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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Topological and Structural Science

3D print pedagogical models of periodic minimal surfaces

Explore the geometry and symmetries of some periodic minimal surfaces and learn about their relevance in chemical and biological self assembly.

Dr Vanessa Robins

3D image segmentation using machine learning techniques

We aim to use  machine learning techniques to identify minerals and components of three dimensional images obtained from X-ray micro Computed Tomography (XCT).

Dr Mohammad Saadatfar

Three-dimensional crystalline structures from two-dimensional hyperbolic tilings

A variety of projects are available that will contribute to the enumeration and characterisation of 3-periodic network structures via the tiling of periodic minimal surfaces and thereby enhance our understanding of self-assembled structures in nature.

Dr Vanessa Robins, Professor Stephen Hyde

3D phantoms for X-ray micro-tomography

"Phantoms" are objects used for performance testing and/or calibration of 3D X-ray computed tomography (CT) systems. This project involves designing, 3D printing, and subsequently imaging phantoms at the micro-CT facility of the Applied Maths department.

Dr Andrew Kingston, Dr Glenn Myers, Prof Adrian Sheppard, Prof Timothy Senden

Topological photonics for electromagnetic metadevices

This project will address significant problems of feasibility and tunability of novel photonic metadevices aiming to open novel possibilities for a control of light flows topologically protected against scattering losses, energy leaking, or imperfections. 

Professor Yuri Kivshar, Dr Sergey Kruk

Force networks in granular materials: imaging, pattern recognition and data mining

This project employs an integrated experimental and analytical approach to interrogate granular materials (e.g., soil, sand and sedimentary rocks, powder, colloidal systems, coal, snow etc.).  The experimental part, undertaken at ANU, involves the accurate experimental measurement and 3D visualisation of contact forces at the contacts between particles. The analytical part, undertaken at UoM, focuses on “mining” hidden patterns in the experimental data, using new tools from mathematics and statistics of complex systems.

Dr Mohammad Saadatfar

Shape signatures for leaves: an application of topological data analysis

Develop new methods for quantifying the shape of leaves and explore how these are correlated with their physical and biological properties.

Dr Vanessa Robins

RNA tangles and knots? A basic model.

Exploration of simpler entangled structures in 3-space is surpisingly undeveloped. Here we plan to catalogue simpler knots, links and tangled nets via two-dimensional geometry. 

Professor Stephen Hyde

4D tomography - imaging materials in 3D as they change

The ANU has constructed an X-ray micro-computed tomography facility with a unique helical scanning configuration that enables tomographic images of extremely high quality to be produced.  This experimental project will work with theoreticians to image the evolution of time-changing samples with unprecented time resolution.

Prof Adrian Sheppard, Dr Glenn Myers, Dr Andrew Kingston

Monte-Carlo simulation of x-ray scattering from nano-objects

Develop and utilise computer simulations to analyse synchrotron based scattering from nano-sized objects.

A/Prof Patrick Kluth

Protein structure: new topological methods

The notion of protein secondary and tertiary structure is a loose one, that deserves a deeper look. Some proteins are considered to be highly structured in their usual folded state, others lack well defined structures. We are interested in the basic question "what is structure in a folded protein chain"?

Professor Stephen Hyde

Granular materials: understanding their geometry and physics

What is a granular material from geometry and physics perspective? We'll try to understand the fundementals of granular materials in this project.

Dr Mohammad Saadatfar, Dr Nicolas Francois, Dr Vanessa Robins, Prof Timothy Senden

Topological data analysis of software crash call stacks

We will apply recent topology-based methods of data analysis to the problem of clustering large collections of induced software exception call stacks. Call stacks are text files produced when a computer program encounters an unanticipated error. Efficient identification of the underlying cause is a key step in reducing software vulnerability.

Dr Vanessa Robins

Patterns on closed curved surfaces

In this project, we will study the formation of regular patterns, as well as defects, on closed curved surfaces such as boundaries of granular packings.

Dr Mohammad Saadatfar, Dr Nicolas Francois, Professor Stephen Hyde, Prof Timothy Senden

Topological Crystallography: Graphs and surfaces with symmetry

What are the underlying geometric and topological properties of periodic structures that guarantee large and stable porosity in nano-porous crystalline materials required for gas storage and efficient catalysis?

Dr Vanessa Robins, Professor Stephen Hyde, Dr Olaf Delgado-Friedrichs

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