New technology brings exciting research opportunities to Melbourne

Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge today unveiled new nanotechnology in Melbourne, opening up exciting research opportunities including better cancer detection, more efficient solar cells and smaller advanced electronics.

Australia’s first open access Phabler is now in use at the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication, operated by the Australian National Fabrication Facility (ANFF) as part of the federal government’s $4 billion National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy (NCRIS).

The device was brought to Australia by NanoMSlide, a company started by La Trobe University researchers – highlighting the significant benefits of the Morrison Government’s research commercialisation agenda.

The Phabler, uses light beams to create tiny, intricate patterns on objects and will initially be used to produce a revolutionary type of microscope slide with a higher-quality image. It can print 10,000 lines of text on an area the size of a human hair.

Minister Tudge said the technology would be a gamechanger for research and industry in Australia.

“This is exactly what research commercialisation is all about – Australian universities creating not just world-leading research but turning that research into business opportunities, local jobs and economic benefits for the country.”

“This technology means research and advances previously made overseas can now be done right here in Melbourne and important work that used to take many hours will now take just seconds,” Minister Tudge said.

“We have made research commercialisation a key priority to help drive our economic recovery and are currently developing a research commercialisation scheme.”

ANFF CEO Dr Ian Griffiths said the benefits of having the Phabler would be seen immediately.

“The Phabler, and its use in emerging pathology technology, is a clear example of how providing the right infrastructure for the right project can move an idea quickly to proof of concept products,” Dr Griffiths said.

“The platform that ANFF and NCRIS provide is a substantial accelerator to many fledgling technologies.

“ANFF is uniquely positioned, as we can provide commercialisation support as well as continued access to a network of manufacturing capabilities and engineering talent across Australia.”

La Trobe University Professor and inventor of the NanoMslide Brian Abbey said access to the Phabler would enable enormous strides in developing their revolutionary microscope slide technology.

“The new Phabler facility will allow us to produce our patented slide coating technology, which enables faster and more accurate cancer diagnosis compared to current approaches,” Professor Abbey said.

“Until now, we’ve had to rely on overseas facilities for key elements in the production process, but with the Phabler up and running, we can manufacture our slides here in Melbourne, and in quantities that will allow us to realise the full potential of our invention.

“We wouldn’t have had the prototype without the ANFF and the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication.”

Monash University President and Vice-Chancellor Professor Margaret Gardner AC said the MCN demonstrated the importance of universities and research groups such as the CSIRO, working together to solve some of the world’s greatest problems and bring extraordinary outcomes to life through start-ups and licensing agreements.

“Australia is home to world-leading researchers and infrastructure. Bringing them together into one place, where resources and expertise are shared through an industry-leading open access model, enables the translation of ground-breaking research into commercialisation to deliver real-life outcomes,” she said.

“The research being undertaken at MCN is proof that facilitating collaborative research through an integrated network of providers, infrastructure and expertise delivers real outcomes – which is in complete alignment with the Federal Government’s agenda to connect research with enterprise.”

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