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.

Biophysics

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

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

Engineering in Physics

Photonic musical instruments

This project aims to use optical fibre interferometers as photonic microphones to record and analyse the acoustic behaviour and quality of musical instruments.

Dr Jong Chow, Professor John Close, Dr Roland Fleddermann

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

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

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

Photonics, Lasers and Nonlinear Optics

Photonic musical instruments

This project aims to use optical fibre interferometers as photonic microphones to record and analyse the acoustic behaviour and quality of musical instruments.

Dr Jong Chow, Professor John Close, Dr Roland Fleddermann

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

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

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

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

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

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

Adaptive-optics assisted free-space laser communications

This project will assist in the development of a quantum-encrypted free-space laser communications system for secure high-bandwidth ground-to-ground and ground-to-satellite applications. This interdisciplinary project brings together experts in link acquisition and tracking, adaptive optics, quantum key distribution and digital signal processing implemented on an FPGA.

Mr Lyle Roberts, Dr Robert Ward, Professor Daniel Shaddock, Dr Chunle Xiong

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

Quantum Devices and Technology

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

Adaptive-optics assisted free-space laser communications

This project will assist in the development of a quantum-encrypted free-space laser communications system for secure high-bandwidth ground-to-ground and ground-to-satellite applications. This interdisciplinary project brings together experts in link acquisition and tracking, adaptive optics, quantum key distribution and digital signal processing implemented on an FPGA.

Mr Lyle Roberts, Dr Robert Ward, Professor Daniel Shaddock, Dr Chunle Xiong

Quantum Science and Applications

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

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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