Available student project - Mid Infrared Astrophotonics for Protoplanet Exploration

Research fields

  • Astrophysics
  • Photonics, Lasers and Nonlinear Optics

Project details

The exact nature of the planetary formation process is still a scientific conundrum, and untangling this is difficult without direct observational evidence. However given that planets form in dust clouds and close to bright stars, observations are very difficult. The dust clouds can be penetrated and contrast maximised by going into the mid-infrared (MIR) region, and by using nulling interferometry, the central star can be cancelled from view leaving the protoplanet visible. However the interferometry requires an extremely stable self aligned platform that is only really feasible in an integrated optics implementation, and has never been demonstrated in the MIR. The Laser Physics Centre are world leaders in low loss MIR waveguide technology and this project would focus on the design, fabrication, and testing of suitable interferometric nullers in the 3-4.5um spectral region.

This is a collaborative project with the University of Sydney and the Anglo-Australian Observatory, and is part of the CUDOS centre of excellence. Through these collaborations, access to the Subaru Telescope on Mauna Kea in Hawaii is possible to take the first actual MIR images if the project reaches a successful conclusion.

Project suitability

This research project can be tailored to suit students of the following type(s)
  • Honours project
  • Phd or Masters

Contact supervisor

Madden, Stephen profile
Senior Fellow

Other supervisor(s)

Choi, Duk-Yong profile
ARC Future Fellow
Vu, Khu profile
Postdoctoral Fellow
Luther-Davies, Barry profile

Updated:  31 July 2013/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster