Potential PhB research projects

The Research School of Physics & Engineering performs research at the cutting edge of a wide range of disciplines.

By undertaking your own research project at RSPE you could open up an exciting career in science.

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Suitability: All - 3rdYear - 1st year PhB - later PhB - Honours - PhD/Masters - Summer Scholars
Department: All - AM - AMPL - EME - LPC - NLPC - NP - PRL - QS - TP
For more info on studying Physics at RSPE visit the Physics Education Centre
Other research projects may be found at the ANU College of Engineering & Computer Science and the Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Astrophysics

Dark matter search from nuclear recoil

An experiment aiming at detecting the recoil of nuclei interacting with the hypothetical Dark Matter surrounding the Earth will take place in a former gold mine in Stawel (Victoria). The project involves participating to various experimental aspects such as background characterisation. 

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Gregory Lane, Dr Cédric Simenel, Dr Anton Wallner

Atomic and Molecular Physics

Experimental determination of the Auger yield per nuclear decay

Auger electrons are emitted after nuclear decay and are used for medical purposes. The number of Auger electrons generated per nuclear decay is not known accurately, a fact that  hinders medical applications.  This project aims to obtain a experimental estimate of the number of Auger electrons emitted per nuclear decay.
 

Dr Maarten Vos, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

Electron scattering in a magnetic field

A novel approach to low energy electron experiments has been developed, using strong magnetic fields to confine the electron beam. This project will further develop a new apparatus towards making important measurements of scattering cross sections.

Assoc. Prof. James Sullivan, Dr Joshua Machacek

Electron scattering from surfaces at high energies

The project aims at establishing the possibilities of high-energy electron scattering in the analysis of thin layers. 

Dr Maarten Vos

Analysis of velocity-map imaged photoelectron distributions

Our world-leading photoelectron imaging spectrometer has measured a great number of atomic and molecular species. The electron velocity-mapped images await computational analysis to extract the photoelectron spectra and photoelectron angular distributions. The analysis forms the basis for publication of the measurements.

Dr Stephen Gibson

Biophysics

Three-dimensional crystalline structures from two-dimensional hyperbolic tilings

A variety of projects are available that will contribute to the enumeration and characterisation of 3-periodic network structures via the tiling of periodic minimal surfaces and thereby enhance our understanding of self-assembled structures in nature.  

Dr Vanessa Robins, Professor Stephen Hyde

Clean Energy

Hydrogen generation by solar water splitting using nitride-based compound semiconductors

This project aims to develop GaN-based semiconductor photoelectrodes for highly efficient solar to hydrogen generation by band bending and surface engineering at the semiconductor-electrolyte interface.

Professor Hoe Tan, Dr Siva Karuturi

Nanowire arrays for next generation high performance photovoltaics

This is an all-encompassing program to integrate highly sophisticated theoretical modelling, material growth and nanofabrication capabilities to develop high performance semiconductor nanowire array solar cells. It will lead to understanding of the underlying photovoltaic mechanisms in nanowires and design of novel solar cell architectures.

A/Prof Lan Fu, Dr Sudha Mokkapati

Engineering in Physics

High-mobility, high-stability, energy-saving and low cost zinc oxynitride thin-film transistors

This project will develop zinc oxynitride (ZnON) thin-film transistors with improved performance such as, high mobility, high stability, low power consumption and low cost, to be used for next-generation displays.

Dr Jiandong Ye

Generation of random numbers from vacuum fluctuations

Aim to generate random numbers by performing a homodyne measurement of the quantum vacuum state.

Mr Syed Assad, Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Thomas Symul

Materials Science and Engineering

Hydrogen generation by solar water splitting using nitride-based compound semiconductors

This project aims to develop GaN-based semiconductor photoelectrodes for highly efficient solar to hydrogen generation by band bending and surface engineering at the semiconductor-electrolyte interface.

Professor Hoe Tan, Dr Siva Karuturi

3D phantoms for X-ray micro-tomography

"Phantoms" are objects used for performance testing and/or calibration of 3D X-ray computed tomography (CT) systems. This project involves designing, 3D printing, and subsequently imaging phantoms at the micro-CT facility of the Applied Maths department.

Dr Andrew Kingston, Dr Glenn Myers, A/Prof Adrian Sheppard, Prof Timothy Senden

High-mobility, high-stability, energy-saving and low cost zinc oxynitride thin-film transistors

This project will develop zinc oxynitride (ZnON) thin-film transistors with improved performance such as, high mobility, high stability, low power consumption and low cost, to be used for next-generation displays.

Dr Jiandong Ye

UV nano-LEDs

Development of nanowire LEDs for small, robust and highly portable UV sources.

Professor Chennupati Jagadish, Professor Hoe Tan

Zn-based II-V nanocrystals: a new class of semiconductor materials

Understanding of the growth or optical/electronic properties of a new class of II-V semiconductor nanomaterials with promises in energy and optoelectronic applications

Dr Philippe Caroff, Professor Hoe Tan, A/Prof Lan Fu

Semiconductor nanoscale crystals with advanced and novel geometries

Synthesize advanced semiconductor nanostructures with tunable geometries (e.g. nanotrees, nanoplatelets) and investigate their electronic and optical properties

Dr Philippe Caroff, Professor Hoe Tan

Fundamental investigation of fission tracks for geo- and thermochronology

Study the formation and stability of high energy ion tracks in minerals under controlled environments with importance for geological dating techniques

A/Prof Patrick Kluth

Electron scattering from surfaces at high energies

The project aims at establishing the possibilities of high-energy electron scattering in the analysis of thin layers. 

Dr Maarten Vos

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Experimental determination of the Auger yield per nuclear decay

Auger electrons are emitted after nuclear decay and are used for medical purposes. The number of Auger electrons generated per nuclear decay is not known accurately, a fact that  hinders medical applications.  This project aims to obtain a experimental estimate of the number of Auger electrons emitted per nuclear decay.
 

Dr Maarten Vos, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

UV nano-LEDs

Development of nanowire LEDs for small, robust and highly portable UV sources.

Professor Chennupati Jagadish, Professor Hoe Tan

Nanowire DFB lasers

Developing nanoscale lasers with controlled direction of light emission for use in high density information processing.

Dr Sudha Mokkapati, Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Nanowire photodetectors – Small devices for the big world

Semiconductor nanowires are emerging nano-materials with substantial opportunities for novel photonic and electronic device applications. This project aims at developing a new generation of high performance NW based photodetectors for a wide range of applications.

A/Prof Lan Fu, Professor Hoe Tan

Zn-based II-V nanocrystals: a new class of semiconductor materials

Understanding of the growth or optical/electronic properties of a new class of II-V semiconductor nanomaterials with promises in energy and optoelectronic applications

Dr Philippe Caroff, Professor Hoe Tan, A/Prof Lan Fu

Semiconductor nanoscale crystals with advanced and novel geometries

Synthesize advanced semiconductor nanostructures with tunable geometries (e.g. nanotrees, nanoplatelets) and investigate their electronic and optical properties

Dr Philippe Caroff, Professor Hoe Tan

Fundamental investigation of fission tracks for geo- and thermochronology

Study the formation and stability of high energy ion tracks in minerals under controlled environments with importance for geological dating techniques

A/Prof Patrick Kluth

Visible wavelength nanowire lasers

Utilising nanowire geometry to create visible wavelength nanoscale lasers with reduced footprint, higher efficiency and lower operating powers.

Professor Chennupati Jagadish, Dr Sudha Mokkapati, Professor Hoe Tan

Nanowire arrays for next generation high performance photovoltaics

This is an all-encompassing program to integrate highly sophisticated theoretical modelling, material growth and nanofabrication capabilities to develop high performance semiconductor nanowire array solar cells. It will lead to understanding of the underlying photovoltaic mechanisms in nanowires and design of novel solar cell architectures.

A/Prof Lan Fu, Dr Sudha Mokkapati

Photonics, Lasers and Nonlinear Optics

Nanowire DFB lasers

Developing nanoscale lasers with controlled direction of light emission for use in high density information processing.

Dr Sudha Mokkapati, Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Nanowire photodetectors – Small devices for the big world

Semiconductor nanowires are emerging nano-materials with substantial opportunities for novel photonic and electronic device applications. This project aims at developing a new generation of high performance NW based photodetectors for a wide range of applications.

A/Prof Lan Fu, Professor Hoe Tan

Tying optical knots

The project will investigate creating optical knots using machined diffractive optics. It offers opportunities to learn about techniques in optical measurement, analysis, and fabrication.

Mr Geoff Campbell, Dr Ben Buchler, Professor Ping Koy Lam

Visible wavelength nanowire lasers

Utilising nanowire geometry to create visible wavelength nanoscale lasers with reduced footprint, higher efficiency and lower operating powers.

Professor Chennupati Jagadish, Dr Sudha Mokkapati, Professor Hoe Tan

Physics Education

Physics education

Investigate how people learn physics. Develop simulation software for learning. Projects in physics education suit people with interests in: teaching, software development, statistical analysis, or psychology.

Professor Craig Savage

Physics of the Nucleus

Theory of nuclear fission

Heavy atomic nuclei may fission in lighter fragments, releasing a large amount of energy which is used in reactors. Advanced models of many-body quantum dynamics are developed and used to describe this process.

Dr Cédric Simenel

Quantum vibrations in atomic nuclei

Atomic nuclei exhibit collective vibrations with various shapes which obey quantum mechanics. The study of these vibrations is fundamental to understand quantum many-body dynamics. 
 

Dr Cédric Simenel

Dark matter search from nuclear recoil

An experiment aiming at detecting the recoil of nuclei interacting with the hypothetical Dark Matter surrounding the Earth will take place in a former gold mine in Stawel (Victoria). The project involves participating to various experimental aspects such as background characterisation. 

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Gregory Lane, Dr Cédric Simenel, Dr Anton Wallner

Quantum Devices and Technology

Tying optical knots

The project will investigate creating optical knots using machined diffractive optics. It offers opportunities to learn about techniques in optical measurement, analysis, and fabrication.

Mr Geoff Campbell, Dr Ben Buchler, Professor Ping Koy Lam

Quantum Science and Applications

Generation of random numbers from vacuum fluctuations

Aim to generate random numbers by performing a homodyne measurement of the quantum vacuum state.

Mr Syed Assad, Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Thomas Symul

Theory of nuclear fission

Heavy atomic nuclei may fission in lighter fragments, releasing a large amount of energy which is used in reactors. Advanced models of many-body quantum dynamics are developed and used to describe this process.

Dr Cédric Simenel

Quantum vibrations in atomic nuclei

Atomic nuclei exhibit collective vibrations with various shapes which obey quantum mechanics. The study of these vibrations is fundamental to understand quantum many-body dynamics. 
 

Dr Cédric Simenel

Topological and Structural Science

3D phantoms for X-ray micro-tomography

"Phantoms" are objects used for performance testing and/or calibration of 3D X-ray computed tomography (CT) systems. This project involves designing, 3D printing, and subsequently imaging phantoms at the micro-CT facility of the Applied Maths department.

Dr Andrew Kingston, Dr Glenn Myers, A/Prof Adrian Sheppard, Prof Timothy Senden

Motions of periodic frameworks

We will use linear algebra methods to characterise the allowed movements of periodic framework structures. 

Dr Vanessa Robins

Three-dimensional crystalline structures from two-dimensional hyperbolic tilings

A variety of projects are available that will contribute to the enumeration and characterisation of 3-periodic network structures via the tiling of periodic minimal surfaces and thereby enhance our understanding of self-assembled structures in nature.  

Dr Vanessa Robins, Professor Stephen Hyde

3D print pedagogical models of periodic minimal surfaces

Explore the geometry and symmetries of some periodic minimal surfaces and learn about their relevance in chemical and biological self assembly.  

Dr Vanessa Robins

Updated:  3 February 2015/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster