Professor Jim Williams, Professor Andrei Rode and Associate Professor Jodie Bradby with the electron diffraction pattern of one of their new silicon phases. Photo by Stuart Hay.

Professor Jim Williams, Professor Andrei Rode and Associate Professor Jodie Bradby with the electron diffraction pattern of one of their new silicon phases. Photo by Stuart Hay.

Exploding into life

After a year of experiments, ANU scientists have created new materials that could revolutionise the technology industry. DR PHIL DOOLEY, BSc (Hons) '90, PhD '99 and GEORGIA NIELSEN report.

Technological advances over the past 50 years have been based on the flexibility of one chemical element - silicon.

This popular little element is the eighth most common one in the universe by mass and is used in a diverse number of applications, from producing building maters and ceramics and glass to casting allowed for the automotive industry and creating semi-conductors in electronics.

It's the last application that has ANU scientists exploding with excitement.