Associate Professor Madhu Bhaskaran is a finalist in the prestigious 2017 Australian Museum Eureka Prizes for her work on unbreakable, stretchable and wearable electronics.
Presented annually, the Eureka Prizes are Australia’s biggest science awards and recognise excellence in the fields of research and innovation, leadership, science engagement and school science.
Bhaskaran, an Australian Research Council DECRA Fellow based in the School of Engineering, is a finalist in the Outstanding Early Career Researcher category.
The selection recognises her development of affordable and biocompatible electronic devices that could be worn like an ‘electronic skin’ and become an integral part of life and healthcare.
These have been made possible by Bhaskaran combining brittle oxide coatings, like the touchscreen on your smart phone, with soft silicone rubber to create electronics that are in some cases, as thin as a sticker.
“I have developed a transfer process that for the first time ever combines oxide materials with rubber-like membranes to enable transparent, stretchable and wearable electronic devices,” Bhaskaran said.
“Using this transfer technique, I have created wearable gas sensors and UV sensors.
“The sensors could be used to help fight against skin cancer, and detect dangerous gases in mines.”
2017 has already been a big year for Bhaskaran, who was named as one of Australia’s top innovators by Engineers Australia in early July.
The researcher, who also completed her PhD at RMIT, ranks her nomination for the 2017 Eureka Prizes as one of her greatest professional and personal achievements.
“As an RMIT researcher, every day you strive to shape a better world by delivering innovations that benefit Australian and international communities.
“My work on stretchable oxides carries clear environmental, health and community benefits.
“It is an honour and humbling to have my work and its potential benefits for people and societies across the globe recognised this way.”
The Eureka Prize winners are announced on 30 August.
Story: James Giggacher