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One of the key aims of IPAS is to combine research excellence with a strong industry focus and collaborative culture. The team at IPAS work closely with Adelaide Enterprise and Research Contracts and Partnerships, the commercialisation arms of the University of Adelaide, to create a culture of innovation within the Institute, foster industry-led collaborations and contract research, and to develop technology licence agreements.

The commercial objectives of IPAS are to accelerate the process of getting products to market, helping the growth of photonics and advanced sensing sectors in Australia, creating new opportunities and jobs for graduates and researchers outside traditional academic roles and securing an untied income stream to the Institute.


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Prof Andre Luiten and Adj. Prof John Hartnett created a high-precision sapphire oscillator, or more colloquially, a ‘sapphire clock’.

The technology offers a deployable signal generation solution with an output 1000 times purer than existing and comparable commercially available products. They have identified three separate fields in which this technology immediately offers a step-change in performance: military radar, quantum computing and radio-astronomy.

To exploit the commercial potential, Luiten and Hartnett spun out a company, Cryoclock Pty Ltd, in 2016. The company has attracted a significant order in its first year of operation, supplying a clock to boost the performance of a quantum computing lab.

The extremely high-performance of the oscillator has found a practical and strategic application in Australian Defence, by improving the performance of a key radar asset. The Jindalee Over the Horizon Radar Network (JORN), a multi-billion dollar linchpin of Australia’s defence surveillance, monitors air and sea movements across 37,000km2; playing a vital role in supporting the Australian Defence Force’s air and maritime operations, border protection, disaster relief and search and rescue operations. Defence has already invested more than $4M to drive the development of the technology. Subject to a successful demonstration on the JORN radar in 2018, Defence is expected to order around 20 units.


Mirage Photonics is a start-up launched in 2016 by Dr Ori Henderson-Sapir. At the forefront of fibre-based mid-infrared (IR) laser development, it brings innovative solutions to the R&D and environmental sensing sector.

Mirage Photonics’ first product, Mid-IR MFL-3500, is a continuously tuneable Mid-IR fibre laser operating at 3.5 μm featuring broadband tuning with efficient room temperature operation.

As the first of its kind, it provides a new benchmark in efficiency and portability for 3.5 μm laser sources, with excellent beam quality. The MFL-3500 is ideal for atmospheric and environmental monitoring applications where tunability and portability are vital.


Miniprobes Pty Ltd is a South Australian startup incorporated by three IPAS researchers (Robert McLaughlin, Bryden Quirk, Rodney Kirk) to commercialise their smart needle technology. The team builds exquisitely small imaging probes, each encased in a medical needle, and able to acquire high resolution images deep inside the body. Their first product was launched in January 2017, and is a handheld imaging needle that allows potential industry partners to prototype the technology into their own product lines.

Miniprobes have collaborated with University of Adelaide and Sir Charles Gairder Hospital to complete the first human trial of their smart needle technology, demonstrating its ability to detect blood vessels in brain surgery.

The company is working closely with TechInSA to setup manufacturing facilities in South Australia, positioning Miniprobes as an OEM provider of this technology to a range of medical device manufacturers.

Miniprobes low-cost 3D scanning probe will be released in October 18 – see it here.


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  • Arkwright Technologies

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  • Cryoclock

    Cryoclock Pty Ltd develops state-of-the-art low noise and high stability oscillators for use in electronic systems that need the very best signals. Learn more

  • Mirage Photonics

    Mirage Photonics's first product, Mid-IR MFL-3500, is a continuously tuneable Mid-IR fibre laser operating at 3.5 μm featuring broadband tuning with efficient room temperature operation. Learn more

  • Miniprobes

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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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