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Infrared imaging wins DSTO Eureka Prize.

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THE HON. WARREN SNOWDON MP Minister for Defence Science and Personnel

Tuesday, 19 August 2008 111/2008


The University of Western Australia has won the inaugural Eureka Prize for “Outstanding Science in support of Defence or National Security” sponsored by the Defence Science and Technology Organisation (DSTO).

The Minister for Defence Science and Personnel, Hon. Warren Snowdon MP, presented the $10,000 prize to the University’s Microelectronics Research Group during an awards dinner at Sydney’s Australian Museum.

Mr Snowdon praised the Group for significantly enhancing Defence capability in the reliable detection and identification of threats and targets.

“The Group’s research has paved the way for the development of a versatile, light-weight, low-cost, high-speed and high-performance hyperspectral imaging system,“ Mr Snowdon said.

The new system is the equivalent of a digital colour video-camera, but operating in the infrared part of the spectrum rather than the visible. Being ‘hyperspectral’, the spectrometer measures the energy at many separate infrared wavelengths, not just the equivalent of ‘black and white’.

“The work represents breakthroughs in many different areas,” said Mr Snowdon.

“The overall approach to systems design has overcome the problem of processing large amounts of data, and they have also achieved miniaturisation, essentially producing a ‘spectrometer on a chip’.

“The university’s innovative work could have many far-reaching consequences in the defence domain.

“They include improved threat and target identification at longer ranges, in hazardous urban environments and for the protection of ships, aircraft and vehicles.”

Other potential applications include landmine detection, chemical/biological sensing, and border security operations.

Mr Snowdon said the imaging technology also holds promise for a range of civilian applications including health diagnostics, crop (grain) monitoring, and environmental monitoring.

The University of Western Australia won the prize from a field of 11 high quality entries submitted by industry and research agencies across Australia.

Media contacts: Kate Sieper (Mr Snowdon): 02 6277 7620 or 0488 484 689 Jimmy Hafesjee (DSTO): 02 6128 6376 or 0404 042 457 Defence Media Liaison: 02 6265 3343 or 0408 498 664