Physics and Space Science News and Events

Moiré (multi-period) gratings


The research group of Prof. Sabat at RMC has recently published on the fabrication of large-scale hierarchical macroscopic Moiré (multi-period) gratings on azobenzene molecular glass thin films on a glass wafer. These novel structures were inspired by the surface features found on Peruvian lily flower petals. Optica (previously known as The Optical Society of America) recently featured these new surface structures on their Instagram feed. Further details are found at Applied Optics Vol. 61, Issue 18, pp. 5428-5434 (2022)


Pairwise images showing the similarity between the Peruvian lily flower petal structure and the Moiré diffraction grating structure.


Photonic quasicrystals with magnified inset showing the microscopic structure of the grating, as measured using an atomic force microscope (AFM).



Microscopic views - A series of three diffraction gratings with different symmetries, and their corresponding Fourier transforms.

These images are from the paper Large-area photonic crystals, quasicrystals, and Moiré quasicrystals fabricated on azobenzene molecular glass films by pyramidal interference lithography

(Optical Materials Express Vol. 12, No. 11 / 1 Nov 2022)

CanX-7: Mission Accomplished!


On 26 September 2016, an RMC Physics and Space Science payload was launched into low Earth orbit onboard the CanX-7 nanosatellite (10 × 10 × 34 cm, 3.5 kg). The payload demonstrated the feasibility of space-based monitoring of air traffic through the reception Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) signals. The satellite also carried a 4 m2 drag sail for accelerated de-orbiting to reduce space debris. CanX-7 detected ADS-B signals for seven months at which point the drag sail was deployed. On 21 April 2022, after approximately 30,000 revolutions of the Earth, CanX-7 has intentionally burned up on descent into the atmosphere. Both the ADS-B mission and drag sail operation were a great success!

CanX-7 with drag-sail deployed
CanX-7 satellite
Global map showing the distribution of 4.3 million ADS-B contacts received by CanX-7

For more information, see The CanX-7 ADS-B Mission: Signal Propagation Assessment

RMC Astronomy Club presentation by Commodore Kurtz


The Commandant of the Royal Military College, Commodore M.T.J. (Josée) Kurtz (OMM, MSC, CD), gave a presentation to the RMC Astronomy Club on 27 October 2021.

Commodore Kurtz spoke on the topic of celestial navigation, and demonstrated the use of the marine sextant for precision measurement of angles.

A former navigator, the Commandant recalled her time as a junior officer posted on Canadian warships at sea.

The presentation, which took place in historic Currie Hall, was the first of several Astronomy Club events scheduled for 2021-2022

Commodore Josée Kurtz, the Commandant of RMC, standing by a slide of a marine sextant explaining its various components and capabilities. DND / Bryce Bennett
The Commandant of RMC, Commodore Josée Kurtz, in front of a slide of a Royal Canadian Navy warship, giving a presentation on celestial navigation. DND / Bryce Bennett
Commodore Kurtz gestures in front of a slide depicting the view through a marine sextant. DND / Bryce Bennett
Commodore Kurtz, speaking with members of the RMC Astronomy Club. DND / Bryce Bennett