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Message from the Director

Professor Andre Luiten

Welcome to the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS) – I hope that you will find this website informative and interesting.

Prof Andre Luiten IPAS is one of 5 research institutes at the University of Adelaide, these institutes exemplify research excellence.  The mission of IPAS is to use the power of light to make the world a safer, healthier and wealthier place.  We are doing this by building unique sensors which harness the powerful properties of light to learn about the environment: this might be inside the human body where we are building tools to diagnosis disease, inside an aircraft where we can search for hidden corrosion, inside a nuclear reactor where we want to measure radiation, or mapping methane leaks.

This broadness of applicability is captured in our science themes which span from fundamental research on new glasses and laser sources, through to applying our devices to make measurements in key biological, medical, defence and environmental and mining areas. Most IPAS researchers sit in multiple themes demonstrating our vision of nurturing transdisciplinary skills for a new generation of insightful and effective research leaders.
IPAS was created with three key points of difference:

  1. a transdisciplinary vision which brings together physicists, biologists, material scientists and chemists so that we can not only do the fundamental experiments that lead to new understanding, but that we also have the range of expertise and facilities to deliver prototype products.
  2. a focus on engagement with industry which ensures that our research focus is relevant to market needs, and provides industry with a one-stop-shop for a broad range of photonic technologies. IPAS has specific funding schemes like the Photonics Catalyst Program to enhance this interaction with industry.
  3. a focus on timely execution and commercialisation of research breakthroughs.  IPAS has already spun-out two companies with several more in the pipeline. We work closely with ARI (the commercialization arm of the University) and provide support and funding to enable researchers to commercialise their inventions.
We have just passed the milestone of our 5 years since our launch and it seems sensible to look back on all that has been achieved.  In early 2013 we moved into the new $100M Braggs building and we are constantly amazed at the brilliant working environment we have – the architecture of the building reflects the intent of the personnel – open, transparent and collaborative minds built with the power of glass and light.
Within this building we have installed new advanced manufacturing capability: 3D metal and ceramic printing, ultrasonic glass, crystal and metal precision machining, laser development and optical fibre manufacture together a unique capacity to mix physics and biology in the same accredited laboratory.  We thank the SA Government, DSTO, DefenceSA, the University of Adelaide and the Federal Government for providing the funding and support that enabled us to create these world class facilities.  These capabilities are open to all and we welcome any interest you might have so that together we can produce new and innovative products.  

In the last year IPAS led the successful bid for a new $38m ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP). This centre will greatly enhance leading-edge research at the nexus between biology, physics and chemistry. The CNBP will bring an influx of new researchers into IPAS at the University of Adelaide, as well as into our partners at RMIT and Macquarie University.  The centre will develop new tools to give unique insight into biological and medical conditions and we expect many high impact outcomes from this new funding.

Building a vibrant research eco-system with a focus on translation and engagement is crucial for the prosperity of South Australia and the nation.  IPAS provides the facilities and focus to support researchers to do this in the fields of sensing and photonics.  I hope that you will engage with the institute so that together we can realise these goals.



Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing

North Terrace Campus
The Braggs Building
The University of Adelaide
Adelaide SA 5005


T: +61 8 8313 9254

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