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

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

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, Dr Sean Hodgman

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

Biophysics

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 in Physics

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

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

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

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 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

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

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

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

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

Photonics, Lasers and Nonlinear Optics

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

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

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

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

Satellite based geodesy

Precise Earth gratitational field measurements with laser-ranging interferometry.

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

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

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

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

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

Quantum Science and Technology

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

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

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

Satellite based geodesy

Precise Earth gratitational field measurements with laser-ranging interferometry.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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, Dr Sean Hodgman

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

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

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

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

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