2D MATERIALS FOUND TO THRIVE IN SPACE CONDITIONS
Dr Tobias Vogl and ARC Australian Laureate Fellow, Professor Ping Koy Lam, along with colleagues at The Australian National University (ANU) node of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Quantum Computation and Communication Technology (CQC 2 T), have discovered a number of 2D materials that can not only withstand being sent into space, but can potentially thrive in the harsh conditions. During a satellite's orbit around the earth, it is subject to heating, cooling, and radiation. Previous research has demonstrated the robustness of 2D materials when it comes to temperature fluctuations, but the impact of radiation was unknown. The researchers set out to test a range of 2D materials to radiation levels comparable to what is experienced during a satellite's orbit around the earth. Surprisingly, they found the properties of some materials actually improved after exposure to radiation.
"A MATERIAL GETTING STRONGER AFTER IRRADIATION WITH GAMMA RAYS—IT REMINDS ME OF THE INCREDIBLE HULK!" SAID ANU RESEARCHER, DR TOBIAS VOGL.
The discovery could influence the type of materials used to build everything from satellite electronics to solar cells and batteries—making future space missions more accessible, and cheaper to launch. In light of the recent establishment of the Australian Space Agency, the work also shows that Australian researchers can compete internationally in using quantum technology to enhance space instrumentations. CQC 2 T is administered by The University of New South Wales. Dr Tobias Vogl, holding a prototype of a CubeSat which contains a fully operational quantum light source, alongside an experimental setup for testing it. Credit: Lannon Harley, ANU.
DEVELOPING INNOVATIVE TECHNOLOGIES
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