Dr James Hutchison, Exciton Science Associate Investigator and an ARC Future Fellow at the School of Chemistry, University of Melbourne, has been awarded a 12-month Victorian Government Study Melbourne/veski Research Partnerships grant for the project ‘New directions for the harvesting and manipulation of thermal energy’, together with the Research Institute for Electronic Science (RIES), University of Hokkaido, Japan.
The project will target syntheses of novel infrared-active nanomaterials, as well as the construction of an infrared imaging facility, at the Exciton Science Nanoscience Laboratories.
The project will also deepen connections with RIES Institute, Hokkaido University, a Japanese hub for photonics and imaging for sustainable energy applications.
Professor Hiroshi Ujii’s lab at RIES will provide high resolution, tuneable optical nanostructures that will be combined with the nanomaterials synthesised in Melbourne. This combination will open new avenues towards infrared energy harvesting.
“A carbon-neutral energy economy is arguably the grand challenge of our time. While today’s solar cells effectively harvest energy from visible sunlight, a substantial fraction of the sun’s rays fall beyond our vision, in the infrared, and are lost as heat” said Dr Hutchison.
“Our collaboration with exceptional colleagues from Hokkaido University gives us an opportunity to make significant advances in harvesting this radiant heat, better exploiting an otherwise under-utilised resource.”
Dr Hutchison’s research project is one of fifteen covering mining, advanced manufacturing, health and education, including the use of virtual reality to train remote health professionals, have received a total of $2.8 million from the Victorian Government - through the Study Melbourne Research Partnerships program delivered by veski.
Through this program, the Victorian Government is supporting ground-breaking research to enhance its connections to leading international institutions and industry, and attract global talent to Victoria.
veski MD & chief executive Julia L Page said: “This funding will not only deliver great research outcomes, enhanced by global partnerships, it will also raise awareness of Victoria’s position in the global academic communities and demonstrate that the State is open for business when it comes to research collaboration.”