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

Atomic and Molecular Physics

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

Microfabricated quantum ring atomic-gyroscope

In this project we investigate, through analytic calculation and simulation, the design and performance limits of a microfabricated quantum-ring atom gyroscope. This is a new design that builds on the quantum vortex gyroscope under development at ANU.

Professor John Close, Dr Samuel Legge, Prof Patrick Kluth

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

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

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.

Professor Ben Buchler, Dr Geoff Campbell

Engineering in Physics

Exploring physics with neural networks

Machine learning based on deep neural networks is a powerful method for improving the performance of experiments.  It may also be useful for finding new physics.

Dr Aaron Tranter, Professor Ben Buchler, Professor Ping Koy Lam

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

Environmental Physics

Quantum gravimtery for ground water mapping and subsurface planetary structure mapping

Through field measurements of local gravity, local subterranean mass density variations comined with mathematical inversion can be mapped. Through field measurments and analysis we will develop this new technique and investigate its application to ground water mapping on Earth and subsurface structure studies on the Moon and Mars.

Professor John Close, Dr Samuel Legge

Materials Science and Engineering

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

Quantum emitters in 2D materials

This project focuses on the integration of quantum emitters in 2D materials with photonic and optoelectronic platforms, enabling new applications in quantum communications and quantum information processing.

Dr Giovanni Guccione, Professor Ping Koy Lam

Photonics, Lasers and Nonlinear Optics

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

Satellite based geodesy

Precise Earth gratitational field measurements with laser-ranging interferometry.

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

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

Physics Education

Virtual reality for physics education

We have developed Virtual Reality apps to enahnce learning in physics education. We have recent evidence of effectiveness in correcting misconceptions in Newtonian Physics with VR. Our other app in an Electric and Magnetic field simulator. Several opportunies exist for further studies on efficacy, as well as software development. 

Dr John Debs

Quantum Science and Technology

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

Exploring physics with neural networks

Machine learning based on deep neural networks is a powerful method for improving the performance of experiments.  It may also be useful for finding new physics.

Dr Aaron Tranter, Professor Ben Buchler, Professor Ping Koy Lam

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

Quantum multi-parameter estimation

Multi-parameter state estimation at the fundamental precision limit

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

Microfabricated quantum ring atomic-gyroscope

In this project we investigate, through analytic calculation and simulation, the design and performance limits of a microfabricated quantum-ring atom gyroscope. This is a new design that builds on the quantum vortex gyroscope under development at ANU.

Professor John Close, Dr Samuel Legge, Prof Patrick Kluth

Quantum gravimtery for ground water mapping and subsurface planetary structure mapping

Through field measurements of local gravity, local subterranean mass density variations comined with mathematical inversion can be mapped. Through field measurments and analysis we will develop this new technique and investigate its application to ground water mapping on Earth and subsurface structure studies on the Moon and Mars.

Professor John Close, Dr Samuel Legge

Satellite based geodesy

Precise Earth gratitational field measurements with laser-ranging interferometry.

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

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

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

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

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 emitters in 2D materials

This project focuses on the integration of quantum emitters in 2D materials with photonic and optoelectronic platforms, enabling new applications in quantum communications and quantum information processing.

Dr Giovanni Guccione, Professor Ping Koy Lam

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

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.

Professor Ben Buchler, Dr Geoff Campbell

Theoretical Physics

Quantum multi-parameter estimation

Multi-parameter state estimation at the fundamental precision limit

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

Updated:  16 August 2022/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster