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

Quantum Science and Technology

Development of Squeezed Laser Sources for Quantum Communication

Student will build and characterise a new source of quantum squeezed light genearted from an optical parametric oscillator

Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Ben Buchler

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

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

Second Harmonic Generation for Quantum Optics Applications

Student will develop a source of laser light at 775nm that will be utilised for pumping of squeezing cavities  

Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr 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, Mr Aaron Tranter, Mr Harry Slatyer

Optimal control of a spinor condensate for robust entanglement generation

Ultracold atoms are ideal systems to engineer novel states of matter, such as large particle entangled states, promising for quantum technology applications. This project will apply optimal control to multi-component Bose-Einstein condensates, in order to maximize the entanglement between the the spin-components in an experimentally realistic way. 

Dr Angela White

Chaotic vortex dynamics in superfluids

This project aims to shed light on a fundamental physics question, what is the role of chaotic events in turbulent flows?

Dr Angela White

Whispering Gallery Mode Resonators for Ultra-Sensitive Magnetometry

This projects aims to construct an ultra-sensitive magnetic field sensor from a whispering gallery mode crystal resonator.

Professor Ping Koy Lam

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

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

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.

Prof Andrey Sukhorukov, Prof Dragomir Neshev, Dr Jihua Zhang

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

Synthetic multi-dimensional photonics

This project goal is to investigate, theoretically and experimentally, photonic systems with synthetic dimensionality exceeding the three spatial dimensions, and reveal new opportunities for applications in optical signal switching and sensing in classical and quantum photonics.

Prof Andrey Sukhorukov, Dr Jihua Zhang

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 Cedric Simenel, Dr Edward Simpson, Dr Remi Bernard

Instability dynamics in superfluid mixtures

This project will theoretically model instability dynamics generated at the interface between two superfluids. This is an opportunity for a student to be involved in a theory project that will drive current experiments in the atom laser and sensors group. 

Dr Angela White, Dr Nicholas Robins

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

Optimised atom interferometry for space-based experiments

This theoretical physics project aims to optimise the performance of atom interferometry in a space-based environment. Space-based operation requires novel beamsplitting and atomic source production techniques, which will be developed in this project.

Dr Stuart Szigeti, Professor John Close

Diamond quantum computing and communications

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

Dr Marcus Doherty, Dr Andrew Horsley

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

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

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

Multi-component quantum gases : instabilities, turbulence and dynamics

This project aims to explore and measure new or predicted phenomena in complex multicomponent quantum systems.

Dr Nicholas Robins, Dr Angela White

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.

Dr Ben Buchler

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

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

Metasurface polarization optics and quantum photonics

This project aims for developing polarization optical devices based on all-dielectric metasurfaces. As no bulky optical elements and moving parts are required, these devices are compact, stable, and can operate in a single-shot mode with high time resolution. Potential applications include sensitive biological imaging and quantum state manipulation and tomography. 

Dr Jihua Zhang, Prof Andrey Sukhorukov

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

Storing quantum entangled states of light

In this project you will demonstrate the storage of quantum entangled states of light using quantum memories based on rare-earth doped crystals.

Associate Professor Matthew Sellars, Dr Rose Ahlefeldt, Dr Kate Ferguson

Quantum microscopes for revolutionary interdisciplinary science

This project aims to invent and apply quantum microscopes to solve major problems across science.

Dr Marcus Doherty, Dr Michael Barson, Dr Liam McGuinness

Developing a quantum memory for the 1550 nm optical communication band

In this project you will develop a quantum memory for storing light at 1550 nm using erbium doped crystals.

Associate Professor Matthew Sellars, Dr Kate Ferguson

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

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 Ben Buchler, Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Geoff Campbell

Exploring the limits of 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

Creating quantum entanglement for improving measurements of gravity

This theoretical project will investigate and theoretically model how to create quantum entanglement within a Bose-Einstein condensate, with the motivation of improving the sensitvity of atom-interferometers used to measure gravitational fields. 

Dr Simon Haine, Professor Joseph Hope

Few-vortex dynamics in superfluid mixtures

This project will investigate how the dynamics of few quantum-vortices are altered in the presence of a moving second superfluid component. 

Dr Angela White

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

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 Cedric Simenel

Hot entanglement with cold atoms

This theoretical physics project aims to develop novel schemes for generating long-lived, thermally-robust entanglement between individual pairs of cold atoms. Theoretical models developed in this project will inform optical tweezer experiments in the lab of Mikkel Andersen at the University of Otago.

Dr Stuart Szigeti

Frequency distribution over fibre for next generation Gravitational Wave Detectors

We will investigate the possibility to distribute a phase reference over a 100m long optical fibre with a stability of hundreds of nanoradians. If succesfull this solution will be part of a selection process for implementation into the LIGO observatories.

Dr Bram Slagmolen, Professor David McClelland, Dr David Gozzard

Quantum Device Engineering

For quantum technologies to transition to real-world applications, there are a multitude of engineering challenges to be solved. Using diamond NV centres, our group is developing small-scale quantum computers, and quantum microscopes sensing electric and magnetic fields down to the nanoscale. Available project themes include instrumentation, experiment control, machine learning, and optimal control. 

Dr Andrew Horsley, Dr Marcus Doherty, Dr Michael Barson

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

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

Probabilistic quantum cloning with noiseless linear amplifier

Student will use electro-optic feedforward techniques to implement noiseless linear amplification of information carrying laser light

Professor Ping Koy Lam, Dr Thomas Symul

Developing a planar waveguide photonic quantum processor

This project aims to develop a photonic quantum processor based on a planar waveguide architecture incorporating rare-earth doped crystals.

Associate Professor Matthew Sellars, Associate Professor Duk-Yong Choi

Updated:  23 July 2020/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster