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
Research projects of interest may also be found in the ANU College of Engineering & Computer Science

Atomic and Molecular Physics

Electron scattering from surfaces at high energies

The projects aim 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

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

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

Engineering in Physics

Breakdown voltage of dielectrics

Capacitors in semiconductor circuits are made by bringing two metal electrode around an insulator later and by when increasing the applied voltage on such capacitor till breakdown the breakdown voltage is determined as a function on insulator thickness.

Dr Fouad Karouta

3D printing precision measurement technology

The aim of this experimental project is to design, produce and test 3D printed optics mounts for use in precision measurments.

Professor John Close, Dr Nicholas Robins, Mr Kyle Hardman, Dr John Debs

Synthesis of semiconductor nanowires for quantum optics, optoelectronics, and energy applications

This project investigates the controlled synthesis and fundamental growth mechanism of semiconductor 1D, 0D nanostructures, in particular of nanowires, and the structure-property relationships of these functional nanomaterials.

Dr Qiang (Michael) Gao, Dr Philippe Caroff

Mems gyroscopes, laser ring gyros and atom interferometers: A comparison

In this project, we will experimentally compare three different technologies for measuring rotation and other accelerations.

Professor John Close, Dr Nicholas Robins, Mr Shayne Bennetts, Dr John Debs

Group III-nitride semiconductors for solar cells, UV LEDs and water splitting.

Three separate projects that investigate the use of (i) InGaN for solar cells due to its bandgap that covers the solar spectrum, (ii) AlGaN for UV-LEDs due to its large bandgap and (iii) GaN/InGaN to split water molecules into hydrogen for the provision of sustainable energy

Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Oxide semiconductors for electronic and optoelectronic applications

This project aims to understand the fundamental physical properties occuring at oxide semiconductor heterointerfaces so that these interfaces can be engineered to provive new functionalities for advanced all-oxide electronic and optolectronic devices.

Dr Jiandong Ye, A/Prof Jennifer Wong-Leung

Bonded InP-based membranes on Si

The project targets the fabrication of photonic devices bonded onto Si adding new functionalities that Si cannot meet like efficient detectors and lasers.

Dr Fouad Karouta

Designing the perfect drum stick

The aim of this project is to measure and numerically model the dynamics of a drumstick as it falls and rebounds from a drum head and to record and analyse the frequency of the spectrum of the sound produced for different stick designs. Our aim is to develop "the perfect drumstick."

Professor John Close, Dr John Debs, Dr Nicholas Robins, Mr Gordon McDonald

Materials Science and Engineering

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

Breakdown voltage of dielectrics

Capacitors in semiconductor circuits are made by bringing two metal electrode around an insulator later and by when increasing the applied voltage on such capacitor till breakdown the breakdown voltage is determined as a function on insulator thickness.

Dr Fouad Karouta

3D printing precision measurement technology

The aim of this experimental project is to design, produce and test 3D printed optics mounts for use in precision measurments.

Professor John Close, Dr Nicholas Robins, Mr Kyle Hardman, Dr John Debs

Synthesis of semiconductor nanowires for quantum optics, optoelectronics, and energy applications

This project investigates the controlled synthesis and fundamental growth mechanism of semiconductor 1D, 0D nanostructures, in particular of nanowires, and the structure-property relationships of these functional nanomaterials.

Dr Qiang (Michael) Gao, Dr Philippe Caroff

Can we make silicon a more efficient light absorber and emitter?

This project aims to dramatically improve silicon as a light absorber and efficient emitter by creating defect or impurity levels in the Si band gap that directly enhance optical transitions.  Two approaches involve introducing into the silicon lattice: i) controlled defects, and ii) very large amounts of ‘soluble’ gold.

Emeritus Professor Jim Williams

Electron scattering from surfaces at high energies

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

Dr Maarten Vos

Group III-nitride semiconductors for solar cells, UV LEDs and water splitting.

Three separate projects that investigate the use of (i) InGaN for solar cells due to its bandgap that covers the solar spectrum, (ii) AlGaN for UV-LEDs due to its large bandgap and (iii) GaN/InGaN to split water molecules into hydrogen for the provision of sustainable energy

Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Novel nanowire optoelectronic devices

This project aims to develop new generation of optoelectronic devices, such as lasers, photodetectors and solar cells based on semiconductor nanowires.

A/Prof Lan Fu, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Dry etching of III-V semiconductors

Plasma etching of III-V compound semiconductors will be investigated as a function of gas chemistry, sample temperature and process pressure and optimised in terms of etch smoothness and low plasma damages.

Dr Fouad Karouta

The unusual material properties of amorphous germanium: can we understand them and exploit them for new and exciting applications?

This project has two aims: i) to map out the unusual properties of amorphous Ge and to plan experiments to aid in understanding them, and ii) to exploit any attractive properties in novel applications in the fields of electronics or photonics.

Emeritus Professor Jim Williams, A/Prof Jodie Bradby

Oxide semiconductors for electronic and optoelectronic applications

This project aims to understand the fundamental physical properties occuring at oxide semiconductor heterointerfaces so that these interfaces can be engineered to provive new functionalities for advanced all-oxide electronic and optolectronic devices.

Dr Jiandong Ye, A/Prof Jennifer Wong-Leung

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

Advanced characterisation techniques for semiconductor nanostructures

Advance characterisation of semiconductor nanostructures is required to gain a further understanding of their properties. This project involves the use of advanced electron microscopy and other electrical techniques to further improve our knowledge of these materials.

A/Prof Jennifer Wong-Leung, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Plasmonics and metamaterials for next generation optoelectronic devices

This project involves the integration of plasmonic cavities with high gain III-V semiconductor nanowires to realize nanolasers for the next generation high density photonic chips.

Dr Sudha Mokkapati, Professor Hoe Tan

The unusual material properties of amorphous germanium: can we understand them and exploit them for new and exciting applications?

This project has two aims: i) to map out the unusual properties of amorphous Ge and to plan experiments to aid in understanding them, and ii) to exploit any attractive properties in novel applications in the fields of electronics or photonics.

Emeritus Professor Jim Williams, A/Prof Jodie Bradby

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

Advanced characterisation techniques for semiconductor nanostructures

Advance characterisation of semiconductor nanostructures is required to gain a further understanding of their properties. This project involves the use of advanced electron microscopy and other electrical techniques to further improve our knowledge of these materials.

A/Prof Jennifer Wong-Leung, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Photonics, Lasers and Nonlinear Optics

Plasmonics and metamaterials for next generation optoelectronic devices

This project involves the integration of plasmonic cavities with high gain III-V semiconductor nanowires to realize nanolasers for the next generation high density photonic chips.

Dr Sudha Mokkapati, Professor Hoe Tan

Can we make silicon a more efficient light absorber and emitter?

This project aims to dramatically improve silicon as a light absorber and efficient emitter by creating defect or impurity levels in the Si band gap that directly enhance optical transitions.  Two approaches involve introducing into the silicon lattice: i) controlled defects, and ii) very large amounts of ‘soluble’ gold.

Emeritus Professor Jim Williams

Novel nanowire optoelectronic devices

This project aims to develop new generation of optoelectronic devices, such as lasers, photodetectors and solar cells based on semiconductor nanowires.

A/Prof Lan Fu, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Bonded InP-based membranes on Si

The project targets the fabrication of photonic devices bonded onto Si adding new functionalities that Si cannot meet like efficient detectors and lasers.

Dr Fouad Karouta

Physics Education

Physics education

Investigate how people learn physics. Projects in physics education suit people with an interest in teaching, statistical analysis, or psychology.

Professor Craig Savage

Physics of the Nucleus

How to create new super-heavy elements

Superheavy elements can only be created in the laboratory by the fusion of two massive nuclei. Our measurements give the clearest information on the characteristics and timescales of quasifission, the major competitor to fusion in these reactions.

Professor David Hinde, Dr Elizabeth Williams, 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

Plasma Applications and Technology

Dry etching of III-V semiconductors

Plasma etching of III-V compound semiconductors will be investigated as a function of gas chemistry, sample temperature and process pressure and optimised in terms of etch smoothness and low plasma damages.

Dr Fouad Karouta

Quantum Science and Applications

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

Theoretical Physics

How to create new super-heavy elements

Superheavy elements can only be created in the laboratory by the fusion of two massive nuclei. Our measurements give the clearest information on the characteristics and timescales of quasifission, the major competitor to fusion in these reactions.

Professor David Hinde, Dr Elizabeth Williams, Dr Cédric Simenel

The fifth rainbow

The fifth rainbow is due to five internal reflections within raindrops. It has never been observed in nature. This project will investigate whether it might be imaged.

Professor Craig Savage

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

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

Updated:  12 November 2013/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster