Dr Nicholas Robins

Dr Nicholas Robins
Senior Fellow
Department of Quantum Science
Physics Education Centre
Office phone
Physics 1 07


I see myself as equal parts researcher, teacher and technologist. I am inspired by an enormous range of material, from the fascinating physics of ultra-cold atoms to the bubble blowing habits of shrimp.  I grew up in Canberra, surrounded by scientists and nature, and after a bit of a detour, completed my BSc(Hon) in 2000 and PhD in 2004 at ANU.

I was very fortunate to win an Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship in 2004 which allowed me to continue my study of the atomlaser (the matter-wave equivalent of the optical laser). In 2008 my team and I published the capstone of that work in Nature Physics - the first continuously pumped atom laser.  In 2010 I won a 5 year QEII Fellowship to extend my studies of matterwaves into applications in precision measurement.  This path of study has led to a diversification of my research into two streams : the fundamental physics of ultracold atoms, and the application of macroscopic quantum objects in precision measurement.      

As a teacher, I aim to maximise student engagement to achieve improved learning outcomes. I have applied this philosophy across the first, third and honours years, and won a number of teaching awards and accolades for my contributions.

My current research is aimed at producing a high flux continuously atom laser, building precision sensors based on atom interferometry with Bose-Einstein condensates, and undertaking experiments utilising Bose-Einstein condensates with tuneable interactions. 



Grants and awards


2017  Senior Fellow, Higher Education Academy

2015 OLT Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning
For inspiring and innovative teaching practices in first year, incorporating elements of studio teaching, inquiry-based learning, and modern technology that motivate and inspire student learning.

2010-2014 Australian Research Council Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship
Advanced atomic sources for precision measurement

2014 Vice-Chancellor's Citation for Outstanding Contribution to Student Learning

For radically innovative teaching practices in first year, incorporating elements of studio teaching, inquiry-based learning, and modern technology that motivate and inspire student learning.

2013 Joint Colleges of Science Award for Teaching Excellence
For pioneering a new approach to teaching physics in first year

2009 State Winner (NSW, ACT), Tall Poppy Science Awards

2004-2008 Australian Research Council Postdoctoral Fellowship
The first pumped atom laser

Publication highlights

Simultaneous Precision Gravimetry and Magnetic Gradiometry with a Bose-Einstein Condensate: A High Precision Quantum Sensor, K. S. Hardman, P. J. Everitt, G. D. McDonald, P. Manju, P. B. Wigley, M. A. Sooriyaban- dara, C. C. N. Kuhn, J. E. Debs, J. D. Close, and N. P. Robins,Phys. Rev. Lett. 117, 138501 (2016).

A Bright Solitonic Matter-Wave Interferometer, G.D. McDonald, C.C.N. Kuhn, K.S. Hardman, S. Bennetts, P.J. Everitt, P.A. Altin, J.E. Debs, J.D. Close, N.P. Robins, Phys. Rev. Lett. 113, 013002 (2014).

Precision atomic gravimeter based on Bragg diffraction, A. Altin, M. T. Johnsson, V. Negnevitsky, G. R. Dennis, R. P. Anderson, J. E. Debs, S. S. Szigeti, K. S. Hardman, S. Bennetts, G. D. McDonald, L. D. Turner, J. D. Close, N. P. Robins, New J. Phys. 15 023009 (2013).

Atom lasers: production, properties and prospects for precision inertial measurement, N.P. Robins, P.A. Altin, J.E. Debs, J.D. Close, Physics Reports 529, 265 (2013).

Cold-atom gravimetry with a Bose-Einstein condensate, J.E. Debs, P.A. Altin, T.H. Barter, D. Doering, G.R. Dennis, G.D. McDonald, J.D. Close, and N.P. Robins, Phys. Rev. A 84, 033610 (2011).

A pumped atom laser, N.P. Robins, C. Figl, M. Jeppesen, G.R. Dennis, J.D. Close, Nature Physics 4, 731 (2008). 

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