Creating real-world impact from the University of Adelaide

The University of Adelaide’s Sapphire Clock team has grown from twenty years of dedicated research, which has created technology with the potential to shape Australia’s defence strategies. The team are based in the university’s Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing and have developed one of the world’s most precise clocks, that offers a 1000-fold improvement in timing precision that can be used in radar.

Associate Professor Martin O’Connor described the strong support that the team have received from the University of Adelaide. “We have developed technology that has been the result of incredible work originally started by Professor Andre Luiten. We have received support from the University of Adelaide to build a working relationship with the start-up company Cryoclock Pty Ltd. This support will ultimately help our research create world impact within industry.”

The Sapphire Clock team were confident that they had developed unique technology, but wanted to further their commercial possibilities. The team took part in CSIRO’s ON Prime Accelerator Program to broaden their horizons in industry. “For any academic, you can become quite comfortable within the four walls of the laboratory,” Associate Professor O’Connor explained. “We wanted to go outside of our comfort zone, and see how far we could take our research. We were naïve before going on the program, in that we thought our technology could solve millions of issues. We were able to really hone our thinking.”

Associate Professor O’Connor benefitted from working within industry for a number of years before his current position at the University of Adelaide and highly recommends the ON Prime Accelerator Program to his colleagues. “Within any university environment there is always lots of fascinating research being carried out by teams. For whatever reason a lot of this research doesn’t leave the laboratory. I would urge any colleagues to get out and think about how your research could have real-world impact.”

Within the university, Professor Luiten and the team have developed the Precision Measurement Group, where they develop measurement platforms of high value to fundamental physics; ultimately to create real-world outcomes through their findings. Sapphire Clock team represents the possibilities when academia and the commercial world combine.

After their experience on the ON Prime Accelerator Program, the Sapphire Clock team have focused their commercial sights on the Australian defence industry and quantum computing. The Sapphire Clock team bring experience and research from all over Australia, and are proud that their research from the University of Adelaide will help make the world that bit more precise.

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