Professor Ken Baldwin is a physicist in the Research School of Physics, the founding Director of the ANU Grand Challenge: Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific (2018-2021), and the inaugural Director of the ANU Energy Change Institute (2010-2020, now incorporated into ICEDS).
As inaugural Director of the ANU Energy Change Institute (now part of the ANU Institute for Climate, Energy and Disaster Solutions), and as founding Director of the ANU Grand Challenge: Zero-Carbon Energy for the Asia-Pacific, Professor Baldwin’s research interests are in energy policy to inform the energy transition to a decarbonised economy.
This includes research into developing a systems level approach to the integration of renewable energy sources throughout all sectors of the economy, including the potentially dominant renewable energy export sector. Policy development in the understanding of export prospects in the Asia-Pacific, including the creation of certification systems for hydrogen and other energy carriers, are a key research interest.
Professor Baldwin’s physics research interests lie in developing new laser technologies for precision measurement to test quantum theories of atomic and molecular structure. This can be used to test fundamental theories such as Quantum ElectroDynamics (QED), or applied to determine how air molecules react to ultraviolet light, thereby enabling better understanding of energy balance and ozone formation in the earth’s atmosphere.
He is a pioneer in atom optics – a field that uses lasers to create new technologies for atoms which are the analogue of optical elements for light – that can be used e.g. to create nanostructures for better microchips. Lasers can also be used to cool atoms to the lowest temperatures in the universe, at which point they behave more like waves than particles, enabling them to be used as sensitive detectors e.g. of changes in the earths gravitational field for mineral exploration.
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