Focused research areas 
 World-class expertise
Creating solutions and meeting  economic demand

Our six primary research themes are solution-driven and support state and national research  and economic priorities. They bring together the  University’s world-class strengths to focus on  critical industry sectors.

Atomic device fabrication/ Prototype and Laser 3D nanoprinting Theme

In this theme, we aim to develop a unique concept based on tailored laser beams to decode the fundamental link between the amazing properties of atomic materials (including 2D materials), and their atomic bonds, based on Prof. Jia and Dr Lin’s more than 15 years’ of experience in the ultrafast optical field. By tailoring the laser beams, the reaction paths of atomic materials can be controlled at will, leading to the selective removal, rearrangement and production of desired bonds, and thus the realisation of full fundamental manipulation of the atomic scale building blocks of materials. Such atomic materials will have unique optical, electrical or mechanical properties. Based on these properties we can construct functional prototypes for specific applications in the areas of energy generation and storage, health and wellbeing, aerospace sensors and optical communications and computing.

Research capabilities:

o   Fabrication of atomaterials

o   Thin film coatings

o   Surface analysis

o   In vitro and in vivo characterization of materials

o   Design, fabrication and characterization of 3D nanostructures

o   Optical and electrochemical characterization

o   Solar energy harvesting pilot production

AI Assisted Atomic Design

Materials design at the atomic scale has become so approachable due to the rapid development of computational technologies. This research theme focuses on the application-driven computer-aided materials design (CAMD) with state-of-art computational techniques. Smart design and advanced manufacture need novel high-performance materials, which might not be found in naturally existing materials. CAMD helps to design the materials and guide experimentalists to achieve the design. Large scale computational screening, as a key strength, will be employed to design and identify promising materials for specific applications, particularly for renewable energy and smart manufacture.

Research capabilities:

o   AI powered molecular structure design

o   Application-driven computer-aided materials design (CAMD) with state-of-art computational techniques

o   Density functional theory (DFT) calculations

o   Pre-screened high-performance materials design

o   Modify the codes with GPU capacity and develop specialised force field from the DFT calculations

o   Identification and realisation of promising new materials with desired material properties

o   Data-driven accelerated atomistic computational method

o   Efficient on-the-fly characterization schemes

Atomic material engineering

One is energy storage materials engineering and the other is to design efficient catalysts for solar fuels.  This research theme will advance the fundamental materials sciences and make technological breakthroughs needed to meet the global energy and environmental challenges. The innovation of our technology lies in the use of theoretical guidance and advanced technologies (atomic engineering and defect controlling) to address the energy challenges. Such innovations will enable continuous improvement of these areas or even dramatic breakthroughs that would bring a new landscape for the Australian industry.

Research capabilities:

o   Develop high-performing energy storage materials and devices using atomic engineering methodology

o   Determine the structure and property links by corrected advanced microscopy characterisation and transport measurement

o   Optimise device design and assembly for cost effectiveness

o   Atomic level engineering to achieve selectivity of problems

o   Translating practical catalyst materials through to functional devices

Advanced Material Characterisation

The design, synthesis and application of atomic materials require an ability to characterise the materials on the appropriate scale. While techniques such as transmission electron microscopy (TEM) and scanning tunnelling microscopy (STM) have been able to provide atomic level resolution for some time now, it remains challenging to obtain structural and functional information about a range of materials at the 10-10 m scale on a routine basis. To extend these techniques and make them more broadly available requires the combined expertise of physicists, chemists and engineers.

Research capabilities:

o   Atomic level of manipulation and fabrication resolution with high speed and in a large scale for functional atomic devices

o   Low energy electron microscopy

o   Image surface growth dynamics at real time and high resolution

o   Surface analytical characterisation of real plant slurries and applications of synchrotron science

o   Surface- and tip-enhanced Raman scattering are surface sensitive analytical techniques

o   Microscopic, spectroscopic and optoelectronic characterisation systems

Novel Structure design/optimisation

This theme focuses on a significant development of a novel topology optimisation technique, in relation to an intelligent design approach of advanced materials and structures. This is currently lacking, with substantial challenges remaining. This theme will develop design approaches and computation tools for engineering advanced materials and structures, which is significant in both fundamental research and applications. The unique competitive advantages include our world-leading research achievements demonstrated by Theme leader, Prof. Huang, in the topology optimisation method and its multidisciplinary applications.

Research capabilities:

o   Extract and characterise the properties or functionalities of complex structures

o   Optimise structures so as to achieve desirable properties and functionalities

o   Develop multi-disciplinary and multi-physics design tools for creating novel structures

o   Realise specific functionalities and/or enhance their performance

o   Develop design approaches and computation tools for engineering advanced materials and structures

o   Conducting polymer synthesis and device fabrication

o   Materials science and catalysis

Research commercialisation development

The focus of this theme is to analyse the demands from the end-users, categorise them according to disciplines of the CIs, logically decompose them into either research problems or engineering problems and allocate to the entire Centre to resolve. Based on the nature of the demands and the development of the projects, this theme will also coordinate the CIs in the activities of leveraging of the industry contributions, by applying for funding support from governments and foundations, including the ARC Linkage programs, CRC, ARENA etc.

Research capabilities:

o   Collect demands from the end-users

o   Engagement activities with industry partners

o   Analyse the demands from the end-users

o   Lead CTAM CIs to develop solutions

o   Deliver value to partners