It is remarkable that lasers, when first invented, were a solution looking for a problem. Now lasers underpin the internet, supercharge medical diagnostics, guide autonomous vehicles, and provide the edge to top-end defence forces. 

This talk will introduce you to the world of lasers and how they work, share with you some of the latest laser research projects David has worked on, including some of the funky defence applications that lasers are being used for.

You’ll also be introduced to a new microlaser, the ‘chip’ laser, that David has been one of the principal inventors of. The chip laser produces really small light pulses less than a ‘thousandth of a billionth’ second long, and can be used for ‘cold’ machining, which in essence is cutting without heat, perfect for eyeballs! 


David Lancaster is a ‘Laser Geek’ as well as a Professor of Laser Engineering at UniSA where he leads a research team in a newly purpose built laser playground. A seasoned laser professional he has worked in the field for 25 years after completing a PhD in experimental laser physics at Macquarie University. Post PhD he worked in the US at Rice University researching how to detect trace amounts of methane and formaldehye in spacecraft for NASA. In 2000 he moved to SA, working for Defence to develop laser counter measures on military aircraft. Since 2010 his research interests have been varied but include inventing a new class of micro-chip laser which he is in the process of commercialising.

6:30 PM @Little Bang Brewing Co, 8A Union St, STEPNEY