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World first ion probe facility opens in WA.

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Ministers for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research


A world-first facility that can detect signs of weapons-grade uranium, new ore deposits and evidence of early life on earth has opened at The University of Western Australia.

Launching the Ion Probe Facility today the Minister for Innovation, Industry, Science and Research, Senator Kim Carr said the ultra sensitive microprobe will boost the facility’s power to carry out world-leading research.

“The new microprobe is the only one of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere and one of just 15 in the world.

“It is teamed with a complementary microprobe, making the university’s Centre for Microscopy, Characterisation and Analysis the only place in the world to house two such devices.

“The new microprobe works by aiming high energy ion beams at samples and has the ability to detect very fine chemical differences between different substances.

“It can be used to track the migration of ancient extinct animals in the search for the causes of their demise.

“Other uses include studying the growth of corals to better understand coral bleaching and climate change and identifying the sources of dangerous pollution.

“The microprobe can also study ancient meteorites, helping us to understand how the Solar System was formed.

“The potential here is vast, and researchers from all around the nation will be very eager to use the new facility.

“The Australian Government has contributed $1.5 million towards the $6 million cost of the microprobe,” Senator Carr said.

Media contacts: Patrick Pantano, Minister's Office, 0417 181 936 Julia Evans, Department, 02 6213 6279, 0401 277 510

Innovation Minister > Senator the Hon Kim Carr

Media Release

Senator the Hon Kim Carr

28 Aug 2009

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