Jericho Smart Sensing Laboratory

Air Force engages Sydney Nano to revolutionize sensing capability

Sydney Nano and the Royal Australian Air Force established a scientific collaboration to provide world-leading sensing technology that can monitor the electromagnetic space and underwater domains for Australia’s defence.

The Jericho Smart Sensing Laboratory (JSSL), located in the University of Sydney, is a collaboration between The University of Sydney Nano Institute and the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF). This project which unites Professor Ben Eggleton’s team from the School of Physics with Professor Cara Wrigley’s team from the School of Architecture, Design and Planning, aims to develop advanced sensing capability to protect Australia from technologically sophisticated and rapidly changing threats and unite cutting-edge researchers and designers towards delivering unprecedented sensing technology for Australia's defence.

The JSSL headquarter is located within the Sydney Nanoscience Hub, using specially customised state-of-the-art, environmentally controlled laboratories, specifically designed for research in nanoscale devices and lithography equipment for printing photonic circuits in silicon as well as packaging and prototyping facilities.

Building upon a decade of world-leading photonics research by Professor Ben Eggleton’s group at the School of Physics at the University of Sydney, this collaboration aims to develop and deliver sensors that can assess physical, chemical, acoustic and electromagnetic environments. The ground-breaking technology developed will be optimised for Australian conditions, including humidity, foliage and other environmental factors that currently pose challenges for airborne sensors.

The working mechanisms aimed for some of these sensors are based on optical microchips that use particles of light. These particles cannot be affected by electromagnetic fields in the way that electronic chips can be. In addition, the massive reduction in size, weight and power of photonic chips is a game-changer, allowing them to be easily fitted onto aircrafts, satellites and vehicles.

Our collaborative multidisciplinary approach is also benefiting from the expertise of Professor Cara Wrigley from the Sydney School of Architecture, Design and Planning, which means world-leading design methodologies are used to accelerate translation and ensure that the solutions we develop meet the end-users’ needs.

The data produced from the sensor in the efficiently fabricated prototypes will be integrated into a sophisticated Combat Cloud – or Internet of Defence Things - via sensor fusion, that provide the Air Force with enhanced, advanced situational awareness and enable smart, timely decision-making.

The JSSL project is an exemplar of multidisciplinary research that integrates high-end science and STEM research with design innovation. It highlights the breadth of the Sydney Nano program which spans all areas of the University, including the social sciences, business, law and the Sydney Conservatorium of Music. It also represents a successful achievement for the NSW Smart Sensing Network established in 2016 by Professor Eggleton and Professor Gooding from UNSW. 

Benjamin Eggleton

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Research)
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