Potential student research projects

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

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

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Quantum Science and Applications

Fundamental tests of quantum mechanics with matter waves

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

Professor Andrew Truscott, Professor Kenneth Baldwin

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

Nonlinear phenomena with matter-wave Solitons

This project aims to study matter-wave soliton interactions and propagation - including tunnelling, collisions and interferometry.

Dr Nicholas Robins

Quantum tunnelling and energy dissipation in nuclear collisions

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

Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, Dr Edward Simpson, Professor David Hinde

Discovering quantum defects in diamond and related materials

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

Dr Marcus Doherty, Professor Neil Manson

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

Generation of random numbers from vacuum fluctuations

Aim to generate random numbers by performing a homodyne measurement of the quantum vacuum state.

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

Two-parameter estimation with Gaussian state probes

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

Dr Syed Assad, Mr Mark Bradshaw

Space Based Quantum Communications

Develop a satellite quantum communications network in collaboration with RSAA and DST Group. This project will cover advanced satellite free space optical communications using adaptive optics.

Dr Oliver Thearle, Professor Ping Koy Lam

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

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

Dr Kaitlin Cook, Professor Mahananda Dasgupta, Professor David Hinde

How does a quantum system reach equilibrium?

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

Professor Andrew Truscott, Professor Kenneth Baldwin

Source-independent quantum random number generator

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

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

The gravitational and magnetic mapping of archeological sites, volcanoes, mineral and ore deposits, and aquifers

This is a project in mathemtics and computational physics aimed at desiging efficient strategies to solve inverse problems and map volcanoes, archeological sites aquifers, mineral deposits and other structures.

Professor John Close

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

Diamond quantum computing and communications

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

Dr Marcus Doherty, Dr Andrew Horsley

Computing nuclei: numerical solution of the Schrödinger equation

Analytic solutions of real-world quantum mechanics problems are rare, and in practise we must use numerical methods to obtain solutions. This project will give you practical experience in solving the static and time-dependent Schrödinger equations using a computer.

Dr Edward Simpson, Dr Cédric Simenel

Bayesian estimation of min-entropy

In order to build a random number generator, we need to estimate the amount of randomness it has. Our aim to estimate the min-entropy of a finite sample of data using the Bayesian and Frequencist estimators.

Dr Syed Assad, Professor Ping Koy Lam

Quantum coherence and metrology

A quantum state has "coherence" if it is in a superposition of some classical states. In some way, coherence measures the quantumness of that state. We aim to study the coherence of simple systems and also establish a relationship between coherence and quantum metrology.

Dr Syed Assad, Professor Ping Koy Lam

Low-energy tests of the signatures of quantum gravity

This project will investigate the potential of various experimental platforms to search for effects of quantum gravity.

Dr Simon Haine

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

Quantum tunnelling in many-body systems

Quantum tunnelling is a fundamental process in physics. How this process occurs with composite (many-body) systems, and in particular how it relates to decoherence and dissipation, are still open questions.

Dr Cédric Simenel, Dr Edward Simpson

Microfabricated quantum gravimeters

In this project, we will design, construct and test a microfabcircated free-fall, gravimeter.

Professor John Close

Parity-time symmetry in classical and quantum nonlinear optics

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

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

Integrated quantum photonics

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

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

Laser levitation of a macroscopic mirror

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

Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Ben Buchler

Causality vs free will in quantum correlations

The strong correlations between entangled quantum systems can be explained only by giving up one of determinism, relativistic locality, or experimental free will. In the latter case, the choice of experimental settings is statistically dependent on hidden system variables. This project examines information properties of such a dependence.

Dr Michael Hall

Quantum sensing with ultra-cold atoms

This project utilises a state-of-the-art multifield quantum sensor to develop new techniques and technologies for future high precision measurement devices.

Dr Nicholas Robins, Dr Christian Freier, Dr Kyle Hardman

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

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

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

Updated:  29 April 2019/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster