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

Nanoscience and Nanotechnology

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Positron Annihilation Spectroscopy

Understanding material defects at the atomic scale using anitmatter.

Dr Joshua Machacek, Professor Stephen Buckman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Positron interactions with structured surfaces

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

Dr Joshua Machacek, Dr Sergey Kruk