Top optics award for pioneering RMIT physicist

Top optics award for pioneering RMIT physicist

World-leading RMIT University physicist Distinguished Professor Min Gu has been awarded a top international prize, named in honour of the Nobel-winning inventor of holography, Dennis Gabor.

World-leading RMIT University physicist Distinguished Professor Min Gu has been awarded a top international prize, named in honour of the Nobel-winning inventor of holography, Dennis Gabor.

Internationally renowned for his expertise in 3D optical imaging theory, Gu’s discoveries are helping drive the development of solutions to some of our biggest challenges in renewable energy, information technology and big data storage.

The International Society for Optics and Photonics (SPIE) has today announced Gu as the 2019 recipient of the Dennis Gabor Award in Diffractive Optics.

Gu is Associate Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research Innovation and Entrepreneurship and director the Laboratory of Artificial-Intelligence Nanophotonics at RMIT.

His research has led to major advancements in how data is stored, displayed and transmitted. This work has also radically decreased the amount of energy needed when it comes to using data, potentially unlocking major environmental benefits. 

Recent breakthroughs include:

  • groundbreaking new technology to allow super-fast internet by harnessing twisted light beams to carry more data and process it faster
  • a new type of high-capacity optical disk that can hold data securely for more than 600 years, offering a cost-efficient and sustainable solution to the global data storage problem
  • the world’s thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday electronics like smart phones, computers and TVs
  • a prototype electrode inspired by an American fern, that could boost the capacity of existing integrable storage technologies by 3000 per cent

Gu said he was honoured to receive the Dennis Gabor Award, and accept it on behalf of his entire research team.

“Optics is a tremendously exciting field and nanophonotics is at the frontier of research in so many ways,” he said.

“Our work is driven by a desire to deliver real solutions to the real issues faced by industry and the community in conjunction with artificial intelligence.

“We seek industry input from the very start, to deeply understand the challenges and develop tailored technological solutions that can have a genuine impact, so it’s wonderful to receive this international recognition for our research.”

07 January 2019


Distinguished Professor Min Gu Distinguished Professor Min Gu.

Gu gained a PhD degree in optics from the Chinese Academy of Sciences, before moving to Australia in 1988.

Recognised for his pioneering work in nanoscale information optics, Gu is a leading authority in the fields of nanophotonics, nanofabrication and biophotonics.

His research has led a new paradigm-shift in nanometric ultrathin wide-angle 3D display and Petabyte data storage.

The Dennis Gabor Award is presented annually by SPIE, in recognition of outstanding accomplishments in diffractive wave front technologies, especially those that further the development of holography and metrology applications.

The award will be presented to Gu at an official ceremony in August this year in San Diego, California.

It is the latest in a striking list of achievements for Gu, who is a recipient of the W. H. Steel Prize (Australian Optical Society, 2011), the Ian Wark Medal and Lecture (Australian Academy of Science, 2014), the Boas Medal (Australian Institute of Physics, 2015), and the Victoria Prize for Science and Innovation in Physical Sciences (2016).

He is also the awardee of the Chang Jiang Chair Professorship and has received an Einstein Professorship Award from the Chinese Academy of Sciences.  

An elected Fellow of the Australian Academy of Science and the Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering, Gu is also a Foreign Fellow of the Chinese Academy of Engineering.

Be part of the conversation about Ethical Innovation & Industry Transformation! Join local and international leaders from industry, research and innovation, 18-20 February at RMIT. Find out more at Engaging for Impact 2019.

Story: Gosia Kaszubska

07 January 2019


  • Research
  • Awards
  • Nano & Microtechnology
  • Science and technology
  • Advanced Materials

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.