Centre for Gravitational Physics

Gravitational waves, predicted by Einstein’s theory of general relativity, are ripples in the curvature of spacetime which propagate at the speed of light. They are emitted in the most violent events in the universe such as supernovae, coalescence of neutron stars and black hole collisions. The ideal instrument to detect them is a giant laser interferometer with suspended mirrors. It must be able to detect a length change of at least 10-20m in 1 km. To reach this level of sensitivity much research and development into ways to build these instruments is needed.

Projects with the Centre for Gravitational Physics will develop skills in a number of highly employable areas such as: optics, electro-optics, electronics, control systems, isolation systems and modelling. We also have research projects which aim to develop spin-off technology into commercial products, for example high sensitivity trace gas analysis, laser intensity and frequency stabilization techniques and more.

Atomic and Molecular Physics

Atomic magnetometer for exploring physics beyond the standard model

The Global Network of Optical Magnetometers for Exotic Physics (GNOME) uses precision atomic magnetometers to look new physics.  The concept is to have a global network of magnetometers looking for correlated magnetic field fluctuations that may be caused by strange, and unknown physics.

Dr Ben Buchler, Dr Geoff Campbell

Biophysics

3D imaging of organic and inorganic materials

This project develops optical instruments for 3D imaging of biological and inorganic materials, using a multi-modal approach involving a combination of optical techniques.

A/Prof Jong Chow, Dr Roland Fleddermann, Mr Keshu Huang

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.

A/Prof Jong Chow

Engineering in Physics

Development of an advanced 3D volumetric imaging system

This project develops a 3D volumetric imaging system to generate three dimensional images of translucent materials. The project’s goal is to extend and augment the capabilities of existing optical projection tomography systems to address a wider spectrum of imaging needs.

Dr Roland Fleddermann, A/Prof Jong Chow

Exploring physics with neural networks

Machine learning based on deep neural networks is a powerful method for improving the performance of experiments.  It may also be useful for finding new physics.

Dr Ben Buchler, Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Geoff Campbell

Field Deployable Laser Stabilisation using Digitally Enhanced Fibre Interferometers

Using an atomic clock and an optical frequency comb as diagnostics, this project investigates laser stabilisation using an optical fibre interferometer for field deployable applications such as in space-based instruments.

A/Prof Jong Chow, Dr Chathura Bandutunga

Frequency distribution over fibre for next generation Gravitational Wave Detectors

We will investigate the possibility to distribute a phase reference over a 100m long optical fibre with a stability of hundreds of nanoradians. If succesfull this solution will be part of a selection process for implementation into the LIGO observatories.

Dr Bram Slagmolen, Professor David McClelland, Dr David Gozzard

Remote Acoustic Sensing with Triangulation

This project has a strong industry focus and investigates using an array of 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.

A/Prof Jong Chow, Dr Chathura Bandutunga

Vibration control for optical interferometry

Develop an active vibraiton isolation platform to provide a quiet, small displacement environment for high precision inteferometry.

Dr Bram Slagmolen, Professor David McClelland, Dr Robert Ward

Optical Sensors for Inertial Navigation

This project develops fibre optic instruments based on optical interferometry and digital signal processing for the purpose of inertial navigation.

A/Prof Jong Chow, Dr Chathura Bandutunga , Dr Roland Fleddermann

Environmental Physics

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.

A/Prof Jong Chow

Photonics, Lasers and Nonlinear Optics

Development of an advanced 3D volumetric imaging system

This project develops a 3D volumetric imaging system to generate three dimensional images of translucent materials. The project’s goal is to extend and augment the capabilities of existing optical projection tomography systems to address a wider spectrum of imaging needs.

Dr Roland Fleddermann, A/Prof Jong Chow

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

3D imaging of organic and inorganic materials

This project develops optical instruments for 3D imaging of biological and inorganic materials, using a multi-modal approach involving a combination of optical techniques.

A/Prof Jong Chow, Dr Roland Fleddermann, Mr Keshu Huang

Field Deployable Laser Stabilisation using Digitally Enhanced Fibre Interferometers

Using an atomic clock and an optical frequency comb as diagnostics, this project investigates laser stabilisation using an optical fibre interferometer for field deployable applications such as in space-based instruments.

A/Prof Jong Chow, Dr Chathura Bandutunga

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 Bram Slagmolen

Remote Acoustic Sensing with Triangulation

This project has a strong industry focus and investigates using an array of 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.

A/Prof Jong Chow, Dr Chathura Bandutunga

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.

A/Prof Jong Chow

Coherently combined laser systems for space technologies

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 Chathura Bandutunga

Optical Sensors for Inertial Navigation

This project develops fibre optic instruments based on optical interferometry and digital signal processing for the purpose of inertial navigation.

A/Prof Jong Chow, Dr Chathura Bandutunga , Dr Roland Fleddermann

Quantum Science and Technology

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

Exploring physics with neural networks

Machine learning based on deep neural networks is a powerful method for improving the performance of experiments.  It may also be useful for finding new physics.

Dr Ben Buchler, Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Geoff Campbell

Atomic magnetometer for exploring physics beyond the standard model

The Global Network of Optical Magnetometers for Exotic Physics (GNOME) uses precision atomic magnetometers to look new physics.  The concept is to have a global network of magnetometers looking for correlated magnetic field fluctuations that may be caused by strange, and unknown physics.

Dr Ben Buchler, Dr Geoff Campbell

Frequency distribution over fibre for next generation Gravitational Wave Detectors

We will investigate the possibility to distribute a phase reference over a 100m long optical fibre with a stability of hundreds of nanoradians. If succesfull this solution will be part of a selection process for implementation into the LIGO observatories.

Dr Bram Slagmolen, Professor David McClelland, Dr David Gozzard

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

Vibration control for optical interferometry

Develop an active vibraiton isolation platform to provide a quiet, small displacement environment for high precision inteferometry.

Dr Bram Slagmolen, Professor David McClelland, Dr Robert Ward

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