Skip to main content

Curtin home to new equipment that unlocks the secrets of the Universe

Media release

Curtin University will be home to new equipment vital for gaining a better understanding of the Earth and its place in the Universe after AuScope received $5 million in Federal Government funding.

Galaxy

AuScope supports the purchase, upgrade and maintenance of geochemical research infrastructure at Curtin and a new replacement Sensitive High-Resolution Ion Microprobe (SHRIMP) age-dating instrument will be installed at the John de Laeter Research Centre at the University’s Bentley Campus.

Funded through the National Collaborative Research Infrastructure Strategy, the new SHRIMP will enable continued research and innovation at the world-leading zircon geochronology facility at the centre.

Curtin University Vice-Chancellor Professor Deborah Terry congratulated the John de Laeter Research Centre team for presenting a strong case for funding to upgrade the existing 25-year-old SHRIMP.

“A quarter of a century ago, Professor John de Laeter led a proposal to commission a new SHRIMP ion microprobe at Curtin, which would subsequently bring about new understandings of the Australian continent, the Earth’s tectonic plates and the age of the Solar System, among other breakthroughs,” Professor Terry said.

“This new SHRIMP instrument will enable the continuation of the important research that has been demonstrated over many years as having tremendous benefit to government, industry and academia.

“The funding allows our researchers to remain working at the forefront of a science that shapes our collective understanding of the Earth and its place in the Universe.”

John de Laeter Research Centre Director Professor Brent McInnes said the SHRIMP instrument had played a huge role in the advancement of geoscience research in Australia and around the globe, enabling new scientific discoveries and reshaping the geological map of Australia.

“The new funding will allow industry, government and academic researchers to undertake new Earth and planetary research, such as those related to deep drilling projects and asteroid sample return missions,” Professor McInnes said.

The John de Laeter Research Centre has strong links with the Geological Survey of Western Australia and Geoscience Australia, and provides geochronology and isotope geoscience data critical to their missions of mapping and understanding the Australian continent and its resources.

AuScope’s SHRIMP instrument forms part of the Earth Composition and Evolution infrastructure located at Curtin University, The University of Melbourne and Macquarie University.