2021 saw three successful recipients of QDSA HDR Grants. In this article, we look at the submission by candidate David Sutton, who represents member university, the Queensland University of Technology.
David Sutton – Queensland University of Technology
Project: Laser-Driven Micro-Fabrication in Chemical Detection Systems
David and his team at QUT Research Engineering Facility Flight Ops, EPE, are working on a project focused on laser-driven micro-fabrication.
The prototype that they have developed extends the functionality of an existing laser-based stand-off chemical detection system from a point-and-detect system to a rotary scanning platform. The result will be a platform that detects compounds of concern in a wider variety of situations.
Led by David, the team also includes:
- Joshua Carroll: Prototype developer and technical support
- Professor Esa Jaatinen: Academic mentor
- Dr Axel Bender: Defence sponsor and head of Operating in CBRN environments defence STaR SHOTS
Let’s explore the project that allowed David and his team at QUT to secure a 2021 QDSA HDR Grant successfully.
The project aims to extend the functionality of an existing laser-based stand-off chemical detection system with an outcome that sees it function with the new extension as well as it currently does.
David suspects that initially, there will be some reduction in signal due to the slightly smaller capture area, but it will have the added benefit of keeping it still while detecting in a wide arc.
“The main benefit is in improving the safety of soldiers operating in dangerous environments by potentially allowing a more effective detection method for dangerous compounds,” David says.
To illustrate the functionality of the project, here are some images of their prototype provided by David and his team:
The distance between the prototype and the target is 10 metres for testing.
Impact of QDSA HDR Grant Funding
As a postgraduate student working in laser-driven micro-fabrication, David is encouraged and fortified by the support of QDSA HDR Funding. He has developed expertise in programmatic instrument control systems throughout his PhD and is in the process of completing his thesis whilst working as a research assistant in a new project involving the photonics of biomedical materials engineering.
David believes that the opportunity presents a way to develop ideas that might not otherwise warrant a research grant. In his words, “this is a pretty big deal for a PhD student or ECR.”
Working directly with a defence sponsor offers David Sutton and his team the potential to communicate with the end-users of their prototype to ensure its effectiveness and usability. “This is not necessarily the access you might have with a typical research project,” David says.
On behalf of QDSA and our partners, we wish to congratulate David Sutton and his team from QUT and extend our support for the success of his prototype development. We are excited to watch the project develop and see the impact of this new technology.
Learn more about QDSA HDR Capability Grants here.
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The Queensland Defence Science Alliance (QDSA) is a university-led initiative to grow and connect an agile Defence innovation ecosystem, leveraging Queensland’s strengths, to deliver trusted solutions to meet Defence requirements.