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Capita Symonds Aims for Australian Science Scheme Win

6 May 2011

Bristol University Centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information

Capita Symonds, in conjunction with Reid Campbell, has made the final shortlist of bids vying to become the University of Sydney’s new Nanoscience facility.

A team led by Iain Martin, which also created the University of Bristol’s Nanoscience facility, is one of five entries on the final list which was chosen from a total of 84 entries from around the world.

Last year, the University of Sydney secured $40 million in funding to build the new Australian Institute for Nanoscience from the federal government's Education Investment Fund. The Institute will focus on research across three areas - communications, medical diagnostics and astronomy - united by a common disciplinary core of nanoscale science.

The Institute has the potential to deliver a number benefits including:

  • Faster, more secure, and more energy efficient communications based on photonics and quantum science technologies;
  • New medical diagnostics and therapies which combine quantum technologies with medical imaging and drug delivery modalities, including challenges such as a fully implantable bionic eye;
  • Revolutionary optical instrumentation to explore the universe.

It will bring together several internationally competitive and nationally collaborative research centres - including the ARC Centre of Excellence in Photonics. It will involve more than 100 researchers and will train 120 postgraduate students in the first three years of activity, as well as being able to accommodate a further 50 visiting researchers.

Hailed as the quietest building in the world, the University of Bristol's centre for Nanoscience and Quantum Information provides state-of-the-art specialised laboratories where vibration and acoustic noise levels are among the lowest ever achieved, despite the fact that it is located in Bristol city centre (the size of the materials involved in nanoscience mean that complete stillness is absolutely imperative).

Containing an anechoic chamber (a room designed to attenuate sound or electromagnetic energy), two cleanrooms, and wet, optical, and low vibration laboratories, it provides an ideal space for developing future computing, communications and health technologies, as well as advanced materials such as those used in the aerospace industry.

Since its completion the Capita Symonds designed laboratories have already been carrying out some groundbreaking research including the development of a super powerful quantum computer which uses particles of light (photons) whizzing through a silicon chip to perform mathematical calculations, as well as the development of a novel material made of tiny diamonds which is more efficient at generating energy than conventional photovoltaic materials.