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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Astrophysics

SABRE: Experimental Dark Matter Physics

This project will perform key experimental measurements for the SABRE dark matter particle detector and analyse the results.

Dr Lindsey Bignell, Dr Gregory Lane, Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Cédric Simenel

Underground Background Measurements for SABRE; Australia's First Dark Matter Detector

This experiment will measure key backgrounds at the SABRE site and investigate implications for the dark matter search.

Dr Lindsey Bignell, Dr Gregory Lane, Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Anton Wallner

Modeling the SABRE Dark Matter Detector

This project will develop key aspects of the SABRE dark matter detector model, and investigate the detector's sensitivity to dark matter and backgrounds.

Dr Lindsey Bignell, Dr Gregory Lane, Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Cédric Simenel

Positrons and Dust Grains

Positron emitters are embedded in clouds of dust grains produced by supernova. This project will explore the transport of positrons in dust grains using Monte-Carlo techniques to improve our understanding of positron transport in an astrophysically relevant setting.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Dr Daniel Murtagh

Atomic and Molecular Physics

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. 

A/Prof Maarten Vos

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.

A/Prof Maarten Vos, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

The inverse swarm problem with neural networks

The traditional approach transport simulation is to measure cross sections and feed them into a code package. However, some cross sections are very difficult to both measure and calculate. The "inverse swarm problem" seeks to extract these cross sections from transport measruements such as current profiles or annihilation rates.

Dr Daniel Cocks, A/Prof. James Sullivan, Dr Joshua Machacek

Positrons in plasma

Characterising plasmas is difficult. This project will explore the possibilty of probing a plasma using positrons by building a model and simulating a positron beam incident on a low-temperature plasma.

Dr Daniel Cocks, Dr Cormac Corr, Dr Joshua Machacek

Positrons and Dust Grains

Positron emitters are embedded in clouds of dust grains produced by supernova. This project will explore the transport of positrons in dust grains using Monte-Carlo techniques to improve our understanding of positron transport in an astrophysically relevant setting.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Dr Daniel Murtagh

Biophysics

Radiobiology at the Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility

This project aims to develop biophysics and radiobiological applications of beams from the Heavy Ion Accelerator Facility with a view to advancing the medical applications of nuclear technology.

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Greg Tredwell, Dr Edward Simpson, Dr Tibor Kibedi

Using 3D microscopy to understand drought tolerance in plants

Plants have an amazing ability to control water transport through their stems and leaves, with some species able to keep functioning in very hostile conditions. This project will use 3D X-ray microscopy to explore the physical changes in plant cells as a result of water stress.

Prof Adrian Sheppard, Dr Anna Herring, Prof Jodie Bradby

Clean Energy

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 Ziyuan Li, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

Engineering in Physics

Developing a digital data acquisition system for SABRE; Australia's First Dark Matter Detector

This experiment will bring online key experimental hardware for the SABRE dark matter experiment.

Dr Lindsey Bignell, Dr Gregory Lane, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

Generation of random numbers from vacuum fluctuations

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

Dr Syed Assad, Professor Ping Koy Lam, Mr Jing-Yan Haw

Wave dispersion in stringed instruments: What makes tuning a piano so hard?

Ideal strings have wave speeds that are identical for all frequencies.  In real life, strings have some stiffness that makes higher frequency waves are faster.  This means building and tuning some stringed instruments, like pianos, is very tricky. This project aims to accurately measure wave speeds on piano strings.

Dr Ben Buchler

Fusion and Plasma Confinement

Turbulence and Particle transport in linear and toroidal magnetic geometries

Turbulence is known to affect the plasma in toroidal magnetic confinement devices for fusion, and linear magnetic devices. This project involves the use of langmuir probes on both the H-1 and MAGPIE devices for evaluating the total and fluctuation-induced particle flux and address fundamental physics of turbulence in these devices.

Dr Clive Michael, Dr Boyd Blackwell

Nano-bubble formation in fusion relevant materials

Fusion energy promises millions of years of clean energy, but puts extreme stress on materials. This research will resolve scientific issues surrounding plasma-material interactions to guide and facilitate development of future advanced materials for fusion reactors.

Dr Cormac Corr, A/Prof Patrick Kluth, Mr Matt Thompson

Materials Science and Engineering

Investigating extreme environments using diamond anvil cells

High pressure diamond anvil cells often use a gas or salt solids a form of pressure medium. However, the effect of being squeezed with such materials is unknown for many systems including the novel forms of amorphous silicon, germanium and carbon studied by this ANU-based group.

Prof Jodie Bradby

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. 

A/Prof Maarten Vos

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

Nano-bubble formation in fusion relevant materials

Fusion energy promises millions of years of clean energy, but puts extreme stress on materials. This research will resolve scientific issues surrounding plasma-material interactions to guide and facilitate development of future advanced materials for fusion reactors.

Dr Cormac Corr, A/Prof Patrick Kluth, Mr Matt Thompson

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, Prof Adrian Sheppard, Prof Timothy Senden

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

Wave dispersion in stringed instruments: What makes tuning a piano so hard?

Ideal strings have wave speeds that are identical for all frequencies.  In real life, strings have some stiffness that makes higher frequency waves are faster.  This means building and tuning some stringed instruments, like pianos, is very tricky. This project aims to accurately measure wave speeds on piano strings.

Dr Ben Buchler

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

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 Ziyuan Li, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

Micro-ring lasers for integrated silicon photonics

The project aims to investigate compound semiconductor micro-ring lasers on silicon substrates using selective area growth to engineer the shape of the lasing cavity at the nano/micro-scale. This project will open up new doors to the industry since an integrated laser which is reliable, efficient and easily manufacturable is still elusive in Si photonics.

Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

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, Dr Ziyuan Li, Professor Hoe Tan

Quantum-well nanowire light emitting devices

In this project we aim to design and demonstrate  III-V compound semiconductor based quantum well nanowire light emitting devices with wavelength ranging from 1.3 to 1.6 μm for optical communication applications.

A/Prof Lan Fu, Dr Ziyuan Li, Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

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

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.

A/Prof Maarten Vos, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

Ultra-compact nanowire lasers for application in nanophotonics

This project aims to investigate the concepts and strategies required to produce electrically injected semiconductor nanowire lasers by understanding light interaction in nanowires, designing appropriate structures to inject current, engineer the optical profile and developing nano-fabrication technologies. Electrically operated nanowire lasers would enable practical applications in nanophotonics.

Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC, Professor Hoe Tan

Photonics, Lasers and Nonlinear Optics

Micro-ring lasers for integrated silicon photonics

The project aims to investigate compound semiconductor micro-ring lasers on silicon substrates using selective area growth to engineer the shape of the lasing cavity at the nano/micro-scale. This project will open up new doors to the industry since an integrated laser which is reliable, efficient and easily manufacturable is still elusive in Si photonics.

Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

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, Dr Ziyuan Li, Professor Hoe Tan

Quantum-well nanowire light emitting devices

In this project we aim to design and demonstrate  III-V compound semiconductor based quantum well nanowire light emitting devices with wavelength ranging from 1.3 to 1.6 μm for optical communication applications.

A/Prof Lan Fu, Dr Ziyuan Li, Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

Bayesian estimation of min-entropy

In order to build a random number generator, we need to estimate the amount of randomness it has. Our aim to estimate the min-entropy of a finite sample of data using the Bayesian and Frequencist estimators.

Dr Syed Assad, Professor Ping Koy Lam

Coherently combined laser systems for space technologies and free space optical communications

Recent advances in laser technology now enable the combination of multiple high-quality lasers into a single high-power beam. The aim of this project is to investigate such `coherently-combined' laser systems within the context of Earth-to-Space laser transmission. Applications of this technology include satellite laser ranging, clock transfer and free-space optical communications, and space debris tracking and remote manouevring.

Dr Robert Ward, Professor Daniel Shaddock, Dr Lyle Roberts

Ultra-compact nanowire lasers for application in nanophotonics

This project aims to investigate the concepts and strategies required to produce electrically injected semiconductor nanowire lasers by understanding light interaction in nanowires, designing appropriate structures to inject current, engineer the optical profile and developing nano-fabrication technologies. Electrically operated nanowire lasers would enable practical applications in nanophotonics.

Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC, Professor Hoe Tan

Physics of Fluids

Using 3D microscopy to understand drought tolerance in plants

Plants have an amazing ability to control water transport through their stems and leaves, with some species able to keep functioning in very hostile conditions. This project will use 3D X-ray microscopy to explore the physical changes in plant cells as a result of water stress.

Prof Adrian Sheppard, Dr Anna Herring, Prof Jodie Bradby

Physics of the Nucleus

SABRE: Experimental Dark Matter Physics

This project will perform key experimental measurements for the SABRE dark matter particle detector and analyse the results.

Dr Lindsey Bignell, Dr Gregory Lane, Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Cédric Simenel

Developing a digital data acquisition system for SABRE; Australia's First Dark Matter Detector

This experiment will bring online key experimental hardware for the SABRE dark matter experiment.

Dr Lindsey Bignell, Dr Gregory Lane, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

Underground Background Measurements for SABRE; Australia's First Dark Matter Detector

This experiment will measure key backgrounds at the SABRE site and investigate implications for the dark matter search.

Dr Lindsey Bignell, Dr Gregory Lane, Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Anton Wallner

Modeling the SABRE Dark Matter Detector

This project will develop key aspects of the SABRE dark matter detector model, and investigate the detector's sensitivity to dark matter and backgrounds.

Dr Lindsey Bignell, Dr Gregory Lane, Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Cédric Simenel

Computing nuclei: numerical solution of the Schrödinger equation

Analytic solutions of real-world quantum mechanics problems are rare, and in practise we must use numerical methods to obtain solutions. This project will give you practical experience in solving the static and time-dependent Schrödinger equations using a computer.

Dr Edward Simpson, Dr Cédric Simenel

Spectroscopy of radioactive fission fragments

Investigate the properties of radioactive nuclei using spectroscopic techniques. 

Dr AJ Mitchell, Dr Gregory Lane, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

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

Plasma Applications and Technology

Turbulence and Particle transport in linear and toroidal magnetic geometries

Turbulence is known to affect the plasma in toroidal magnetic confinement devices for fusion, and linear magnetic devices. This project involves the use of langmuir probes on both the H-1 and MAGPIE devices for evaluating the total and fluctuation-induced particle flux and address fundamental physics of turbulence in these devices.

Dr Clive Michael, Dr Boyd Blackwell

Positrons in plasma

Characterising plasmas is difficult. This project will explore the possibilty of probing a plasma using positrons by building a model and simulating a positron beam incident on a low-temperature plasma.

Dr Daniel Cocks, Dr Cormac Corr, Dr Joshua Machacek

Quantum Devices and Technology

Beam matching using machine learning

This project aims to use a machine learning algorithm to perform beam alignment in an optics experiment. It would involve mode-matching two optical beams using motorised mirror mounts. Additional degrees of freedom like lens positions and beam polarisation can be added later.

Dr Syed Assad, Mr Aaron Tranter, Mr Harry Slatyer

Quantum Science and Applications

Bayesian estimation of min-entropy

In order to build a random number generator, we need to estimate the amount of randomness it has. Our aim to estimate the min-entropy of a finite sample of data using the Bayesian and Frequencist estimators.

Dr Syed Assad, Professor Ping Koy Lam

Computing nuclei: numerical solution of the Schrödinger equation

Analytic solutions of real-world quantum mechanics problems are rare, and in practise we must use numerical methods to obtain solutions. This project will give you practical experience in solving the static and time-dependent Schrödinger equations using a computer.

Dr Edward Simpson, Dr Cédric Simenel

Generation of random numbers from vacuum fluctuations

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

Dr Syed Assad, Professor Ping Koy Lam, Mr Jing-Yan Haw

Quantum tunnelling in many-body systems

Quantum tunnelling is a fundamental process in physics. How this process occurs with composite (many-body) systems, and in particular how it relates to decoherence and dissipation, are still open questions.

Dr Cédric Simenel, Dr Edward Simpson

Theoretical Physics

Quantum tunnelling in many-body systems

Quantum tunnelling is a fundamental process in physics. How this process occurs with composite (many-body) systems, and in particular how it relates to decoherence and dissipation, are still open questions.

Dr Cédric Simenel, Dr Edward Simpson

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

Topological and Structural Science

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

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, Prof Adrian Sheppard, Prof Timothy Senden

Updated:  17 August 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster