UTS nanophotonics researcher wins NSW Young Tall Poppy Award
Associate Professor Igor Aharonovich with UTS Science Dean, Professor Bruce Milthorpe
A/Prof Aharonovich, an ARC DECRA Fellow in UTS’ School of Mathematical and Physical Sciences, was cited for the award for his research into florescent nanodiamonds, which change how health imaging and drug delivery are carried out.
“These nanodiamonds are used basically as fluorescent tags to look within our bodies,” A/Prof Aharonovich said.
“We plan to attach a particular drug and then deliver it to a specific place in the body. You could also monitor the temperature within a cell, by simply recording the flourescence from the nanodiamond.”
The florescent nanoparticles research recognised by the Tall Poppy Awards is only one part of A/Prof Aharonovich’s work. His work also focuses on a wide variety of applications of nanodiamonds including biological sensing and computer chips.
A core member of UTS’ Materials and Technology for Energy Efficiency Research Strength (MTEE) since 2013, A/Prof Aharonovich has been a part of a number of research breakthroughs.
In 2014 A/Prof Aharonovich was part of a research team in the field of quantum technologies, where scientists from UTS, Harvard and Iowa universities found a new way to incorporate lanthanides into a diamond crystal.
Most recently, he was part of a research team at the MTEE who made an important discovery in the field of quantum photonics and communications, by discovering a material that emits a single pulse of quantum light on demand at room temperature.
NSW Young Tall Poppy Awards winners spend the next year communicating science to young people through schools visits and themed seminars. A/Prof Aharonovich says he is looking forward to inspire the next generation of scientists.
“The best thing is if we can keep kids interested in science throughout their school years and then hopefully we can make sure they will come and join universities and to do science research.”
The NSW Young Tall Poppy Awards are run by the Australian Institute of Policy and Science (AIPS) and have been around since 1998.
MTEE promotes a multidisciplinary approach to materials physics to develop energy-efficient future technologies.
Professor Deborah Sweeney WSU, Associate Professor Igor Aharonovich and Professor Jenny Corbett ANU at the Tall Poppy Awards