Professor Min Gu is shaping research innovation facilitating incubation and acceleration of his research in the newly established world-class Laboratory of Artificial-Intelligence Nanophotonics.
Distinguished Professor Min Gu, Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship, Research and Innovation and Director, Laboratory of Artificial-Intelligence Nanophotonics
Professor Gu’s primary areas of research include nanophotonics, nanofabrication, biophotonics and multi-dimensional data storage and optical imaging theory.
"My research through the establishment and development of the Centre for Micro-Photonics at Swinburne University of Technology and its benchmarking success facilitated the organic evolution to take risk and lead my research to the next phase of analytic analysis", he said.
"RMIT is a global leader in photonics, and the highly successful School of Science provided me with the opportunity to integrate my research into the creation of the Laboratory of Artificial-Intelligence Nanophotonics, an emerging field at the interface between photonics, 3D nano-printing and neural science."
A recent success story, generated from the Laureate Fellowship awarded to him from the Australian Research Council, involves the design of a nanophotonic chip that can achieve unparalleled levels of control over the angular momentum of light.
The work, published in Science, opens new opportunities to use angular momentum for the generation, transmission, processing and recording of information, and could also be used to help scientists better understand the evolution and nature of black holes.
"While travelling approximately in a straight line, a beam of light also spins and twists around its optical axis.
"The angular momentum of light measures the amount of this dynamic rotation, and could be harnessed to improve the capacity of optical fibres by creating parallel light channels – an approach known as "multiplexing".
"However, the creation of angular momentum multiplexing on a chip has remained a major challenge as there is no material in nature capable of sensing twisted light.
"By designing a series of elaborate nano-apertures and nanogrooves on the photonic chip, our team has enabled the on-chip manipulation of twisted light for the first time.
"The design removes the need for any other bulky interference-based optics to detect the angular momentum signals.
"Our discovery could open up truly compact on-chip angular momentum applications such as ultra-high definition displays, ultra-high capacity optical communications and ultra-secure optical encryption.
"It could also be extended to characterise the angular momentum properties of gravitational waves to help us gain more information on how black holes interact with each other in the universe."
Over the years, Gu’s research has been focused on fulfilling the translational vision from physics to societal impact and a recent research project funded by a $11 million Science and Industry Endowment Fund (SIEF) project saw him collaborating with the CSIRO Microfluidics team to develop a novel thermal management system to address some of the societal challenges associated with solar photovoltaic technologies.
"The aim of the project is to overcome the efficiency losses that solar cells suffer when exposed to high temperatures by developing a novel heatpipe plate system that can potentially be integrated with PV panels," Gu said.
"The heatpipe plate can be mass produced to reduce costs as it is made of metallic materials and has a thickness of a few millimeters.
"It is ideal for integration with PV panels as it involves no moving parts and can potentially last for over 10-20 years."
The technology developed from the project will generate benefits in the energy sector by recovering the electricity loss due to heating effect by up to 10-15%.
This will ultimately help to reduce the green gas emission. In addition to energy, the technology can also be applied in a variety of other industries.
Professor Gu is an elected Fellow from Australia’s two prestigious Academies, the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering.
In 2015 he was awarded the Australian Institute of Physics Walter Boas Medal for his original research and contributions to physics.
As Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship, he is leading RMIT’s strategic change agenda, enhancing research impact and overall development of deployment opportunities with key partners in developing solutions to global challenges.
"Understanding what industry want by applying a sustainable approach to our way of thinking and providing solutions, permits me to drive innovation in my own research and align it with RMIT’s capabilities and global strategy.
"I want to harvest the excellence of research here at RMIT; we are the culture and soil and through collaborating, identifying and translating opportunities to enhance our research impact, RMIT will be leading the field in a new and unique way.
"It will be a journey of fostering innovation, inspiration and collaboration."