Potential PhD/Masters 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

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

Planetary atmospheres

Telescopic observations, analysis of spacecraft data, and numerical modeling of atmospheric chemsitry on Venus

Dr Stephen Gibson

Search for supernova-signatures on Earth

Detection of supernova‐produced (radio)nuclides in terrestrial archives gives insight into massive star nucleosynthesis; when and where are heavy elements formed. Direct observation of radioactive nuclides from stars and the interstellar medium would provide first experimental constraints on production rate.s We will use the most sensitive technique, accelerator mass spectrometry.

Dr Anton Wallner

The pair conversion decay of the Hoyle state

The triple–alpha reaction leading to the formation of stable carbon in the Universe is one of the most important nuclear astrophysical processes.  This project is aiming to improve our knowledge of the triple-alpha reaction rate from the direct observation of the electron-positron pair decays of the Hoyle state in 12C.

Dr Tibor Kibedi, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

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

Nucleosynthesis in the laboratory - how elements are formed in stars

A fundamental scientific question is a better understanding of the elemental abundances and the isotopic pattern of our solar system which is a fingerprint of stellar nucleosynthesis. We perform nucleosynthesis in the laboratory at the ANU via a new and powerful tool, accelerator mass spectrometry, to elucidate open questions in these processes.

Dr Anton Wallner

Atomic and Molecular Physics

Modelling free-ion hyperfine fields

Motivated by exciting prospects for measurements of the magnetism of rare isotopes produced by the new radioactive beam accelerators internationally, this computational project seeks to understand the enormous magnetic fields produced at the nucleus of highly charged ions by their atomic electron configuration.

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Tibor Kibedi

How does a quantum system reach equilibrium?

The idea of equilibration is ubiquitous throughout nature. Out-of-equilibrium dynamics – be it caused by a disturbance and subsequent “rethermalisation”, or by passing through a phase transition – is a difficult question to characterise. This project looks at both equilibration and phase transitions in a Bose-Einstein condensate of metastable helium atoms.

Assoc. Prof Andrew Truscott, Professor Kenneth Baldwin

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

Measuring free-ion hyperfine fields

This experimental project will characterize the hyperfine fields of ions emerging from target foils as highly charged ions. The data will test theoretical models we are developing, and underpin nuclear magnetism measurements on rare isotopes produced at international radioactive beam facilities such as GANIL (France), ISOLDE-CERN (Switzerland) and NSCL (USA).

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Dr Gregory Lane, Mr Timothy Gray

Planetary atmospheres

Telescopic observations, analysis of spacecraft data, and numerical modeling of atmospheric chemsitry on Venus

Dr Stephen Gibson

Optical quantum memory

An optical quantum memory will capture a pulse of light, store it and then controllably release it. This has to be done without ever knowing what you have stored, because a measurement will collapse the quantum state. We are exploring a "photon echo" process to achieve this goal.

Dr Ben Buchler

Fundamental tests of quantum mechanics with matter waves

We create the coldest stuff in the Universe – a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) – by laser-cooling helium atoms to within a millionth of a degree Kelvin. At these extremely low temperatures particles behave more like waves.  You will use the BEC to study fundamental quantum mechanics and for applications like atom interferometry.

Assoc. Prof Andrew Truscott, Professor Kenneth Baldwin

Atomic ionization in super-strong laser fields

Using methods of quantum many-body theory to describe elementary processes in atoms and molecules interacting with strong electromagnetic fields.

Professor Anatoli Kheifets, Dr Igor Ivanov

Attosecond time-resolved atomic reactions

We apply the most advanced quantum-mechanical modeling to resolve electron motion in atoms and molecules on the atto-second (one quintillionth of a second) time scale.  Our theoretical modeling, based on a rigorous, quantitative description of correlated electron dynamics, provides insight into new physics taking place on the atomic time scale.

Professor Anatoli Kheifets, Dr Igor Ivanov

Australia's climate: Aerosols, chemistry, precipitation, and clouds

Analysis of regional climate observations and model simulations.  Development of a local solar radiation and cloud measurement network. 

Dr Stephen Gibson

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

Benchmark positron scattering experiments

Using the atomic and molecular physics positron beam at the ANU, the student will undertake measurements of positron scattering from simple targets, providing high accuracy data to test recent theoretical calculations.

A/Prof. James Sullivan, Professor Stephen Buckman, Dr Joshua Machacek

The signature of large-amplitude vibrational motions encoded into small polyatomic molecular spectra

This project uses the Australian National University's world-leading state-of-the-art spectrometer to examine state-resolved chemistry, which has been a target of chemical physics for several decades.  It will verify the long suspected existence of large amplitude vibrational eigenstates organised along the isomerization path, that are the signatures of the "holy grail" of chemical dynamics. This provides for previously unimagined schemes for efficient, rationally designed external control of chemical reactions.

Dr Stephen Gibson

Fragmentation of molecules by positronium

Positronium is a bound state between an electron and a positron. It is hydrogen-like with a binding energy half that of hydrogen. Positronium has been found to scatter like an electron for the same velocity. Electrons can fragment molecules by temporary attaching leading to fragmentation. This project will explore the fragmentation of molecules in positronium scattering with molecules.

Dr Joshua Machacek, A/Prof. James Sullivan, Professor Stephen Buckman

Coherent control of quantum-mechanical systems

The project studies possibility of the coherent control (i.e. manipulating properties of a quantum system, such as charge density, levels populations, etc., using a suitably tailored laser pulse) for a quantum mechanical model of a molecule.

Professor Anatoli Kheifets

Biophysics

Protein structure: new topological methods

The notion of protein secondary and tertiary structure is a loose one, that deserves a deeper look. Some proteins are considered to be highly structured in their usual folded state, others lack well defined structures. We are interested in the basic question "what is structure in a folded protein chain"?

Professor Stephen Hyde

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.

A/Prof Adrian Sheppard, Dr Anna Herring, A/Prof Jodie Bradby

Photonic bandages

In collaboration with Dr. Steve Lee from CECS, this project uses low coherence interference signals in an optical coherence tomography system for 3D imaging of porous materials.  The aim is to implant these materials for in vivo monitoring of the healing process of a wound.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Roland Fleddermann

Origomu

The energy lansdscape of folded spheres, assuming elastic membranes and sticky inner surfaces, will be explored. 

Professor Stephen Hyde

Gas sensing of carbon dioxide

This project has a strong industrial link, and investigates using resonator optics to enhance the measurement sensitivity of the molecular absorption of light.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Timothy Lam, Mr Jarrod Dong

Bacteria turbulence: diffusion and self-organizaiton

Dense bacterial flows have been shown to exhibit properitse of self-organizaiton. This project is aimed at determining the underlying mechanism of the bacterial self-organizaiton by study the bacteria dispersion using PIV and PTV techniques. 

Dr Hua Xia, Dr Nicolas Francois, Professor Michael Shats, Dr Horst Punzmann

Improving Magnetic Resonance Imaging with metamaterials

This project aims to design composite structures, or metamaterials, that will enhance the performance of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Machines which are being used in the hospitals.

A/Prof Ilya Shadrivov, Professor Yuri Kivshar

Clean Energy

Solar energy forecasting

Measurement and simulation of spatial and temporal variations in surface solar radiation due to clouds and aerosols

Dr Stephen Gibson

Inclusion of toroidal flow into multiple relaxed region MHD

A new model, multiple relaxed region MHD, has been developed to describe magnetic islands and chaotic fields in toroidal magentic cofinement. This project would extend that model to include toroidal flow.

Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole, Dr Graham Dennis, Emeritus Professor Robert Dewar

Tearing modes in the multi-region relaxed MHD plasma model

The project is to relate the onset of tearing mode instability in MRXMHD to the multi-tearing Delta' formalism of Dewar and Pletzer (developed in an earlier ANU PhD project) and to use this to model recent experimental results in Reversed Field Pinches (RFPs), a class of toroidal fusion devices.

Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole, Dr Graham Dennis, Emeritus Professor Robert Dewar

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

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

Nonlinear evolution of energetic particle modes to saturated helical structure

At large amplitude these bursty energetic particle driven fishbones have been observed to evolve into long-lived "helical" structures in several tokamaks, notably the Mega Ampere Spherical Tokamak of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.  In this project we investigate the role of energetic particles during the transition from bursting fishbone to a long-living mode.

Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole, Dr Michael Fitzgerald

Orbit topologies and wave-particle resonance in fusion plasmas

In this project the wave-particle resonance condition will be computed for a range of precomputed particle orbits (and orbit populations), which initially were computed for transport studies. An estimate of wave-drive due to spatial gradients will be afforded using wave functions from an ideal MHD stability analysis and orbit population information, and compared to diagnostics.

Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole, Dr Michael Fitzgerald

Imaging fluid-fluid interfacial curvatures in porous media: relating physics and geometry

This computational and theoretical project will extract geometric information from sequences of newly obtained 3D x-ray microscope images to better understand how two immiscible fluids interact inside complex porous materials.

A/Prof Adrian Sheppard, Dr Anna Herring

Solar Hydrogen Generation from Rust using 3-D Nanostructured Photoelectrodes

There is an imminent need to reduce our dependence on carbon-based fuels in order to minimize the
potential adverse outcomes associated with climate change. This project aims to develop an efficient means of producing clean hydrogen fuel by splitting water under sunlight using novel hematite based semiconductor electrodes for efficient solar hydrogen generation.

Dr Siva Karuturi, Professor Hoe Tan

Bump-on-tail simulations of fast ions in tokamaks

This project will explore how fast-ion distributions evolve in the presence of a wave field via simulations of a one-dimensional “bump-on-tail” system, offering the possibility of efficiently computing the ion dynamics in real tokamaks.

Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole, Dr. Brett Layden

Engineering in Physics

Fibre optic sensing arrays

This project has a strong industry focus and investigates using an array of fibre optic interferometers for acoustic sensing.  It relies on the ultra-sensitivity of these devices and the array's ability to triangulate the source of an acoustic signal to target a range of applications.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Timothy Lam

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

An optical ruler across a fibre optic network

This project uses an optical frequency comb referenced to an atomic clock as an ultra-precise frequency standard and ruler for a range of applications, including gravitational wave detection, gravimetry and high resolution spectroscopy.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Bram Slagmolen, Dr Timothy Lam, Mr Jarrod Dong

Nuclear lifetimes - direct timing with LaBr3 detectors

The lifetimes of excited quantum states in the atomic nucleus give extremely important information about nuclear structure and the shape of the nucleus. This project will commission a new array of of LaBr3 detectors to measure nuclear lifetimes, with the aim to replace conventional analog electronics with digital signal processing.

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Gregory Lane, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Mr Aqeel Akber

3D image segmentation using machine learning techniques

We aim to use  machine learning techniques to identify minerals and components of three dimensional images obtained from X-ray micro Computed Tomography (XCT).

Dr Mohammad Saadatfar, Dr Shane Latham

Topological photonics

Topological photonics is a new rapidly developing area inspired by advanced concepts of solid state physics. A new class of photonic states of matter, such as photonic topological insulators, is emerging, and they will be used for emulating condensed matter systems in a simpleand controllable way. 

Dr Andrey Miroshnichenko

Environmental Physics

4D tomography - imaging materials in 3D as they change

The ANU has constructed an X-ray micro-computed tomography facility with a unique helical scanning configuration that enables tomographic images of extremely high quality to be produced.  This experimental project will work with theoreticians to image the evolution of time-changing samples with unprecented time resolution.

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

Solar energy forecasting

Measurement and simulation of spatial and temporal variations in surface solar radiation due to clouds and aerosols

Dr Stephen Gibson

Growing plants in space: manipulating medium wettability to create optimal saturation conditions

When two or more fluids flow simultaneously within a porous medium, the distribution of the fluids depends on the wettability of the solid grain surfaces. This project will investigate how we can use the wettability property of solid surfaces to create ideal saturation conditions for plants grown under microgravity conditions.

Dr Anna Herring, A/Prof Adrian Sheppard

Spectral energy transfer in turbulence

Laboratory measurement of turbulent flows and numberical analysis of the statistical properties of the flows

Dr Hua Xia

Effect of large coherent vortices on Lagrangian statistics in 2D turbulence

Laboratory experiments in turbulent flows and numberical analysis of the statistical properties of the flows

Dr Hua Xia

Nanobubbles

Nanobubbles are simply nanosized bubbles. What makes them interesting? Theory tells us they should dissolve in less than a second but they are stable for days. Additionally, they have lots of interesting properties being implicated in medical treatments and cleaning technologies.

Professor Vincent Craig

Australia's climate: Aerosols, chemistry, precipitation, and clouds

Analysis of regional climate observations and model simulations.  Development of a local solar radiation and cloud measurement network. 

Dr Stephen Gibson

Crucial fundamental nuclear data for nuclear fusion and nuclear fission

Nuclear data are urgently required in national security, non-proliferation, nuclear criticality safety, medical applications, fundamental science and for the design of advanced reactor concepts (fusion, e.g. ITER), or next generation nuclear power plants (Gen IV, accelerator driven systems, ...).

Dr Anton Wallner

Turbulent structures in the planetary boundary layer

Understanding the atmospheric boundary layer through reconstruction and analysis of wind profiler measurements and laboratory experiments.

Dr Hua Xia

Surface forces and the behaviour of colloidal systems

We measure the basic forces that operate between molecules that are manifest at interfaces. These forces control the stability of colloidal systems from blood to toothpaste. We use very sensitive techniques that are able to measure tiny forces with sub nanometer distance resolution. Understanding these forces enables us to predict how a huge variety of colloidal systems will behave.

Professor Vincent Craig

Fusion and Plasma Confinement

Inclusion of toroidal flow into multiple relaxed region MHD

A new model, multiple relaxed region MHD, has been developed to describe magnetic islands and chaotic fields in toroidal magentic cofinement. This project would extend that model to include toroidal flow.

Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole, Dr Graham Dennis, Emeritus Professor Robert Dewar

Tearing modes in the multi-region relaxed MHD plasma model

The project is to relate the onset of tearing mode instability in MRXMHD to the multi-tearing Delta' formalism of Dewar and Pletzer (developed in an earlier ANU PhD project) and to use this to model recent experimental results in Reversed Field Pinches (RFPs), a class of toroidal fusion devices.

Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole, Dr Graham Dennis, Emeritus Professor Robert Dewar

Thermonuclear ringtones in tokamak plasmas

Key to sustaining fusion plasmas is that they are MHD stable to disruptive mode activity, and other electromagnetic modes do not result in catastrophic performance degradation. The project involves exploiting a generalised MHD code to describe high frequency Compressional Alfven eigenmode activity in high plasma performance international experiments.

Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole, Dr Michael Fitzgerald, Emeritus Professor Robert Dewar

Plasma-material interactions under exreme fusion-relevant conditions

This research aims to resolve scientific issues surrounding plasma-material interactions to guide and facilitate development of future advanced materials for fusion reactors.

Dr Cormac Corr

Diagnosing plasma-surface interactions under fusion-relevant conditions

This project involves studying the complex plasma-surface interaction region of a fusion-relevant plasma environment through laser-based and spectroscopic techniques.

Dr Cormac Corr

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

Nonlinear evolution of energetic particle modes to saturated helical structure

At large amplitude these bursty energetic particle driven fishbones have been observed to evolve into long-lived "helical" structures in several tokamaks, notably the Mega Ampere Spherical Tokamak of the Culham Centre for Fusion Energy.  In this project we investigate the role of energetic particles during the transition from bursting fishbone to a long-living mode.

Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole, Dr Michael Fitzgerald

Orbit topologies and wave-particle resonance in fusion plasmas

In this project the wave-particle resonance condition will be computed for a range of precomputed particle orbits (and orbit populations), which initially were computed for transport studies. An estimate of wave-drive due to spatial gradients will be afforded using wave functions from an ideal MHD stability analysis and orbit population information, and compared to diagnostics.

Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole, Dr Michael Fitzgerald

Bump-on-tail simulations of fast ions in tokamaks

This project will explore how fast-ion distributions evolve in the presence of a wave field via simulations of a one-dimensional “bump-on-tail” system, offering the possibility of efficiently computing the ion dynamics in real tokamaks.

Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole, Dr. Brett Layden

Shocks transitions in nonuniform magnetic fields

Recent development of a flowing MHD model for the rotating, collisional column of MAGPIE plasmas discovered the intriguing prediction of opposite axial acceleration of the plasma ions in the subsonic and supersonic regimes. This project would examine the regime above, below, and through the shock.

Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole, Dr Cormac Corr

Materials Science and Engineering

Understanding carrier transport and doping in semiconductor nanowires through characterization

This project will concentrate on developing metal contacts on nanowires for Hall measurements which will provide quantitative determination of the doping concentration and carrier mobilities in the nanowires, which is crucial to optimize performance of nanowire optoelectronic devices.

Dr Shagufta Naureen, Dr Naeem Shahid, Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

Intelligent 3D X-ray imaging, for improved analysis of complex 3D images.

This project will develop new methods for "intelligent" processing of 3D X-ray data (i.e. methods which use a priori information). These new methods will double as a non-traditional approach to automated image analysis; the project will compare this new approach with more traditional methods.

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

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

Solar cells without p-n junctions

Simplify nanowire solar cell fabrication by eliminating the need for p-n junctions to increase the ultimate device efficiency.

Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC, Dr Kaushal Vora

UV nano-LEDs

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

Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC, Professor Hoe Tan

Nanoporous antimonides

Investigate the fascinating porous structures of ion irradiated GaSb and InSb

A/Prof Patrick Kluth, Dr Christian Notthoff

Functional Nanopore Membranes

Development of novel composite nanopore membranes.

A/Prof Patrick Kluth

Exciton polaritons in 2D atomically thin materials

This experimental project will focus on nvestigation of strong light-matter coupling and exciton polaritons in novel atomically thin materials.

A/Prof Elena Ostrovskaya, Assoc. Prof Andrew Truscott

Plasma-material interactions under exreme fusion-relevant conditions

This research aims to resolve scientific issues surrounding plasma-material interactions to guide and facilitate development of future advanced materials for fusion reactors.

Dr Cormac Corr

Force networks in granular materials: imaging, pattern recognition and data mining

This project employs an integrated experimental and analytical approach to interrogate granular materials (e.g., soil, sand and sedimentary rocks, powder, colloidal systems, coal, snow etc.).  The experimental part, undertaken at ANU, involves the accurate experimental measurement and 3D visualisation of contact forces at the contacts between particles. The analytical part, undertaken at UoM, focuses on “mining” hidden patterns in the experimental data, using new tools from mathematics and statistics of complex systems.

Dr Mohammad Saadatfar

Electromagnetic metamaterials

Metamaterials are complex structures whose electromagnetic parameters can be engineered. We have several theoretical and experimental projects aiming to design artificial materials that exhibit properties not found in nature.

A/Prof Ilya Shadrivov, Dr David Powell, Dr Mingkai Liu

Diagnosing plasma-surface interactions under fusion-relevant conditions

This project involves studying the complex plasma-surface interaction region of a fusion-relevant plasma environment through laser-based and spectroscopic techniques.

Dr Cormac Corr

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

Synthesis of semiconductor nanowires for novel device applications

Using bottom-up approaches to grow semiconductor nanowires for future optoelectronic and biophotonic devices

Professor Hoe Tan, Dr Philippe Caroff

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

Knots, links and tangled nets

Exploration of simpler entangled structures in 3-space is surpisingly undeveloped. Here we plan to catalogue simpler knots, links and tangled nets via two-dimensional geometry. 

Professor Stephen Hyde

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

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

Soft Condensed Matter: Molecules made by Threading

Of great recent interest is the subject of rotaxanes.  Rotaxanes are molecules  where one or more ring
components is threaded onto an axle that is capped on both ends with stoppers to prevent the rings from
falling o ff. These systems exhibit complex and fascinating physics.

Professor David Williams

Mastering control over structure, composition and homogeneity in ternary nanowire growth

Uniform composition and tunability over the emission wavelength of ternary nanowires is an important challenge for nanowire growth. Growth of nanowires combined with a range of characterisation techniques including electron microscopy will be used for this project. PhD studentships currently available. 

A/Prof Jennifer Wong-Leung, Professor Hoe Tan

Granular materials: understanding their geometry and physics

What is a granular material from geometry and physics perspective? We'll try to understand the fundementals of granular materials in this project.

Dr Mohammad Saadatfar, Dr Nicolas Francois, Dr Vanessa Robins, Prof Timothy Senden

Improving the properties of Nanowires through surface passivation

Due to the large surface area to volume ratio in nanowires, surface defects could be detrimental for performance of nanowire optoelectronic devices. This project aims to develope effective passivation methods to reduce the surface recombination rate by passivating the surface states of nanowires.

Dr Shagufta Naureen, Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

Improving Magnetic Resonance Imaging with metamaterials

This project aims to design composite structures, or metamaterials, that will enhance the performance of the Magnetic Resonance Imaging Machines which are being used in the hospitals.

A/Prof Ilya Shadrivov, Professor Yuri Kivshar

Metamaterials for Terahertz wave manipulation

Terahertz frequency range is the least explored part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and we work towards using it in a range of breakthrough imaghing, security and communication applications. We offer a range of Honours, Masters and PhD projects, which include theoretical, numerical and experimental work with terahertz metamaterials.

A/Prof Ilya Shadrivov, Dr Mingkai Liu, Dr David Powell

Ultra-short laser induced micro-explosion: A new route to synthesise novel high-pressure phases

This project aims to synthesise novel metastable material phases by ultrafast laser-induced microexplosion confined within a material’s bulk.

Professor Andrei Rode, Associate Professor Eugene Gamaly

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.
 

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

Monte-Carlo simulation of x-ray scattering from nano-objects

Develop and utilise computer simulations to analyse synchrotron based scattering from nano-sized objects.

A/Prof Patrick Kluth

Quantum microscopes for revolutionary interdisciplinary science

This project aims to invent and apply quantum microscopes to solve major problems across science.

Dr Marcus Doherty

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

Nanobubbles

Nanobubbles are simply nanosized bubbles. What makes them interesting? Theory tells us they should dissolve in less than a second but they are stable for days. Additionally, they have lots of interesting properties being implicated in medical treatments and cleaning technologies.

Professor Vincent Craig

Solar cells without p-n junctions

Simplify nanowire solar cell fabrication by eliminating the need for p-n junctions to increase the ultimate device efficiency.

Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC, Dr Kaushal Vora

UV nano-LEDs

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

Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC, Professor Hoe Tan

Topological photonics for electromagnetic metadevices

This project will address significant problems of feasibility and tunability of novel photonic metadevices aiming to open novel possibilities for a control of light flows topologically protected against scattering losses, energy leaking, or imperfections. 

Professor Yuri Kivshar, Dr Sergey Kruk

Nanoporous antimonides

Investigate the fascinating porous structures of ion irradiated GaSb and InSb

A/Prof Patrick Kluth, Dr Christian Notthoff

Functional Nanopore Membranes

Development of novel composite nanopore membranes.

A/Prof Patrick Kluth

Electromagnetic metamaterials

Metamaterials are complex structures whose electromagnetic parameters can be engineered. We have several theoretical and experimental projects aiming to design artificial materials that exhibit properties not found in nature.

A/Prof Ilya Shadrivov, Dr David Powell, Dr Mingkai Liu

Electromagnetic Bound States in the Continuum

By borrowing a concept of Bound States in the Continuum from quantum mechanics we can create extremely high quality optical resonators that are highly sought after in many applications.

A/Prof Ilya Shadrivov, Professor Yuri Kivshar

Nanowire DFB lasers

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

Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

Synthesis of semiconductor nanowires for novel device applications

Using bottom-up approaches to grow semiconductor nanowires for future optoelectronic and biophotonic devices

Professor Hoe Tan, Dr Philippe Caroff

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

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

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 AC, Dr Sudha Mokkapati, Professor Hoe Tan

Mastering control over structure, composition and homogeneity in ternary nanowire growth

Uniform composition and tunability over the emission wavelength of ternary nanowires is an important challenge for nanowire growth. Growth of nanowires combined with a range of characterisation techniques including electron microscopy will be used for this project. PhD studentships currently available. 

A/Prof Jennifer Wong-Leung, Professor Hoe Tan

Nanophotonics, metasurfaces, and meta-optics with dielectric nanoparticles

This project will address the recently emerged new platform for nanophotonics based on high-index dielectric nanoparticles that opened a whole new realm of all-dielectric resonant nanophotonics and meta-optics. High-permittivity nanoparticles exhibit strong interaction with light due to the excitation of electric and magnetic Mie-type resonances.

Professor Yuri Kivshar, Dr Sergey Kruk

Optical metamaterials: from Harry Potter to modern technologies

Experimental and theoretical work on the development of novel nano-structured materials with unusual optical properties. Special attention to our research is the development of tunable and functional photonic metamaterials with unusual properties. Of particular interest are the development of ultra-thin metasurfaces with high sensitivity to light intensity.

Prof Dragomir Neshev, Dr Andrey Miroshnichenko

Solar Hydrogen Generation from Rust using 3-D Nanostructured Photoelectrodes

There is an imminent need to reduce our dependence on carbon-based fuels in order to minimize the
potential adverse outcomes associated with climate change. This project aims to develop an efficient means of producing clean hydrogen fuel by splitting water under sunlight using novel hematite based semiconductor electrodes for efficient solar hydrogen generation.

Dr Siva Karuturi, Professor Hoe Tan

Surface forces and the behaviour of colloidal systems

We measure the basic forces that operate between molecules that are manifest at interfaces. These forces control the stability of colloidal systems from blood to toothpaste. We use very sensitive techniques that are able to measure tiny forces with sub nanometer distance resolution. Understanding these forces enables us to predict how a huge variety of colloidal systems will behave.

Professor Vincent Craig

Photonics, Lasers and Nonlinear Optics

Development of Squeezed Laser Sources for Quantum Communication

Student will build and characterise a new source of quantum squeezed light genearted from an optical parametric oscillator

Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Ben Buchler

Developing a planar waveguide photonic quantum processor

This project aims to develop a photonic quantum processor based on a planar waveguide architecture incorporating rare-earth doped crystals.

Associate Professor Matthew Sellars, Associate Professor Stephen Madden

Optical nanoantennas

Antennas are at the heart of modern radio and microwave frequency communications technologies. They are the front-ends in satellites, cell-phones, laptops and other devices that make communication by sending and receiving radio waves. This project aims to design analog of optical nanoantennas for visible light for advanced optical communiction. 

Prof Dragomir Neshev, Dr Andrey Miroshnichenko

Whispering Gallery Mode Resonators for Ultra-Sensitive Magnetometry

This projects aims to construct an ultra-sensitive magnetic field sensor from a whispering gallery mode crystal resonator.

Professor Ping Koy Lam

Developing a quantum memory for the 1550 nm optical communication band

In this project you will develop a quantum memory for storing light at 1550 nm using erbium doped crystals.

Associate Professor Matthew Sellars, Dr Kate Ferguson

Parity-time symmetry in classical and quantum nonlinear optics

This project goal is to investigate, theoretically and experimentally, the role of symmetry in space and time in classical and quantum nonlinear photonics. Specific aims include the development of optical signal amplifiers, switches, lasers, and quantum photon sources.

A/Prof Andrey A. Sukhorukov, Dr Alexander Solntsev, Professor Yuri Kivshar

High storage capacity quantum memories

This project aims to develop high capacity quantum memories for light by using novel rare earth crystals.

Dr Rose Ahlefeldt, Associate Professor Matthew Sellars

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, Mr Lyle Roberts

Machine learning for optics and controls

Optical cavities are widely used in physics and precision measurement.  This project will explore the use of modern machine learning methods for the control of optical cavities.  

Dr Robert Ward, Dr Paul Altin, Professor Daniel Shaddock

Photonic bandages

In collaboration with Dr. Steve Lee from CECS, this project uses low coherence interference signals in an optical coherence tomography system for 3D imaging of porous materials.  The aim is to implant these materials for in vivo monitoring of the healing process of a wound.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Roland Fleddermann

Probabilistic quantum cloning with noiseless linear amplifier

Student will use electro-optic feedforward techniques to implement noiseless linear amplification of information carrying laser light

Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Thomas Symul

Non-equilibrium quantum condensation of microcavity exciton polaritons

This project combines theoretical and experimental research on exciton polaritons in semiconductor microcavities. We investigate emergent quantum phenomena far from equilibrium and their applications for next-generation optoelectronics devices.

A/Prof Elena Ostrovskaya, Assoc. Prof Andrew Truscott

Second Harmonic Generation for Quantum Optics Applications

Student will develop a source of laser light at 775nm that will be utilised for pumping of squeezing cavities  

Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Ben Buchler

Electromagnetic Bound States in the Continuum

By borrowing a concept of Bound States in the Continuum from quantum mechanics we can create extremely high quality optical resonators that are highly sought after in many applications.

A/Prof Ilya Shadrivov, Professor Yuri Kivshar

Fibre optic sensing arrays

This project has a strong industry focus and investigates using an array of fibre optic interferometers for acoustic sensing.  It relies on the ultra-sensitivity of these devices and the array's ability to triangulate the source of an acoustic signal to target a range of applications.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Timothy Lam

Ultrafast optical micro-domain structuring for advanced nonlinear photonic devices

This project aims to develop a breakthrough all-optical approach to create micro-domain patterns in nonlinear optical media using tightly focused femtosecond pulses. It will lead to the first flexible all-optically formed quasi-phase matched structures, enabling access to a broad range of applications for exceptional control over both photons and phonons.

Dr Yan Sheng

Localised formations in open systems

Dissipative solitons are generated due to the balance between gain and loss of energy as well as to the balance between input and output of matter. Their existence requires continuous supply of energy and matter that is available in open systems. The model explains variety of phanomena in biology and physics.

Professor Nail Akhmediev, Dr Adrian Ankiewicz, Dr Natasha Devine, Dr. Wonkeun Chang

Nanowire DFB lasers

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

Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

Storing quantum entangled states of light

In this project you will demonstrate the storage of quantum entangled states of light using quantum memories based on rare-earth doped crystals.

Associate Professor Matthew Sellars, Dr Rose Ahlefeldt, Dr Kate Ferguson

Gas sensing of carbon dioxide

This project has a strong industrial link, and investigates using resonator optics to enhance the measurement sensitivity of the molecular absorption of light.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Timothy Lam, Mr Jarrod Dong

An optical ruler across a fibre optic network

This project uses an optical frequency comb referenced to an atomic clock as an ultra-precise frequency standard and ruler for a range of applications, including gravitational wave detection, gravimetry and high resolution spectroscopy.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Bram Slagmolen, Dr Timothy Lam, Mr Jarrod Dong

Integrated quantum photonics

The goal of the project is to understand new physical phenomena arising from quantum and nonlinear optical integration. In the future this research may open doors to new types of computers and simulators with information capacity exceeding the number of elementary particles in the entire universe.

A/Prof Andrey A. Sukhorukov, Prof Dragomir Neshev, Dr Alexander Solntsev

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 squeezed states for interferometric gravitational-wave detectors

Using non-classical light states on laser interferometric gravitational-wave detectors, to further enhance the best length measurement devices in the world.

Professor David McClelland, Professor Daniel Shaddock, Dr Bram Slagmolen

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 AC, Dr Sudha Mokkapati, Professor Hoe Tan

Nanophotonics, metasurfaces, and meta-optics with dielectric nanoparticles

This project will address the recently emerged new platform for nanophotonics based on high-index dielectric nanoparticles that opened a whole new realm of all-dielectric resonant nanophotonics and meta-optics. High-permittivity nanoparticles exhibit strong interaction with light due to the excitation of electric and magnetic Mie-type resonances.

Professor Yuri Kivshar, Dr Sergey Kruk

Optical metamaterials: from Harry Potter to modern technologies

Experimental and theoretical work on the development of novel nano-structured materials with unusual optical properties. Special attention to our research is the development of tunable and functional photonic metamaterials with unusual properties. Of particular interest are the development of ultra-thin metasurfaces with high sensitivity to light intensity.

Prof Dragomir Neshev, Dr Andrey Miroshnichenko

Extreme events in nature and in a laboratory

The concept of rogue waves was born in nautical mythology, entered the science of ocean waves and gradually moved into other fields: optics, matter waves, superfluidity. This project will allow students to enter the front edge of modern science.

Professor Nail Akhmediev, Dr Adrian Ankiewicz, Dr. Wonkeun Chang, Dr Natasha Devine

Improving the properties of Nanowires through surface passivation

Due to the large surface area to volume ratio in nanowires, surface defects could be detrimental for performance of nanowire optoelectronic devices. This project aims to develope effective passivation methods to reduce the surface recombination rate by passivating the surface states of nanowires.

Dr Shagufta Naureen, Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

Metamaterials for Terahertz wave manipulation

Terahertz frequency range is the least explored part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and we work towards using it in a range of breakthrough imaghing, security and communication applications. We offer a range of Honours, Masters and PhD projects, which include theoretical, numerical and experimental work with terahertz metamaterials.

A/Prof Ilya Shadrivov, Dr Mingkai Liu, Dr David Powell

Ultra-short laser induced micro-explosion: A new route to synthesise novel high-pressure phases

This project aims to synthesise novel metastable material phases by ultrafast laser-induced microexplosion confined within a material’s bulk.

Professor Andrei Rode, Associate Professor Eugene Gamaly

Topological photonics

Topological photonics is a new rapidly developing area inspired by advanced concepts of solid state physics. A new class of photonic states of matter, such as photonic topological insulators, is emerging, and they will be used for emulating condensed matter systems in a simpleand controllable way. 

Dr Andrey Miroshnichenko

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 Fluids

Growing plants in space: manipulating medium wettability to create optimal saturation conditions

When two or more fluids flow simultaneously within a porous medium, the distribution of the fluids depends on the wettability of the solid grain surfaces. This project will investigate how we can use the wettability property of solid surfaces to create ideal saturation conditions for plants grown under microgravity conditions.

Dr Anna Herring, A/Prof Adrian Sheppard

Spectral energy transfer in turbulence

Laboratory measurement of turbulent flows and numberical analysis of the statistical properties of the flows

Dr Hua Xia

Effect of large coherent vortices on Lagrangian statistics in 2D turbulence

Laboratory experiments in turbulent flows and numberical analysis of the statistical properties of the flows

Dr Hua Xia

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.

A/Prof Adrian Sheppard, Dr Anna Herring, A/Prof Jodie Bradby

Bacteria turbulence: diffusion and self-organizaiton

Dense bacterial flows have been shown to exhibit properitse of self-organizaiton. This project is aimed at determining the underlying mechanism of the bacterial self-organizaiton by study the bacteria dispersion using PIV and PTV techniques. 

Dr Hua Xia, Dr Nicolas Francois, Professor Michael Shats, Dr Horst Punzmann

Imaging fluid-fluid interfacial curvatures in porous media: relating physics and geometry

This computational and theoretical project will extract geometric information from sequences of newly obtained 3D x-ray microscope images to better understand how two immiscible fluids interact inside complex porous materials.

A/Prof Adrian Sheppard, Dr Anna Herring

Turbulent structures in the planetary boundary layer

Understanding the atmospheric boundary layer through reconstruction and analysis of wind profiler measurements and laboratory experiments.

Dr Hua Xia

Physics of the Nucleus

High precision electron spectroscopy of electric monopole transitions

The project is aiming to develop a high resolution conversion electron spectrometer to study electric monopole transitions in atomic nuclei. 

Mr Jackson Dowie, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

Modelling free-ion hyperfine fields

Motivated by exciting prospects for measurements of the magnetism of rare isotopes produced by the new radioactive beam accelerators internationally, this computational project seeks to understand the enormous magnetic fields produced at the nucleus of highly charged ions by their atomic electron configuration.

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Tibor Kibedi

Quantum tunnelling and energy dissipation in nuclear collisions

This research project, with both experimental and theoretical angles, is developing a new perspective on the transition from a quantum superposition to effectively irreversible outcomes in quantum collisions.

Dr Cédric Simenel, Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, Dr Edward Simpson, Professor David Hinde

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

Transferring quantum particles

When two composite objects (molecules, atoms, atomic nuclei...) collide, they may transfer particles. Understanding how this transfer occurs in quantum mechanics is an important challenge in quantum physics. 

Dr Cédric Simenel, Dr Edward Simpson

Nuclear lifetimes - Doppler broadened line shape method

The measurement of the lifetimes of excited nuclear states is foundational for understanding nuclear excitations. This project will solve a current puzzle in nuclear lifetime measurements based on the Doppler-broadened line shape method and also develop a generalized analysis program for such measurements.

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Dr Gregory Lane, Mr Ben Coombes

Measuring free-ion hyperfine fields

This experimental project will characterize the hyperfine fields of ions emerging from target foils as highly charged ions. The data will test theoretical models we are developing, and underpin nuclear magnetism measurements on rare isotopes produced at international radioactive beam facilities such as GANIL (France), ISOLDE-CERN (Switzerland) and NSCL (USA).

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Dr Gregory Lane, Mr Timothy Gray

Search for supernova-signatures on Earth

Detection of supernova‐produced (radio)nuclides in terrestrial archives gives insight into massive star nucleosynthesis; when and where are heavy elements formed. Direct observation of radioactive nuclides from stars and the interstellar medium would provide first experimental constraints on production rate.s We will use the most sensitive technique, accelerator mass spectrometry.

Dr Anton Wallner

The pair conversion decay of the Hoyle state

The triple–alpha reaction leading to the formation of stable carbon in the Universe is one of the most important nuclear astrophysical processes.  This project is aiming to improve our knowledge of the triple-alpha reaction rate from the direct observation of the electron-positron pair decays of the Hoyle state in 12C.

Dr Tibor Kibedi, Professor Andrew Stuchbery

Sub-zeptosecond processes in reactions of stable and radioactive weakly-bound nuclei

This project uses novel techniques to investigate reactions of light weakly-bound nuclei, both stable and exotic, which challenge our understanding of nuclear reaction dynamics.

Dr Kaitlin Cook, Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, Professor David Hinde

Nuclear magnetism - magnetic moment measurements

A novel technique devised at ANU has recently given a breakthrough in the precision with which the magnetic moments of picosecond-lived excited states in sd-shell nuclei (i.e. isotopes of oxygen through to calcium) may be measured. A sequence of precise measurements will be performed to comprehensively test the shell model.

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Dr Gregory Lane, Mr Brendan McCormick

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

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

Nuclear fusion and sub-zeptosecond breakup reactions

Fusion probabilities at high energies are significantly smaller than theoretical predicted, in part due to disintegration of the projectile nucleus into lighter nuclei (breakup) on timescales faster than 10-21 s. This project will help us understand these fast, complex breakup processes and their influence on fusion.

Dr Edward Simpson, Professor Mahananda Dasgupta

Nucleosynthesis in the laboratory - how elements are formed in stars

A fundamental scientific question is a better understanding of the elemental abundances and the isotopic pattern of our solar system which is a fingerprint of stellar nucleosynthesis. We perform nucleosynthesis in the laboratory at the ANU via a new and powerful tool, accelerator mass spectrometry, to elucidate open questions in these processes.

Dr Anton Wallner

Crucial fundamental nuclear data for nuclear fusion and nuclear fission

Nuclear data are urgently required in national security, non-proliferation, nuclear criticality safety, medical applications, fundamental science and for the design of advanced reactor concepts (fusion, e.g. ITER), or next generation nuclear power plants (Gen IV, accelerator driven systems, ...).

Dr Anton Wallner

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 Kaushik Banerjee, Dr Cédric Simenel

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

Nuclear lifetimes - direct timing with LaBr3 detectors

The lifetimes of excited quantum states in the atomic nucleus give extremely important information about nuclear structure and the shape of the nucleus. This project will commission a new array of of LaBr3 detectors to measure nuclear lifetimes, with the aim to replace conventional analog electronics with digital signal processing.

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Gregory Lane, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Mr Aqeel Akber

Plasma Applications and Technology

Physics of pulsed negative ion plasmas

This project is concerned with studying pulsed electronegative plasmas which can open new frontiers for both basic and applied studies. 

Dr Cormac Corr

Shocks transitions in nonuniform magnetic fields

Recent development of a flowing MHD model for the rotating, collisional column of MAGPIE plasmas discovered the intriguing prediction of opposite axial acceleration of the plasma ions in the subsonic and supersonic regimes. This project would examine the regime above, below, and through the shock.

Assoc. Prof. Matthew Hole, Dr Cormac Corr

Quantum Devices and Technology

Development of Squeezed Laser Sources for Quantum Communication

Student will build and characterise a new source of quantum squeezed light genearted from an optical parametric oscillator

Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Ben Buchler

Dual torsion pendulum for quantum noise limited sensing

Construct a small dual tosion pendulum which have their centre of mass co-incide and their rotational axis colinear. Inital diagnostics will be done using shadow sensors.

Dr Bram Slagmolen, Professor David McClelland, Dr Robert Ward

Understanding carrier transport and doping in semiconductor nanowires through characterization

This project will concentrate on developing metal contacts on nanowires for Hall measurements which will provide quantitative determination of the doping concentration and carrier mobilities in the nanowires, which is crucial to optimize performance of nanowire optoelectronic devices.

Dr Shagufta Naureen, Dr Naeem Shahid, Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

Quantum microscopes for revolutionary interdisciplinary science

This project aims to invent and apply quantum microscopes to solve major problems across science.

Dr Marcus Doherty

Laser levitation of a macroscopic mirror

This project aims to be the first in the world to use the radiation pressure forces of laser beams to coherently levitate a macroscopic mirror. Applications of this scheme include precision metrology and test of new physics theories.

Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Ben Buchler

Developing a planar waveguide photonic quantum processor

This project aims to develop a photonic quantum processor based on a planar waveguide architecture incorporating rare-earth doped crystals.

Associate Professor Matthew Sellars, Associate Professor Stephen Madden

Whispering Gallery Mode Resonators for Ultra-Sensitive Magnetometry

This projects aims to construct an ultra-sensitive magnetic field sensor from a whispering gallery mode crystal resonator.

Professor Ping Koy Lam

Developing a quantum memory for the 1550 nm optical communication band

In this project you will develop a quantum memory for storing light at 1550 nm using erbium doped crystals.

Associate Professor Matthew Sellars, Dr Kate Ferguson

Diamond quantum computing and communications

This project aims to engineer diamond quantum computers and communication networks.

Dr Marcus Doherty

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

High storage capacity quantum memories

This project aims to develop high capacity quantum memories for light by using novel rare earth crystals.

Dr Rose Ahlefeldt, Associate Professor Matthew Sellars

Optical quantum memory

An optical quantum memory will capture a pulse of light, store it and then controllably release it. This has to be done without ever knowing what you have stored, because a measurement will collapse the quantum state. We are exploring a "photon echo" process to achieve this goal.

Dr Ben Buchler

Probabilistic quantum cloning with noiseless linear amplifier

Student will use electro-optic feedforward techniques to implement noiseless linear amplification of information carrying laser light

Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Thomas Symul

Discovering quantum defects in diamond and related materials

This project aims to discover and study defects in diamond and related materials that are suitable for quantum technology.

Dr Marcus Doherty, Professor Neil Manson

Second Harmonic Generation for Quantum Optics Applications

Student will develop a source of laser light at 775nm that will be utilised for pumping of squeezing cavities  

Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Ben Buchler

Storing quantum entangled states of light

In this project you will demonstrate the storage of quantum entangled states of light using quantum memories based on rare-earth doped crystals.

Associate Professor Matthew Sellars, Dr Rose Ahlefeldt, Dr Kate Ferguson

Source-independent quantum random number generator

We aim to generate random numbers by performing orthogonal quadrature homodyne measurements without actually knowing or trusting the quantum state that we are measuring.

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

Quantum Science and Applications

Quantum tunnelling and energy dissipation in nuclear collisions

This research project, with both experimental and theoretical angles, is developing a new perspective on the transition from a quantum superposition to effectively irreversible outcomes in quantum collisions.

Dr Cédric Simenel, Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, Dr Edward Simpson, Professor David Hinde

Dual torsion pendulum for quantum noise limited sensing

Construct a small dual tosion pendulum which have their centre of mass co-incide and their rotational axis colinear. Inital diagnostics will be done using shadow sensors.

Dr Bram Slagmolen, Professor David McClelland, Dr Robert Ward

Two-parameter estimation with Gaussian state probes

How well we can estimate the position and momentum of a Gaussian probe?

Dr Syed Assad, Mr Mark Bradshaw

How does a quantum system reach equilibrium?

The idea of equilibration is ubiquitous throughout nature. Out-of-equilibrium dynamics – be it caused by a disturbance and subsequent “rethermalisation”, or by passing through a phase transition – is a difficult question to characterise. This project looks at both equilibration and phase transitions in a Bose-Einstein condensate of metastable helium atoms.

Assoc. Prof Andrew Truscott, Professor Kenneth Baldwin

Laser levitation of a macroscopic mirror

This project aims to be the first in the world to use the radiation pressure forces of laser beams to coherently levitate a macroscopic mirror. Applications of this scheme include precision metrology and test of new physics theories.

Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Ben Buchler

Diamond quantum computing and communications

This project aims to engineer diamond quantum computers and communication networks.

Dr Marcus Doherty

Exciton polaritons in 2D atomically thin materials

This experimental project will focus on nvestigation of strong light-matter coupling and exciton polaritons in novel atomically thin materials.

A/Prof Elena Ostrovskaya, Assoc. Prof Andrew Truscott

Parity-time symmetry in classical and quantum nonlinear optics

This project goal is to investigate, theoretically and experimentally, the role of symmetry in space and time in classical and quantum nonlinear photonics. Specific aims include the development of optical signal amplifiers, switches, lasers, and quantum photon sources.

A/Prof Andrey A. Sukhorukov, Dr Alexander Solntsev, Professor Yuri Kivshar

Fundamental tests of quantum mechanics with matter waves

We create the coldest stuff in the Universe – a Bose-Einstein condensate (BEC) – by laser-cooling helium atoms to within a millionth of a degree Kelvin. At these extremely low temperatures particles behave more like waves.  You will use the BEC to study fundamental quantum mechanics and for applications like atom interferometry.

Assoc. Prof Andrew Truscott, Professor Kenneth Baldwin

Discovering quantum defects in diamond and related materials

This project aims to discover and study defects in diamond and related materials that are suitable for quantum technology.

Dr Marcus Doherty, Professor Neil Manson

Sub-zeptosecond processes in reactions of stable and radioactive weakly-bound nuclei

This project uses novel techniques to investigate reactions of light weakly-bound nuclei, both stable and exotic, which challenge our understanding of nuclear reaction dynamics.

Dr Kaitlin Cook, Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, Professor David Hinde

Non-equilibrium quantum condensation of microcavity exciton polaritons

This project combines theoretical and experimental research on exciton polaritons in semiconductor microcavities. We investigate emergent quantum phenomena far from equilibrium and their applications for next-generation optoelectronics devices.

A/Prof Elena Ostrovskaya, Assoc. Prof Andrew Truscott

Source-independent quantum random number generator

We aim to generate random numbers by performing orthogonal quadrature homodyne measurements without actually knowing or trusting the quantum state that we are measuring.

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

Integrated quantum photonics

The goal of the project is to understand new physical phenomena arising from quantum and nonlinear optical integration. In the future this research may open doors to new types of computers and simulators with information capacity exceeding the number of elementary particles in the entire universe.

A/Prof Andrey A. Sukhorukov, Prof Dragomir Neshev, Dr Alexander Solntsev

Coherent feedback control in quantum systems

This project aims at analysing and designing coherent quantum feedback schemes to control the quantum state of circuit quantum electrodynamics and optomechanical systems.

Dr Andre Carvalho

Fundamental physics

Fundamental quantum and gravitational physics are being addressed both theoretically and experimentally at ANU. Two questions are: is gravity classical, and what is the correct description of quantum measurement.

Professor Craig Savage

Quantum squeezed states for interferometric gravitational-wave detectors

Using non-classical light states on laser interferometric gravitational-wave detectors, to further enhance the best length measurement devices in the world.

Professor David McClelland, Professor Daniel Shaddock, Dr Bram Slagmolen

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

Experimental quantum simulation with ultracold metastable Helium atoms in an optical lattice

This project will construct a 3D optical lattice apparatus for ultracold metastable Helium atoms, which will form an experimental quantum-simulator to investigate quantum many-body physics. A range of experiments will be performed such as studying higher order quantum correlations across the superfluid to Mott insulator phase transition.

Dr Sean Hodgman, Assoc. Prof Andrew Truscott

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

Theoretical Physics

Intelligent 3D X-ray imaging, for improved analysis of complex 3D images.

This project will develop new methods for "intelligent" processing of 3D X-ray data (i.e. methods which use a priori information). These new methods will double as a non-traditional approach to automated image analysis; the project will compare this new approach with more traditional methods.

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

Transferring quantum particles

When two composite objects (molecules, atoms, atomic nuclei...) collide, they may transfer particles. Understanding how this transfer occurs in quantum mechanics is an important challenge in quantum physics. 

Dr Cédric Simenel, Dr Edward Simpson

Optical nanoantennas

Antennas are at the heart of modern radio and microwave frequency communications technologies. They are the front-ends in satellites, cell-phones, laptops and other devices that make communication by sending and receiving radio waves. This project aims to design analog of optical nanoantennas for visible light for advanced optical communiction. 

Prof Dragomir Neshev, Dr Andrey Miroshnichenko

New connections between classical and quantum field theories

The standard correspondence principle implies that quantum theory reduces to classical theory in the limit of the vanishing Planck constant. This project is devoted to a new type connection between quantum and classical systems which holds for arbitrary finite values of the Planch constant.

Professor Vladimir Bazhanov

Combinatorics and integrable systems

We will study links between integrable systems in statistical mechanics, combinatorial problems and special functions in mathematics. This area of research has attracted many scientist's attention during the last decade and revealed unexpected links to other areas of mathematics like enumeration problems and differential equations.

Dr Vladimir Mangazeev, Professor Vladimir Bazhanov

Atomic ionization in super-strong laser fields

Using methods of quantum many-body theory to describe elementary processes in atoms and molecules interacting with strong electromagnetic fields.

Professor Anatoli Kheifets, Dr Igor Ivanov

Variational approach to many-body problems

In recent years there was a large boost in development of advanced variational methods which play an important role in analytic and numerical studies of  1D and 2D quantum spin systems. Such methods are based on the ideas coming from the renormalization group theory which states that  physical properties of  spin systems become scale invariant near criticality. One of the most powerful variational algorithms is the corner-transfer matrices (CTM) method which allows to predict properties of large systems based on a simple iterative algorithm.

Dr Vladimir Mangazeev

Attosecond time-resolved atomic reactions

We apply the most advanced quantum-mechanical modeling to resolve electron motion in atoms and molecules on the atto-second (one quintillionth of a second) time scale.  Our theoretical modeling, based on a rigorous, quantitative description of correlated electron dynamics, provides insight into new physics taking place on the atomic time scale.

Professor Anatoli Kheifets, Dr Igor Ivanov

String theory and integrable systems

This project aims to develop and employ the full power of the theory of integrable quantum systems to new models of quantum many-body spin systems in string theory.

Professor Vladimir Bazhanov

Nuclear magnetism - magnetic moment measurements

A novel technique devised at ANU has recently given a breakthrough in the precision with which the magnetic moments of picosecond-lived excited states in sd-shell nuclei (i.e. isotopes of oxygen through to calcium) may be measured. A sequence of precise measurements will be performed to comprehensively test the shell model.

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Dr Tibor Kibedi, Dr Gregory Lane, Mr Brendan McCormick

Exact Bohr-Sommerfeld quantisation and Conformal Field Theory

It is well known that the quasiclassical quantisation of the harmonic oscillator leads to its exact quantum mechanical spectrum. Remarkably, this result can be generalized to various anharmonic systems via mysterious connections to Conformal Field Theory.

Professor Vladimir Bazhanov

Localised formations in open systems

Dissipative solitons are generated due to the balance between gain and loss of energy as well as to the balance between input and output of matter. Their existence requires continuous supply of energy and matter that is available in open systems. The model explains variety of phanomena in biology and physics.

Professor Nail Akhmediev, Dr Adrian Ankiewicz, Dr Natasha Devine, Dr. Wonkeun Chang

Nuclear fusion and sub-zeptosecond breakup reactions

Fusion probabilities at high energies are significantly smaller than theoretical predicted, in part due to disintegration of the projectile nucleus into lighter nuclei (breakup) on timescales faster than 10-21 s. This project will help us understand these fast, complex breakup processes and their influence on fusion.

Dr Edward Simpson, Professor Mahananda Dasgupta

Fundamental physics

Fundamental quantum and gravitational physics are being addressed both theoretically and experimentally at ANU. Two questions are: is gravity classical, and what is the correct description of quantum measurement.

Professor Craig Savage

Stochastic dynamics of interacting systems and integrability

There are many interesting physical statistical systems which never reach thermal equilibrium. Examples include surface growth, diffusion processes or traffic flow. In the absence of general theory of such systems a study of particular models plays a very important role. Integrable systems provide examples of such systems where one can analyze time dynamics using analytic methods.

Dr Vladimir Mangazeev

Soft Condensed Matter: Molecules made by Threading

Of great recent interest is the subject of rotaxanes.  Rotaxanes are molecules  where one or more ring
components is threaded onto an axle that is capped on both ends with stoppers to prevent the rings from
falling o ff. These systems exhibit complex and fascinating physics.

Professor David Williams

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

Extreme events in nature and in a laboratory

The concept of rogue waves was born in nautical mythology, entered the science of ocean waves and gradually moved into other fields: optics, matter waves, superfluidity. This project will allow students to enter the front edge of modern science.

Professor Nail Akhmediev, Dr Adrian Ankiewicz, Dr. Wonkeun Chang, Dr Natasha Devine

Mathematical Aspects of Conformal Field Theory

Conformal Field Theory (CFT) in two-dimensions describes physics of the second order transitions in statistical mechanics and also plays important role in string theory, which is expected to unify the theory of strong interaction with quantum gravity. The project aims to explore and further develop mathematical techniques of CFT.  

Professor Vladimir Bazhanov, Dr Vladimir Mangazeev

High energy scattering in gauge and string theories

It appears that the scattering amplitudes in Quantum Chromodynamics (theory of strong interactions) can be exactly calculated in certain limiting cases (e.g. in the so-called multi-Redge kinematics). This is possible due to remarkable connections of this problem to the theory of integrable systems based on the Yang-Baxter equation. 

Professor Vladimir Bazhanov

Topological Crystallography: Graphs and surfaces with symmetry

What are the underlying geometric and topological properties of periodic structures that guarantee large and stable porosity in nano-porous crystalline materials required for gas storage and efficient catalysis?

Dr Vanessa Robins, Professor Stephen Hyde, Dr Olaf Delgado Friedrich

Coherent control of quantum-mechanical systems

The project studies possibility of the coherent control (i.e. manipulating properties of a quantum system, such as charge density, levels populations, etc., using a suitably tailored laser pulse) for a quantum mechanical model of a molecule.

Professor Anatoli Kheifets

Topological and Structural Science

4D tomography - imaging materials in 3D as they change

The ANU has constructed an X-ray micro-computed tomography facility with a unique helical scanning configuration that enables tomographic images of extremely high quality to be produced.  This experimental project will work with theoreticians to image the evolution of time-changing samples with unprecented time resolution.

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

Protein structure: new topological methods

The notion of protein secondary and tertiary structure is a loose one, that deserves a deeper look. Some proteins are considered to be highly structured in their usual folded state, others lack well defined structures. We are interested in the basic question "what is structure in a folded protein chain"?

Professor Stephen Hyde

Monte-Carlo simulation of x-ray scattering from nano-objects

Develop and utilise computer simulations to analyse synchrotron based scattering from nano-sized objects.

A/Prof Patrick Kluth

Topological photonics for electromagnetic metadevices

This project will address significant problems of feasibility and tunability of novel photonic metadevices aiming to open novel possibilities for a control of light flows topologically protected against scattering losses, energy leaking, or imperfections. 

Professor Yuri Kivshar, Dr Sergey Kruk

Force networks in granular materials: imaging, pattern recognition and data mining

This project employs an integrated experimental and analytical approach to interrogate granular materials (e.g., soil, sand and sedimentary rocks, powder, colloidal systems, coal, snow etc.).  The experimental part, undertaken at ANU, involves the accurate experimental measurement and 3D visualisation of contact forces at the contacts between particles. The analytical part, undertaken at UoM, focuses on “mining” hidden patterns in the experimental data, using new tools from mathematics and statistics of complex systems.

Dr Mohammad Saadatfar

Origomu

The energy lansdscape of folded spheres, assuming elastic membranes and sticky inner surfaces, will be explored. 

Professor Stephen Hyde

Knots, links and tangled nets

Exploration of simpler entangled structures in 3-space is surpisingly undeveloped. Here we plan to catalogue simpler knots, links and tangled nets via two-dimensional geometry. 

Professor Stephen Hyde

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

Granular materials: understanding their geometry and physics

What is a granular material from geometry and physics perspective? We'll try to understand the fundementals of granular materials in this project.

Dr Mohammad Saadatfar, Dr Nicolas Francois, Dr Vanessa Robins, Prof Timothy Senden

Topological Crystallography: Graphs and surfaces with symmetry

What are the underlying geometric and topological properties of periodic structures that guarantee large and stable porosity in nano-porous crystalline materials required for gas storage and efficient catalysis?

Dr Vanessa Robins, Professor Stephen Hyde, Dr Olaf Delgado Friedrich

3D image segmentation using machine learning techniques

We aim to use  machine learning techniques to identify minerals and components of three dimensional images obtained from X-ray micro Computed Tomography (XCT).

Dr Mohammad Saadatfar, Dr Shane Latham

Updated:  28 June 2017/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster