life's hardest tasks and to strive to be the best they can be.

Professor Simmons at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. Credit: Kristin O'Connell

Scientia Professor Simmons, the first female scientist to deliver the address in its 20-year history, said intellectual independence, innate optimism and willingness to “give it a go” made Australia the best country in the world to do research.

But the UK-born scientist, who is leading the world in the race to build a prototype quantum computer, warned that Australia’s educators were jeopardising the future by lowering the expectations they set for students.

“Great teachers with high expectations challenge their students to be the best they can be,” Professor Simmons said.

Read more and access the full transcript of Professor Simmons' speech at the UNSW Newsroom.

Listen or download the audio at the Radio National website.

Watch the full speech on iView (link valid until 24 February 2017).

Listen to Professor Simmons' interview with Robbie Buck on ABC Radio.

CQC2T researchers produce world's best quantum clones

A team of CQC2T physicists have produced near-perfect clones of quantum information using a new method to surpass previous cloning limits. It is possible this technique could allow quantum encryption to be implemented with existing fibre optic infrastructure.

A beam of light passing through splitter. Credit: Lee Henderson/UNSW

Lead researcher Professor Ping Koy Lam from the Australian National University said the cloning feat may help to overcome obstacles to secure long distance communications.

“Our clones are higher quality than have ever been made before. We hope this technology could be used to extend the range of communication, and one day lead to impenetrable privacy between two communicating parties,” said Professor Lam.

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CQC2T researchers design atomic-scale MRI machine

A team of CQC2T researchers at the University of Melbourne have designed a quantum molecular microscope to radically miniaturise a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) machine. Capable of imaging the structure of a single bio-molecule, the new system would overcome significant technological challenges and provide an important new tool for biotechnology and drug discovery.

A quantum spin-probe molecular microscope. Credit: Viktor Perunicic

The team propose the use of atomic-sized quantum bits (qubits) normally associated with the development of quantum computers, but here would be employed as highly sensitive quantum sensors to image the individual atoms in a bio-molecule.

The work was published in Nature Communications, and was led by CQC2T Deputy Director Prof Lloyd Hollenberg.

“Our system is specifically designed to use a quantum bit as a nano-MRI machine to image the structure of a single protein molecule in their native hydrated environments,” said Prof Hollenberg.

“In a conventional MRI machine large magnets set up a field gradient in all three directions to create 3D images; in our system we use the natural magnetic properties of a single atomic qubit,” said lead author Mr. Viktor Perunicic, CQC2T PhD researcher at the University of Melbourne.

“The construction of such a quantum MRI machine for single molecule microscopy could revolutionise how we view biological processes at the molecular level,” said Prof Hollenberg.

Read more at the University of Melbourne Newsroom.