Potential student research projects

The Research School of Physics performs research at the cutting edge of a wide range of disciplines.

By undertaking your own research project at ANU you could open up an exciting career in science.

Filter projects

Some other physics related research projects may be found at the ANU College of Engineering & Computer Science, the Mathematical Sciences Institute and the Research School of Astronomy & Astrophysics

Astrophysics

Single atom counting for stellar nuclear synthesis studies

In this project accelerator mass spectrometry at the 14-million volt accelerator at ANU is used to determine nuclear reaction probabilities relevant for astrophysics.

Dr Stefan Pavetich, Emeritus Professor Keith Fifield

Gravitational waves from ultralight boson clouds around black holes

Ultralight boson particles have been predicted to solve problems in particle and high-energy physics and are compelling dark matter candidates. We develop algorithms and search for these conjectured ultralight bosons around black holes via gravitational-wave observations. 

Dr Lilli (Ling) Sun, Distinguished Prof Susan Scott, Dr Karl Wette

Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy

Understanding material defects at the atomic scale using anitmatter.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Professor Stephen Buckman

Optimising a neutron star extreme matter observatory

Following a practical introduction to optical interferometry for gravitational wave detectors and simulation tools, this project will model the optical configuration to optimize detector performance against a number of possible predictions of the neutron star equation of state.

A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Dr Lilli (Ling) Sun, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

Prospects of future ground-based gravitational-wave detector network

In this project, we study the gravitational-wave astronomy and astrophysics science cases and observational prospects with future ground-based gravitational-wave observatories. 

Dr Lilli (Ling) Sun, A/Prof Bram Slagmolen

Continuous gravitational waves from neutron stars

In this project, we develop data analysis methods and analyse the gravitational-wave data collected by ground-based detectors like Advanced LIGO and Virgo to look for weak gravitational radiation from spinning neutron stars.

Distinguished Prof Susan Scott, Dr Lilli (Ling) Sun, Dr Karl Wette

Paving the way to study the chronology of the early solar system

Radionuclides can serve as tracers and chronometers for environmental processes. The time scale for these clocks is set by the half-life of the respective radioisotope. Using accelerator mass spectrometry and decay counting this project aims investigate the chronology of the Early Solar System.

Dr Stefan Pavetich, Dr Michaela Froehlich , A/Prof Stephen Tims, Mr Dominik Koll

Exotic nuclear structure towards the neutron dripline

Investigate the properties of exotic nuclei and their impact on fundamental models and creation of the elements when stars explode. 

Dr AJ Mitchell

Gravitational waves from newborn neutron stars

When two neutron stars collide, what is left behind? We develop methods and look for gravitational-wave signatures from the newborn remnant object after the collisions of binary neutron star systems.

Dr Lilli (Ling) Sun, Distinguished Prof Susan Scott, Dr Karl Wette

Calibration of gravitational wave detectors

For gravitational-wave detections and analyses, the raw outputs from the gravitational-wave detectors need to be converted into analysable data through some calibration apparatus. This project investigates new techniques to improve calibration accuracy and precision and better integrate the calibration bias into astrophysical analyses. 

Dr Lilli (Ling) Sun, A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof Susan Scott

Radioimpurities in particle detectors for dark matter studies

This experiment will characterise dark matter detector material. Lowest levels of natural radioactivity in high purity samples will be analysed via ultra-senstive single atom counting using acclerator mass spectrometry.

Dr Michaela Froehlich , Dr Zuzana Slavkovska, A/Prof Stephen Tims, Professor Gregory Lane

How does a black hole ring?

We study the numerical waveforms for the gravitational waves emitted during the black hole ringdown stage, implement tools and data analysis frameworks, and analyze the latest gravitational-wave data to estimate black hole properties and test the general theory of relativity.

Dr Lilli (Ling) Sun, Distinguished Prof Susan Scott

Nanostructured Metasurfaces for Optical Telescopes

Traditional optical systems use multiple optical elements to achieve imaging or detection goals. Ground-based and space-based telescopes are limited by manufacturing and engineering constraints. The ultra-thin nature of metasurfaces makes them a superior design choice for optical systems that are constrained by the size, weight and complexity of conventional optics. 

Dr Josephine Munro, Prof Andrey Sukhorukov

Multi-messenger gravitational-wave astronomy

The event of two merging neutron stars, GW170817, was observed in gravitational waves and across the electromagnetic spectrum, opening a new era of multi-messenger astronomy. We work on following up electromagnetic counterparts to future detections of gravitational waves and are ready to contribute to the new science of multi-messenger astronomy. 

Distinguished Prof Susan Scott, Dr Lilli (Ling) Sun, Dr Karl Wette

Atomic and Molecular Physics

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.

Professor Ben Buchler

Atomic magnetometer for exploring physics beyond the standard model and gyroscopy

Atomic sensors are exquisitely sensitive. We aim to model and build a new generation of atomic sensors to measure magnetic fields, rotation and dark matter. 

Professor Ben Buchler

Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy

Understanding material defects at the atomic scale using anitmatter.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Professor Stephen Buckman

Interactions between antimatter and ultracold atoms

Antiparticles and antimatter have progressed from theory and science fiction to become an important and exciting area of pure and applied science. This fundamental atomic physics project will investigate how antimatter and matter interact by experimentally studying the interaction of positrons (the electron anti-particle) with trapped ultracold rubidium atoms.

Dr Sean Hodgman, Professor Stephen Buckman, Dr Joshua Machacek

Positron applications in medical physics

This is a multi-faceted project which can be adapted to students at the honours level and above. A number of possibilities exist to perform experiments directed towards improving the use of positrons in medice, mostly focussed on Positron Emission Tomography (PET).

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

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

Positron interactions with structured surfaces

We are investigating novel effects and applications using positrons and structured surfaces.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Dr Sergey Kruk

Mass-entangled ultracold helium atoms

This experimental project aims to create entangled states of ultracold helium atoms where the entanglement is between atoms of different mass. By manipulating the entangled pairs using laser induced Bragg transitions and measuring the resulting correlations, we will study how gravity affects mass-entangled particles.

Dr Sean Hodgman, Professor Andrew Truscott

Electron and positron scattering from hydroxide, water and hydrogen peroxide

Electron and positron scattering processes are both complex and important in a range of processes. This project will use the R-Matrix technique to perform ab initio calculations of positron and electron scattering from OH, H2O and H2O2.

A/Prof. James Sullivan, Dr Edward Simpson

Measuring and 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 experimental and 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, Emeritus Professor Tibor Kibedi, Dr Brendan McCormick

Biophysics

Solid-state nanopore sensors: Unveiling New Frontiers in Biomolecule Detection

Investigate novel nanopore bio-sensors using nanofabrication, bio-chemsity and machine learning.

Prof Patrick Kluth

Specific ion effects

We are seeking students to perform fundamental research into how different ions exert influence in a myriad of systems.

Professor Vincent Craig

Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy

Understanding material defects at the atomic scale using anitmatter.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Professor Stephen Buckman

Femtosecond laser for ultra-precise cavity drilling in modern dentistry

Development of efficient, versatile and fast laser femtosecond processes for advanced applications in modern dentistry promising a precise pain-free dental treatment for all patients.

Dr Ludovic Rapp

Positron applications in medical physics

This is a multi-faceted project which can be adapted to students at the honours level and above. A number of possibilities exist to perform experiments directed towards improving the use of positrons in medice, mostly focussed on Positron Emission Tomography (PET).

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

Electron and positron scattering from hydroxide, water and hydrogen peroxide

Electron and positron scattering processes are both complex and important in a range of processes. This project will use the R-Matrix technique to perform ab initio calculations of positron and electron scattering from OH, H2O and H2O2.

A/Prof. James Sullivan, Dr Edward Simpson

Clean Energy

Cross sections for nuclear fusion

Proton-boron fusion has the potential to deliver limitless clean energy. This project will aims to understand the physics underpinng this important nuclear reaction.

Dr Edward Simpson

Engineering in Physics

Wood-based mechanical metamaterials

The field of mechanical metamaterials is a fast-developing research domain, here the project aims at studying and developping wood-based and wood-inspired metamaterials.

Associate Professor Nicolas Francois, Dr Mohammad Saadatfar, Professor Mark Knackstedt

Vibration control for optical interferometry

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

A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy

Understanding material defects at the atomic scale using anitmatter.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Professor Stephen Buckman

Optimising a neutron star extreme matter observatory

Following a practical introduction to optical interferometry for gravitational wave detectors and simulation tools, this project will model the optical configuration to optimize detector performance against a number of possible predictions of the neutron star equation of state.

A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Dr Lilli (Ling) Sun, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

Engineering Inter-spacecraft laser links

Inter-satellite laser links are an emerging technology with applications in Earth Observation, telecommunications, security, and, the focus of the CGA space technology group.

Professor Kirk McKenzie, Dr Andrew Wade

Miniature absolute gravimeter for long-term gravity surveys

Absolute gravimeters tie their measurement of gravity to the definition of the second 
by interrogating the position of a falling test mass using a laser interferometer. Our vision is to develop and prototype a miniaturised absolute gravimeter by 
leveraging modern vacuum, laser, and micro-electromechanical systems.

Dr Samuel Legge, Professor John Close, Prof Patrick Kluth, Dr Giovanni Guccione

Ultra-fast lifetime measurements of nuclear excited states

Use ultra-fast gamma-ray detectors to perform excited-state lifetime measurements and investigate single-particle and collective features of atomic nuclei. 

Professor Gregory Lane, Dr AJ Mitchell, Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Emeritus Professor Tibor Kibedi

Developing ultra-high resolution optical meta-surface sensors

The project aims to develop methods to improve the sensitivity of optical metasurfaces for the detection of chemical and biological markers. By tailoring a high-precision optical interferometric sensing solution to the optical properties of a metasurface under-test, the project will improve the sensitivity of these devices, developing a new range of targeted ultra-precise metasurface sensors.

Dr Chathura Bandutunga , Prof Dragomir Neshev

Nuclear structure studies with particle transfer reactions

This project will use nuclear reactions to study the basic make-up of atomic nuclei at the quantum level, and investigate the impact of nuclear structure on sub-atomic forces and fundamental physics. 

Dr AJ Mitchell, Professor Gregory Lane, Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Mr Ben Coombes

Tracking noisy lasers using digitally enhanced fibre interferometers

High precision optical measurement requires the development and deployment of highly stable laser sources. The first step towards stabilising a laser is tracking and measuring it's phase noise. This project aims to develop new signal processing and optical methods to track and stabilise cheap noisy lasers for precision measurement.

Dr Chathura Bandutunga , A/Prof Malcolm Gray, Dr Paul Sibley, Dr Ya Zhang

Coherently combined laser systems for breakthrough starshot and beyond

Recent advances in laser technology now enable the combination of multiple high-quality lasers into a single high-power beam. This project aims to investigate such 'coherently-combined' laser systems within the context of Earth-to-Space laser transmission. Applications of this technology include space debris tracking, free-space optical communications, and propulsion of light-sails for interstellar travel, such as Breakthrough Starshot.

Dr Chathura Bandutunga , Dr Paul Sibley, A/Prof Michael Ireland

Nuclear lifetimes - developing new apparatus and methods

The measurement of the lifetimes of excited nuclear states is foundational for understanding nuclear excitations. This project covers three measurement methods that together span the nuclear lifetime range from about 100 femtoseconds to many nanoseconds. The project can include equipment development, measurement, and the development of analysis methodology (programming and computation). 

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

Fibre optic sensor arrays for vibrometry and acoustic sensing

By leveraging hybrid digital-optical methods, we develop new distributed and quasi-distributed fibre-optic acoustic sensors. These acoustic sensors aim to measure vibration, strain and displacement all while localising the signal source along an optical fibre.

Dr Chathura Bandutunga , Dr Paul Sibley, A/Prof Malcolm Gray

Calibration of gravitational wave detectors

For gravitational-wave detections and analyses, the raw outputs from the gravitational-wave detectors need to be converted into analysable data through some calibration apparatus. This project investigates new techniques to improve calibration accuracy and precision and better integrate the calibration bias into astrophysical analyses. 

Dr Lilli (Ling) Sun, A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof Susan Scott

Nanostructured Metasurfaces for Optical Telescopes

Traditional optical systems use multiple optical elements to achieve imaging or detection goals. Ground-based and space-based telescopes are limited by manufacturing and engineering constraints. The ultra-thin nature of metasurfaces makes them a superior design choice for optical systems that are constrained by the size, weight and complexity of conventional optics. 

Dr Josephine Munro, Prof Andrey Sukhorukov

Understanding energy dissipation in colliding quantum many-body systems

This project aims to gain fundamental insights into the mechanisms of energy dissipation in nuclear collisions by making new measurements that will aid in the development of new models of nuclear fusion.

Dr Kaitlin Cook, Dr Ian Carter, Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, Emeritus Professor David Hinde

Environmental Physics

Total recall – memory effects in negative ion sources

This project investigates contamination effects in negative ion sources used for accelerator mass spectrometry particularly relevant for the measurement of ultra-trace amounts of the long-lived radionuclides Chlorine-36 and Iodine-129 in environmental samples.

Dr Stefan Pavetich, Emeritus Professor Keith Fifield

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

Nanobubbles

Nanobubbles are simply nanosized bubbles. What makes them interesting? Theory tells us they should dissolve in less than a second but they are in some cases stable for days.

Professor Vincent Craig

High pressure non-equilibrium plasma discharges in chemically reactive systems

The goal of this research is to study high pressure non-equilibrium plasma discharges in chemically reactive systems with applications to space, waste treatment and material science.

A/Prof Cormac Corr

Radioactivity in our environment

Radionuclides such as 236U and 239Pu were introduced into the environment by the atmospheric nuclear weapon tests and an be readily measured by accelerator mass spectrometry.

Dr Michaela Froehlich

Electron and positron scattering from hydroxide, water and hydrogen peroxide

Electron and positron scattering processes are both complex and important in a range of processes. This project will use the R-Matrix technique to perform ab initio calculations of positron and electron scattering from OH, H2O and H2O2.

A/Prof. James Sullivan, Dr Edward Simpson

Fusion and Plasma Confinement

Cross sections for nuclear fusion

Proton-boron fusion has the potential to deliver limitless clean energy. This project will aims to understand the physics underpinng this important nuclear reaction.

Dr Edward Simpson

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.

A/Prof Cormac Corr, Dr Matt Thompson

The effect of He irradiation on the microstructure and mechanical properties of W/ W alloys

Nuclear fusion is a promising technology for solving the world’s energy crisis while drastically reducing pollution and avoiding the creation of nuclear waste, a major issue for nuclear fission. However, there are many scientific and technical challenges to be overcome before this technology can be used for large-scale energy generation. One of the problems that need to be solved is the tolerance of the diverter walls to the high temperatures and He implantation – conditions that are prevalent inside the fusion reactors.

A/Prof 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.

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

Materials Science and Engineering

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.

Prof Elena Ostrovskaya, Professor Andrew Truscott

Ultrashort laser processing for advanced applications

Laser processing is a cutting-edge technique designed for to clean, texture, enhance surfaces in a way not possible with any other method. It is a non-contact process, which does not require the use of chemicals or abrasives, thus eliminating problems of chemical toxicity and corrosive residues.

Dr Ludovic Rapp, Professor Andrei Rode

Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy

Understanding material defects at the atomic scale using anitmatter.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Professor Stephen Buckman

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.

A/Prof Cormac Corr, Dr Matt Thompson

Can we make a new phase of carbon?

The hexagonal form of sp3 bonded carbon is predicted to be harder than 'normal' cubic diamond. We can make tiny amounts of this new form of diamond and want to know if it really is harder than diamond.

Prof Jodie Bradby

Nanofluidic diodes: from biosensors to water treatment

Controlling the flow of ions and molecules through nano-sized pores is fundamental in many biological processes and the basis for applications such as DNA detection, water desalination and drug delivery. The project aims to develop solid-state nanofluidic diodes and exploit their properties for applications in bio-sensors and ion-selective channels.

Prof Patrick Kluth

Ultra-low contact resistance next generation semiconductor devices

Contact resistance is becoming a major limitation to device performance and new strategies are required to meet the needs of next-generation devices.  Existing contacts typically exploit the thermal and chemical stability of silicide/Si interfaces and take the form of a metal/silicide/Si heterostructure (e.g. W/TiN/TiSi2/Si), with the contact resistance dominated by the silicide/Si interface. The contact resistance of this interface is limited by the doping concentration in the Si substrate and the Schottky barrier height (SBH) of the heterojunction.  However, doping concentrations already exceed equilibrium solid solubility limits and further increases achieve only minor improvements.  Instead, any further reduction in contact resistivity relies on reducing the SBH.  This project will explore methods for controlling the SBH and develop device structures for measuring ultra-low contact resistivities.

Emeritus Professor Robert Elliman, Mr Tom Ratcliff

Solid state synapses and neurons - memristive devices for neuromorphic computing

Interest in neuromorphic computing has led to interest in an excting new range of of solid-state neurons and synapses based on non-volatile resistive-switching and volatile threshold-switching in metal-oxide thin films.  This project explores the operation and functionality of these new devices with an emphasis on understanding the underlying mechanisms and materials physics.

Emeritus Professor Robert Elliman, Dr Sanjoy Nandi

Defect Engineering of 2D Materials

This project investigates the structure and density of defects created in 2D materials by energetic ion irradiation, and their effect on the the physical properties of these materials.

Emeritus Professor Robert Elliman

Quantitative x-ray imaging with patterned illumination

In this project the student will explore a cutting-edge "speckle tracking" method for measuring X-ray phase, in which computational image analysis is used to infer the X-ray phase from deformations in a known speckle pattern. This has both theoretical and experimental components.

Dr Glenn Myers, Dr Andrew Kingston

The effect of He irradiation on the microstructure and mechanical properties of W/ W alloys

Nuclear fusion is a promising technology for solving the world’s energy crisis while drastically reducing pollution and avoiding the creation of nuclear waste, a major issue for nuclear fission. However, there are many scientific and technical challenges to be overcome before this technology can be used for large-scale energy generation. One of the problems that need to be solved is the tolerance of the diverter walls to the high temperatures and He implantation – conditions that are prevalent inside the fusion reactors.

A/Prof Cormac Corr

Colloidal systems in highly concentrated salt solutions

We are studying colloidal systems in highly concentrated salt solutions. Here a number of surprising and unexplained things happen that are associated with surprisingly long-ranged electrostatic forces

Professor Vincent Craig

High entropy alloys in advanced nuclear applications

The challenging operating environments of advanced nuclear fission and fusion reactors require the development of new robust materials. These new materials must survive increased physical, chemical, thermal, and radiation-related challenges. High-entropy alloys (HEAs) have displayed notable mechanical, thermomechanical, and corrosion-resistant properties.

A/Prof Cormac Corr, Dr Maryna Bilokur

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.

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

Tomography of dynamic processes (3D movies)

Generating 3D volumes, i.e., tomography, of an object as it changes over time  (or evolves) is a challenging problem. The ability to achieve this would reveal new information and understanding of many dynamic processes.

Dr Andrew Kingston, Prof Adrian Sheppard, Dr Glenn Myers

Shape engineering of semiconductor nanostructures for novel device applications

This project aims to investigate the growth of III-V semiconductors on pre-patterned nanotemplates. By using different shapes and geometries, it is envisaged that these nanostructures will provide novel architectures for advanced, next generation optoelectronic devices.

Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Creating new materials using pressure and diamond anvil cells

New forms of materials can be made using extreme pressures via diamond anvil cells.

Prof Jodie Bradby

High-bandwidth stabilisation of a 2µm-band laser

Gravitational wave detectors have reached the thermodynamic limit of optical coating performance and require novel coating materials and coating noise suppression techniques for further sensitivity improvements. This project is to design a high-bandwidth feedback control system to stabilise the intensity and frequency of a 2µm-band laser for investigations of thermal noise in experimental mirror coatings.

Dr Johannes Eichholz, A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

Positron interactions with structured surfaces

We are investigating novel effects and applications using positrons and structured surfaces.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Dr Sergey Kruk

Nanowire photodetectors for photonic and quantum systems

Semiconductor nanowires are emerging nano-materials with substantial opportunities for novel photonic and quantum device applications. This project aims at developing a new generation of high performance NW based photodetectors for a wide range of applications.

Professor Lan Fu, Dr Ziyuan Li, Professor Hoe Tan

Developing wearable sensors for personalized health care technologies and solutions

This is a multidisciplinary project supported by the ANU Grand Challenge project ‘Our Health in Our Hands’ (OHIOH), aimed at developing wearable sensors for detecting target biomarkers to identify certain health conditions.

Dr Buddini Karawdeniya, Prof Dragomir Neshev, Prof Patrick Kluth, Professor Lan Fu

X-ray scatter in 3D microscopes

X-ray scatter is most significant when imaging very dense/large samples: e.g. metal parts, large 3D printed components, or samples imaged on the CTLab's new "whole core" scanner. The student will develop methods to correct for its effects, both in-hardware (i.e. at the microscope) and in-software (i.e. image analysis).

Dr Andrew Kingston, Dr Glenn Myers, Prof Adrian Sheppard

Making diamond from disordered forms of carbon

We have shown that glassy carbon is a fascinating material which has different properties depending on thow it was formed. The effect on how order and impurities influences the new phases formed under pressure is not understood.

Prof Jodie Bradby

Spatial laser mode analysis for thermal noise measurements in optical cavities

Gravitational wave detectors have reached the thermodynamic limit of optical coatings. Further sensitivity improvements require new coating materials and noise mitigation techniques. This project models the behaviour of higher order spatial laser modes in optical resonators for measuring coating thermal noise directly.

Dr Johannes Eichholz, A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

Ultrafast laser cleaning - The light touch

Laser Cleaning is a cutting-edge technique designed for removal of contamination layers from solid surfaces by irradiating the surface with a laser beam. It is a non-contact process, which does not require the use of chemicals or abrasives, eliminating problems of chemical toxicity, corrosive residues, and erasure of surface structure. 

Dr Ludovic Rapp

Functional nanopore membranes

Nano-pore membranes have important applications in chemical- and bio-sensing, water filtration and protein separation. This project will investigate our innovative technology to fabricate nanopore membranes in silicon dioxide and silicon nitride and exploit their use for advanced applications.

Prof Patrick Kluth

Deblur by defocus in a 3D X-ray microscope

This project will involve building a unified model of several theoretically-complex X-ray behaviours within the microscopes at the ANU CTLab, drawing from statistical and wave optics: spatial partial-coherence, refraction, and spectral interactions. The student will then apply this model to improve imaging capabilities at the ANU CTLab.

Dr Glenn Myers, Dr Andrew Kingston

Neutron and X-ray imaging/tomography techniques at ANSTO & Australian Synchrotron

This project involves working with scientists from imaging beamlines at the Australian Synchrotron (IMBL, XFM, MCT) and the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor (DINGO) to develop multi-modal, multi-scale, and dynamic imaging and tomography techniques alongside computational imaging scientists from ANU.

Dr Andrew Kingston, Dr Glenn Myers

Efficient optical interconnect for quantum computers

Superconducting and spin qubits are leading quantum computing technologies, but we currently have no way to connect them to optical quantum networks that will make up a future quantum internet. This project will develop an interconnect capable of efficiently converting microwave quantum information from these qubits to optical frequencies.

Dr Rose Ahlefeldt

Measurement of optical and mechanical losses of mirror coatings

Gravitational wave detectors have reached the thermodynamic limit of optical coatings. Further sensitivity improvements require new coating materials and noise mitigation techniques. This project is about designing an experiment to measure the exponential decay of mechanical oscillator modes for determining key properties of optical coatings.

Dr Johannes Eichholz, A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

Optical nonlinearities in 2D crystals

This project explores the nonlinear optical properties of ultrathin 2D crystals to develop highly entangled photon sources.

Dr Giovanni Guccione, Professor Ping Koy Lam

Machine learning for tomographic reconstruction

Machine learning (and in particular deep-learning) methods have been at the centre of amazing progress in the field of computational image analysis. In this project the student will work to develop machine-learning algorithms for tomographic reconstruction, and deploy these algorithms at the ANU CTLab imaging facility.

Dr Glenn Myers, Dr Andrew Kingston

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

Solid-state nanopore sensors: Unveiling New Frontiers in Biomolecule Detection

Investigate novel nanopore bio-sensors using nanofabrication, bio-chemsity and machine learning.

Prof Patrick Kluth

Specific ion effects

We are seeking students to perform fundamental research into how different ions exert influence in a myriad of systems.

Professor Vincent Craig

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

Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy

Understanding material defects at the atomic scale using anitmatter.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Professor Stephen Buckman

Micro-ring lasers for integrated silicon photonics

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

Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Nanofluidic diodes: from biosensors to water treatment

Controlling the flow of ions and molecules through nano-sized pores is fundamental in many biological processes and the basis for applications such as DNA detection, water desalination and drug delivery. The project aims to develop solid-state nanofluidic diodes and exploit their properties for applications in bio-sensors and ion-selective channels.

Prof Patrick Kluth

Ultra-low contact resistance next generation semiconductor devices

Contact resistance is becoming a major limitation to device performance and new strategies are required to meet the needs of next-generation devices.  Existing contacts typically exploit the thermal and chemical stability of silicide/Si interfaces and take the form of a metal/silicide/Si heterostructure (e.g. W/TiN/TiSi2/Si), with the contact resistance dominated by the silicide/Si interface. The contact resistance of this interface is limited by the doping concentration in the Si substrate and the Schottky barrier height (SBH) of the heterojunction.  However, doping concentrations already exceed equilibrium solid solubility limits and further increases achieve only minor improvements.  Instead, any further reduction in contact resistivity relies on reducing the SBH.  This project will explore methods for controlling the SBH and develop device structures for measuring ultra-low contact resistivities.

Emeritus Professor Robert Elliman, Mr Tom Ratcliff

Solid state synapses and neurons - memristive devices for neuromorphic computing

Interest in neuromorphic computing has led to interest in an excting new range of of solid-state neurons and synapses based on non-volatile resistive-switching and volatile threshold-switching in metal-oxide thin films.  This project explores the operation and functionality of these new devices with an emphasis on understanding the underlying mechanisms and materials physics.

Emeritus Professor Robert Elliman, Dr Sanjoy Nandi

Defect Engineering of 2D Materials

This project investigates the structure and density of defects created in 2D materials by energetic ion irradiation, and their effect on the the physical properties of these materials.

Emeritus Professor Robert Elliman

Nanobubbles

Nanobubbles are simply nanosized bubbles. What makes them interesting? Theory tells us they should dissolve in less than a second but they are in some cases stable for days.

Professor Vincent Craig

Colloidal systems in highly concentrated salt solutions

We are studying colloidal systems in highly concentrated salt solutions. Here a number of surprising and unexplained things happen that are associated with surprisingly long-ranged electrostatic forces

Professor Vincent Craig

Quantum-well nanowire light emitting devices

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

Professor Lan Fu, Dr Ziyuan Li, Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Optical metamaterials: from science fiction to transformative optical technologies

Experimental and theoretical work on the development of novel nanostructured materials with unusual optical properties. Special attention to our research is the development of tunable and functional nanostructured metamaterials that interact strongly with light. Such materials underpin novel optical technologies ranging from wearable sensors to night-vision devices.

Prof Dragomir Neshev, Dr Andrei Komar, Dr Mohsen Rahmani

Shape engineering of semiconductor nanostructures for novel device applications

This project aims to investigate the growth of III-V semiconductors on pre-patterned nanotemplates. By using different shapes and geometries, it is envisaged that these nanostructures will provide novel architectures for advanced, next generation optoelectronic devices.

Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Engineering optical chirality with nanotechnology

Many phenomena in nature, including multiple chemical and biological processes, are governed by the fundamental property of chirality. An object is called chiral when its mirror image cannot be superimposed with the original object. Many examples of chirality can be found in nature, from seashells to DNA molecules.
 

Professor Yuri Kivshar, Dr Kirill Koshelev, Dr Sergey Kruk

Positron interactions with structured surfaces

We are investigating novel effects and applications using positrons and structured surfaces.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Dr Sergey Kruk

Nanowire infrared avalanche photodetectors towards single photon detection

This project aims to demonstrate semiconductor nanowire based infrared avalanche photodetectors (APDs) with ultra-high sensitivity towards single photon detection. By employing the advantages of their unique one-dimensional nanoscale geometry, the nanowire APDs can be engineered to different device architectures to achieve performance superior to their conventional counterparts. This will contribute to the development of next generation infrared photodetector technology enabling numerous emerging fields in modern transportation, communication, quantum computation and information processing.

Professor Lan Fu, Dr Zhe (Rex) Li, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Developing wearable sensors for personalized health care technologies and solutions

This is a multidisciplinary project supported by the ANU Grand Challenge project ‘Our Health in Our Hands’ (OHIOH), aimed at developing wearable sensors for detecting target biomarkers to identify certain health conditions.

Dr Buddini Karawdeniya, Prof Dragomir Neshev, Prof Patrick Kluth, Professor Lan Fu

Functional nanopore membranes

Nano-pore membranes have important applications in chemical- and bio-sensing, water filtration and protein separation. This project will investigate our innovative technology to fabricate nanopore membranes in silicon dioxide and silicon nitride and exploit their use for advanced applications.

Prof Patrick Kluth

Metaphotonics and Mie-tronics with resonant dielectric structures

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 Mie-resonant nanophotonics or Mie-tronics. High-index dielectric nanoparticles exhibit strong interaction with light due to the excitation of electric and magnetic dipolar Mie-type resonances.

Professor Yuri Kivshar, Dr Kirill Koshelev

Nanowire lasers for applications in nanophotonics

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

Professor Chennupati Jagadish, Professor Hoe Tan

Photonics, Lasers and Nonlinear Optics

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.

Prof Andrey Sukhorukov, Dr Jinyong Ma, Dr Jihua Zhang, Prof Dragomir Neshev

Quantum photonics with nanostructured metasurfaces

Metasurface can the generation and manipulation of polarization-entangled photon pairs at the nanoscale.

Dr Jinyong Ma, Prof Andrey Sukhorukov, Dr Jihua Zhang

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.

Prof Elena Ostrovskaya, Professor Andrew Truscott

Ultrashort laser processing for advanced applications

Laser processing is a cutting-edge technique designed for to clean, texture, enhance surfaces in a way not possible with any other method. It is a non-contact process, which does not require the use of chemicals or abrasives, thus eliminating problems of chemical toxicity and corrosive residues.

Dr Ludovic Rapp, Professor Andrei Rode

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, Prof Andrey Miroshnichenko

Synthesising non-Hermitian gauge fields for microcavity exciton polaritons

This project aims to realise various useful artificial gauge fields for cavity photons and exciton polaritons. These fields are expected to be non-Hermitian and can be used to combine effects of non-Hermiticity and topology, e.g. topological edge states and non-Hermitian skin effect. Realising these non-Hermitian fields is an important step towards practical applications of exciton-polariton condensates and superfluids.

Dr Eliezer Estrecho, Prof Elena Ostrovskaya

Micro-ring lasers for integrated silicon photonics

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

Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Femtosecond laser for ultra-precise cavity drilling in modern dentistry

Development of efficient, versatile and fast laser femtosecond processes for advanced applications in modern dentistry promising a precise pain-free dental treatment for all patients.

Dr Ludovic Rapp

Engineering Inter-spacecraft laser links

Inter-satellite laser links are an emerging technology with applications in Earth Observation, telecommunications, security, and, the focus of the CGA space technology group.

Professor Kirk McKenzie, Dr Andrew Wade

Satellite based geodesy

Precise Earth gratitational field measurements with laser-ranging interferometry.

Dr Syed Assad, Professor Ping Koy Lam, Mr Lorcan Conlon, Dr Jie Zhao

Quantum-well nanowire light emitting devices

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

Professor Lan Fu, Dr Ziyuan Li, Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Optical metamaterials: from science fiction to transformative optical technologies

Experimental and theoretical work on the development of novel nanostructured materials with unusual optical properties. Special attention to our research is the development of tunable and functional nanostructured metamaterials that interact strongly with light. Such materials underpin novel optical technologies ranging from wearable sensors to night-vision devices.

Prof Dragomir Neshev, Dr Andrei Komar, Dr Mohsen Rahmani

Nonlinear topological photonics

The project bridges the fundamental physics of topological phases with nonlinear optics. This promising synergy is expected to unlock advanced functionalities for applications in optical sources, frequency combs, isolators and multiplexers, switches and modulators, both for classical and quantum light. 

Dr Daria Smirnova

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 suspended optical cavities.  

A/Prof Bram Slagmolen

High-bandwidth stabilisation of a 2µm-band laser

Gravitational wave detectors have reached the thermodynamic limit of optical coating performance and require novel coating materials and coating noise suppression techniques for further sensitivity improvements. This project is to design a high-bandwidth feedback control system to stabilise the intensity and frequency of a 2µm-band laser for investigations of thermal noise in experimental mirror coatings.

Dr Johannes Eichholz, A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

Developing ultra-high resolution optical meta-surface sensors

The project aims to develop methods to improve the sensitivity of optical metasurfaces for the detection of chemical and biological markers. By tailoring a high-precision optical interferometric sensing solution to the optical properties of a metasurface under-test, the project will improve the sensitivity of these devices, developing a new range of targeted ultra-precise metasurface sensors.

Dr Chathura Bandutunga , Prof Dragomir Neshev

Engineering optical chirality with nanotechnology

Many phenomena in nature, including multiple chemical and biological processes, are governed by the fundamental property of chirality. An object is called chiral when its mirror image cannot be superimposed with the original object. Many examples of chirality can be found in nature, from seashells to DNA molecules.
 

Professor Yuri Kivshar, Dr Kirill Koshelev, Dr Sergey Kruk

Positron interactions with structured surfaces

We are investigating novel effects and applications using positrons and structured surfaces.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Dr Sergey Kruk

Nanowire photodetectors for photonic and quantum systems

Semiconductor nanowires are emerging nano-materials with substantial opportunities for novel photonic and quantum device applications. This project aims at developing a new generation of high performance NW based photodetectors for a wide range of applications.

Professor Lan Fu, Dr Ziyuan Li, Professor Hoe Tan

Nanowire infrared avalanche photodetectors towards single photon detection

This project aims to demonstrate semiconductor nanowire based infrared avalanche photodetectors (APDs) with ultra-high sensitivity towards single photon detection. By employing the advantages of their unique one-dimensional nanoscale geometry, the nanowire APDs can be engineered to different device architectures to achieve performance superior to their conventional counterparts. This will contribute to the development of next generation infrared photodetector technology enabling numerous emerging fields in modern transportation, communication, quantum computation and information processing.

Professor Lan Fu, Dr Zhe (Rex) Li, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Tracking noisy lasers using digitally enhanced fibre interferometers

High precision optical measurement requires the development and deployment of highly stable laser sources. The first step towards stabilising a laser is tracking and measuring it's phase noise. This project aims to develop new signal processing and optical methods to track and stabilise cheap noisy lasers for precision measurement.

Dr Chathura Bandutunga , A/Prof Malcolm Gray, Dr Paul Sibley, Dr Ya Zhang

Coherently combined laser systems for breakthrough starshot and beyond

Recent advances in laser technology now enable the combination of multiple high-quality lasers into a single high-power beam. This project aims to investigate such 'coherently-combined' laser systems within the context of Earth-to-Space laser transmission. Applications of this technology include space debris tracking, free-space optical communications, and propulsion of light-sails for interstellar travel, such as Breakthrough Starshot.

Dr Chathura Bandutunga , Dr Paul Sibley, A/Prof Michael Ireland

Laser levitation of a macroscopic mirror

This project aims to be the first in the world to use radiation pressure force of laser beams to levitate a macroscopic mirror. The coherence of this resonantly amplified scheme creates a unique opto-mechanical environment for precision quantum metrology and tests of new physics theories.

Dr Giovanni Guccione, Professor Ping Koy Lam

Spatial laser mode analysis for thermal noise measurements in optical cavities

Gravitational wave detectors have reached the thermodynamic limit of optical coatings. Further sensitivity improvements require new coating materials and noise mitigation techniques. This project models the behaviour of higher order spatial laser modes in optical resonators for measuring coating thermal noise directly.

Dr Johannes Eichholz, A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

Ultrafast laser cleaning - The light touch

Laser Cleaning is a cutting-edge technique designed for removal of contamination layers from solid surfaces by irradiating the surface with a laser beam. It is a non-contact process, which does not require the use of chemicals or abrasives, eliminating problems of chemical toxicity, corrosive residues, and erasure of surface structure. 

Dr Ludovic Rapp

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.

Distinguished Prof David McClelland, Professor Daniel Shaddock, A/Prof Bram Slagmolen

Synthetic multi-dimensional photonics

This project goal is to investigate, theoretically and experimentally, photonic systems with synthetic dimensionality exceeding the three spatial dimensions, and reveal new opportunities for applications in optical signal switching and sensing in classical and quantum photonics.

Prof Andrey Sukhorukov, Dr Jihua Zhang

Measurement of optical and mechanical losses of mirror coatings

Gravitational wave detectors have reached the thermodynamic limit of optical coatings. Further sensitivity improvements require new coating materials and noise mitigation techniques. This project is about designing an experiment to measure the exponential decay of mechanical oscillator modes for determining key properties of optical coatings.

Dr Johannes Eichholz, A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

Fibre optic sensor arrays for vibrometry and acoustic sensing

By leveraging hybrid digital-optical methods, we develop new distributed and quasi-distributed fibre-optic acoustic sensors. These acoustic sensors aim to measure vibration, strain and displacement all while localising the signal source along an optical fibre.

Dr Chathura Bandutunga , Dr Paul Sibley, A/Prof Malcolm Gray

Optical nonlinearities in 2D crystals

This project explores the nonlinear optical properties of ultrathin 2D crystals to develop highly entangled photon sources.

Dr Giovanni Guccione, Professor Ping Koy Lam

Low-noise offset-phase locking and heterodyne interferometry with 2µm-band lasers

Gravitational wave detectors have reached the thermodynamic limit of optical coating performance and require novel coating materials and noise mitigation techniques for further sensitivity improvements. This project is to implement a phase tracking system for the optical beat between two 2µm-band lasers for coating thermal noise measurements.

Dr Johannes Eichholz, A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

Nanostructured Metasurfaces for Optical Telescopes

Traditional optical systems use multiple optical elements to achieve imaging or detection goals. Ground-based and space-based telescopes are limited by manufacturing and engineering constraints. The ultra-thin nature of metasurfaces makes them a superior design choice for optical systems that are constrained by the size, weight and complexity of conventional optics. 

Dr Josephine Munro, Prof Andrey Sukhorukov

Metaphotonics and Mie-tronics with resonant dielectric structures

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 Mie-resonant nanophotonics or Mie-tronics. High-index dielectric nanoparticles exhibit strong interaction with light due to the excitation of electric and magnetic dipolar Mie-type resonances.

Professor Yuri Kivshar, Dr Kirill Koshelev

Nanowire lasers for applications in nanophotonics

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

Professor Chennupati Jagadish, Professor Hoe Tan

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.

Prof Elena Ostrovskaya, Professor Andrew Truscott

Physics of the Nucleus

Cross sections for nuclear fusion

Proton-boron fusion has the potential to deliver limitless clean energy. This project will aims to understand the physics underpinng this important nuclear reaction.

Dr Edward Simpson

Time dependence of nuclear fusion

This project will allow us to understand the time-dependence of quantum tunnelling and nuclear fusion.

Dr Edward Simpson

Nuclear magnetism - magnetic moment measurements

This project builds on our established track record of developing novel methods to measure magnetic moments of picosecond-lived excited states in atomic nuclei, and the theoretical interpretation of those measurements. Students will help establish new methodologies to underpin future international research at the world's leading radioactive beam laboratories.
 

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

Nuclear vibrations in near-spherical and deformed nuclei

This project aims to discover if the long-held concept of low-energy nuclear vibrations holds true under scrutiny from Coulomb excitation and nucleon-transfer reactions. 

Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Professor Gregory Lane, Dr AJ Mitchell, Mr Ben Coombes

Nuclei that fall apart: the role of sub-zeptosecond processes in reactions of weakly-bound nuclei

Some nuclei, like stable 6,7Li and 9Be or radioactive 8Li and 6He, are weakly-bound, which gives them a cluster structure which can be broken apart with very little input of energy. These nuclei show a huge variety of behaviors which challenge our understanding of nuclear reactions, requiring experimental measurements. 

Dr Kaitlin Cook, Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, Emeritus Professor David Hinde

Ultra-fast lifetime measurements of nuclear excited states

Use ultra-fast gamma-ray detectors to perform excited-state lifetime measurements and investigate single-particle and collective features of atomic nuclei. 

Professor Gregory Lane, Dr AJ Mitchell, Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Emeritus Professor Tibor Kibedi

Paving the way to study the chronology of the early solar system

Radionuclides can serve as tracers and chronometers for environmental processes. The time scale for these clocks is set by the half-life of the respective radioisotope. Using accelerator mass spectrometry and decay counting this project aims investigate the chronology of the Early Solar System.

Dr Stefan Pavetich, Dr Michaela Froehlich , A/Prof Stephen Tims, Mr Dominik Koll

Nuclear structure studies with particle transfer reactions

This project will use nuclear reactions to study the basic make-up of atomic nuclei at the quantum level, and investigate the impact of nuclear structure on sub-atomic forces and fundamental physics. 

Dr AJ Mitchell, Professor Gregory Lane, Professor Andrew Stuchbery, Mr Ben Coombes

Nuclear batteries: Energy-storage applications of nuclear isomers

Nuclear metastable states, known colloquially as isomers, have energy densities millions of times greater than chemical batteries. This project investigates nuclear pathways for reliably extracting this energy from candidate isotopes on demand. 

Dr AJ Mitchell, Professor Gregory Lane

Nuclear lifetimes - developing new apparatus and methods

The measurement of the lifetimes of excited nuclear states is foundational for understanding nuclear excitations. This project covers three measurement methods that together span the nuclear lifetime range from about 100 femtoseconds to many nanoseconds. The project can include equipment development, measurement, and the development of analysis methodology (programming and computation). 

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

Exotic nuclear structure towards the neutron dripline

Investigate the properties of exotic nuclei and their impact on fundamental models and creation of the elements when stars explode. 

Dr AJ Mitchell

Measuring and 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 experimental and 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, Emeritus Professor Tibor Kibedi, Dr Brendan McCormick

Radioimpurities in particle detectors for dark matter studies

This experiment will characterise dark matter detector material. Lowest levels of natural radioactivity in high purity samples will be analysed via ultra-senstive single atom counting using acclerator mass spectrometry.

Dr Michaela Froehlich , Dr Zuzana Slavkovska, A/Prof Stephen Tims, Professor Gregory Lane

Understanding energy dissipation in colliding quantum many-body systems

This project aims to gain fundamental insights into the mechanisms of energy dissipation in nuclear collisions by making new measurements that will aid in the development of new models of nuclear fusion.

Dr Kaitlin Cook, Dr Ian Carter, Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, Emeritus Professor David Hinde

Towards a global understanding of nuclear fission

Improved understandings of nuclear fission is key for many areas of science, including heavy element formation in supernova and neutron-star mergers, making safer nuclear reactors, and the formation and properties of long-lived superheavy isotopes. Students involved in this project will further our understanding of fission across the chart of nuclides.

Dr Kaitlin Cook, Emeritus Professor David Hinde, Professor Mahananda Dasgupta

Plasma Applications and Technology

Total recall – memory effects in negative ion sources

This project investigates contamination effects in negative ion sources used for accelerator mass spectrometry particularly relevant for the measurement of ultra-trace amounts of the long-lived radionuclides Chlorine-36 and Iodine-129 in environmental samples.

Dr Stefan Pavetich, Emeritus Professor Keith Fifield

High entropy alloys in advanced nuclear applications

The challenging operating environments of advanced nuclear fission and fusion reactors require the development of new robust materials. These new materials must survive increased physical, chemical, thermal, and radiation-related challenges. High-entropy alloys (HEAs) have displayed notable mechanical, thermomechanical, and corrosion-resistant properties.

A/Prof Cormac Corr, Dr Maryna Bilokur

High pressure non-equilibrium plasma discharges in chemically reactive systems

The goal of this research is to study high pressure non-equilibrium plasma discharges in chemically reactive systems with applications to space, waste treatment and material science.

A/Prof Cormac Corr

Quantum Science and Technology

Vibration control for optical interferometry

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

A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

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.

Prof Andrey Sukhorukov, Dr Jinyong Ma, Dr Jihua Zhang, Prof Dragomir Neshev

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.

A/Prof Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

Quantum photonics with nanostructured metasurfaces

Metasurface can the generation and manipulation of polarization-entangled photon pairs at the nanoscale.

Dr Jinyong Ma, Prof Andrey Sukhorukov, Dr Jihua Zhang

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.

Professor Ben Buchler

Atomic magnetometer for exploring physics beyond the standard model and gyroscopy

Atomic sensors are exquisitely sensitive. We aim to model and build a new generation of atomic sensors to measure magnetic fields, rotation and dark matter. 

Professor Ben Buchler

Synthesising non-Hermitian gauge fields for microcavity exciton polaritons

This project aims to realise various useful artificial gauge fields for cavity photons and exciton polaritons. These fields are expected to be non-Hermitian and can be used to combine effects of non-Hermiticity and topology, e.g. topological edge states and non-Hermitian skin effect. Realising these non-Hermitian fields is an important step towards practical applications of exciton-polariton condensates and superfluids.

Dr Eliezer Estrecho, Prof Elena Ostrovskaya

Quantum multi-parameter estimation

Multi-parameter state estimation at the fundamental precision limit

Dr Syed Assad, Professor Ping Koy Lam, Mr Lorcan Conlon, Dr Jie Zhao

Interactions between antimatter and ultracold atoms

Antiparticles and antimatter have progressed from theory and science fiction to become an important and exciting area of pure and applied science. This fundamental atomic physics project will investigate how antimatter and matter interact by experimentally studying the interaction of positrons (the electron anti-particle) with trapped ultracold rubidium atoms.

Dr Sean Hodgman, Professor Stephen Buckman, Dr Joshua Machacek

Prospects of future ground-based gravitational-wave detector network

In this project, we study the gravitational-wave astronomy and astrophysics science cases and observational prospects with future ground-based gravitational-wave observatories. 

Dr Lilli (Ling) Sun, A/Prof Bram Slagmolen

Satellite based geodesy

Precise Earth gratitational field measurements with laser-ranging interferometry.

Dr Syed Assad, Professor Ping Koy Lam, Mr Lorcan Conlon, Dr Jie Zhao

Miniature absolute gravimeter for long-term gravity surveys

Absolute gravimeters tie their measurement of gravity to the definition of the second 
by interrogating the position of a falling test mass using a laser interferometer. Our vision is to develop and prototype a miniaturised absolute gravimeter by 
leveraging modern vacuum, laser, and micro-electromechanical systems.

Dr Samuel Legge, Professor John Close, Prof Patrick Kluth, Dr Giovanni Guccione

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, Professor Andrew Truscott

Quantum super resolution

When two point sources of light are close together, we just see one blurry patch. This project aims to use coherent measurement techniques in quantum optics to measure the separation between the point sources beyond the Rayleigh's limit.

Dr Syed Assad, Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Jie Zhao

Laser levitation of a macroscopic mirror

This project aims to be the first in the world to use radiation pressure force of laser beams to levitate a macroscopic mirror. The coherence of this resonantly amplified scheme creates a unique opto-mechanical environment for precision quantum metrology and tests of new physics theories.

Dr Giovanni Guccione, Professor Ping Koy Lam

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.

Distinguished Prof David McClelland, Professor Daniel Shaddock, A/Prof Bram Slagmolen

Mass-entangled ultracold helium atoms

This experimental project aims to create entangled states of ultracold helium atoms where the entanglement is between atoms of different mass. By manipulating the entangled pairs using laser induced Bragg transitions and measuring the resulting correlations, we will study how gravity affects mass-entangled particles.

Dr Sean Hodgman, Professor Andrew Truscott

Synthetic multi-dimensional photonics

This project goal is to investigate, theoretically and experimentally, photonic systems with synthetic dimensionality exceeding the three spatial dimensions, and reveal new opportunities for applications in optical signal switching and sensing in classical and quantum photonics.

Prof Andrey Sukhorukov, Dr Jihua Zhang

Efficient optical interconnect for quantum computers

Superconducting and spin qubits are leading quantum computing technologies, but we currently have no way to connect them to optical quantum networks that will make up a future quantum internet. This project will develop an interconnect capable of efficiently converting microwave quantum information from these qubits to optical frequencies.

Dr Rose Ahlefeldt

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, Dr Aaron Tranter, Dr Jie Zhao

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.

Prof Elena Ostrovskaya, Professor Andrew Truscott

Theoretical Physics

Introduction to quantum integrable systems

The aim of this project is to introduce quantum integrable systems which play a very important role in modern theoretical physics. Such systems provide one of very few ways to analyze nonlinear effects in continuous and discrete quantum systems.

A/Prof Vladimir Mangazeev

Cross sections for nuclear fusion

Proton-boron fusion has the potential to deliver limitless clean energy. This project will aims to understand the physics underpinng this important nuclear reaction.

Dr Edward Simpson

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.

A/Prof Vladimir Mangazeev, Professor Vladimir Bazhanov

Time dependence of nuclear fusion

This project will allow us to understand the time-dependence of quantum tunnelling and nuclear fusion.

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, Prof Andrey Miroshnichenko

Quantum multi-parameter estimation

Multi-parameter state estimation at the fundamental precision limit

Dr Syed Assad, Professor Ping Koy Lam, Mr Lorcan Conlon, Dr Jie Zhao

Nuclear magnetism - magnetic moment measurements

This project builds on our established track record of developing novel methods to measure magnetic moments of picosecond-lived excited states in atomic nuclei, and the theoretical interpretation of those measurements. Students will help establish new methodologies to underpin future international research at the world's leading radioactive beam laboratories.
 

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

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.

A/Prof Vladimir Mangazeev

Neutron and X-ray imaging/tomography techniques at ANSTO & Australian Synchrotron

This project involves working with scientists from imaging beamlines at the Australian Synchrotron (IMBL, XFM, MCT) and the Lucas Heights nuclear reactor (DINGO) to develop multi-modal, multi-scale, and dynamic imaging and tomography techniques alongside computational imaging scientists from ANU.

Dr Andrew Kingston, Dr Glenn Myers

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.

A/Prof Vladimir Mangazeev

How does a black hole ring?

We study the numerical waveforms for the gravitational waves emitted during the black hole ringdown stage, implement tools and data analysis frameworks, and analyze the latest gravitational-wave data to estimate black hole properties and test the general theory of relativity.

Dr Lilli (Ling) Sun, Distinguished Prof Susan Scott

Topological and Structural Science

Wood-based mechanical metamaterials

The field of mechanical metamaterials is a fast-developing research domain, here the project aims at studying and developping wood-based and wood-inspired metamaterials.

Associate Professor Nicolas Francois, Dr Mohammad Saadatfar, Professor Mark Knackstedt

Tomography of dynamic processes (3D movies)

Generating 3D volumes, i.e., tomography, of an object as it changes over time  (or evolves) is a challenging problem. The ability to achieve this would reveal new information and understanding of many dynamic processes.

Dr Andrew Kingston, Prof Adrian Sheppard, Dr Glenn Myers

Nonlinear topological photonics

The project bridges the fundamental physics of topological phases with nonlinear optics. This promising synergy is expected to unlock advanced functionalities for applications in optical sources, frequency combs, isolators and multiplexers, switches and modulators, both for classical and quantum light. 

Dr Daria Smirnova

Ghost imaging in the third dimension

In ghost imaging, images are formed based on photons that have never interacted with the sample. 3D ghost imaging was first performed in 2018 by scientists at ANU and international collaborators at the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility: the student will work with these scientists to further advance the field.

Dr Glenn Myers, Dr Andrew Kingston