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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Photonics, Lasers and Nonlinear Optics

Extreme events in nature and in a laboratory

The concept of rogue waves was born in nautical mythology, entered the science of ocean waves and gradually moved into other fields: optics, matter waves, superfluidity. This project will allow students to enter the front edge of modern science.

Professor Nail Akhmediev, Dr Adrian Ankiewicz, Dr. Wonkeun Chang, Dr Natasha Devine

Fibre optic sensing arrays

This project has a strong industry focus and investigates using an array of fibre optic interferometers for acoustic sensing.  It relies on the ultra-sensitivity of these devices and the array's ability to triangulate the source of an acoustic signal to target a range of applications.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Timothy Lam

Quantum-well nanowire light emitting devices

In this project we aim to design and demonstrate  III-V compound semiconductor based quantum well nanowire light emitting devices with wavelength ranging from 1.3 to 1.6 μm for optical communication applications.

Professor Lan Fu, Dr Ziyuan Li, Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

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

An optical ruler across a fibre optic network

This project uses an optical frequency comb referenced to an atomic clock as an ultra-precise frequency standard and ruler for a range of applications, including gravitational wave detection, gravimetry and high resolution spectroscopy.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Bram Slagmolen, Dr Timothy Lam, Mr Jarrod Dong

Ultra-short laser induced micro-explosion: A new route to synthesise novel high-pressure phases

This project aims to synthesise novel metastable material phases by ultrafast laser-induced microexplosion confined within a material’s bulk.

Professor Andrei Rode, Associate Professor Eugene Gamaly

An atom trap in the vacuum of space

The aim of this project is to design, construct and test an atom trap that exploits the vacuum of space to reduce size, weight and power of standard technology and make it more suitable for space deployment.

Professor John Close

Nanowire photodetectors - Small devices for the big world

Semiconductor nanowires are emerging nano-materials with substantial opportunities for novel photonic and electronic device applications. This project aims at developing a new generation of high performance NW based photodetectors for a wide range of applications.

Professor Lan Fu, Dr Ziyuan Li, Professor Hoe Tan

Development of an advanced 3D volumetric imaging system

This project develops a 3D volumetric imaging system to generate three dimensional images of translucent materials. The project’s goal is to extend and augment the capabilities of existing optical projection tomography systems to address a wider spectrum of imaging needs.

Dr Roland Fleddermann, Dr Jong Chow

Machine learning for optics and controls

Optical cavities are widely used in physics and precision measurement.  This project will explore the use of modern machine learning methods for the control of optical cavities.  

Dr Robert Ward, Dr Paul Altin, Professor Daniel Shaddock

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

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

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

Optical metamaterials: from Harry Potter to modern optical technologies

Experimental and theoretical work on the development of novel nano-structured materials with unusual optical properties. Special attention to our research is the development of tunable and functional photonic metamaterials with unusual properties. Of particular interest are the development of ultra-thin metasurfaces with high sensitivity to light intensity.

Prof Dragomir Neshev, Dr Andrey Miroshnichenko

Electromagnetic Bound States in the Continuum

By borrowing a concept of Bound States in the Continuum from quantum mechanics we can create extremely high quality optical resonators that are highly sought after in many applications.

Professor Ilya Shadrivov, Professor Yuri Kivshar

Localised formations in open systems

Dissipative solitons are generated due to the balance between gain and loss of energy as well as to the balance between input and output of matter. Their existence requires continuous supply of energy and matter that is available in open systems. The model explains variety of phanomena in biology and physics.

Professor Nail Akhmediev, Dr Adrian Ankiewicz, Dr Natasha Devine, Dr. Wonkeun Chang

Ultrafast optical micro-domain structuring for advanced nonlinear photonic devices

This project aims to develop a breakthrough all-optical approach to create micro-domain patterns in nonlinear optical media using tightly focused femtosecond pulses. It will lead to the first flexible all-optically formed quasi-phase matched structures, enabling access to a broad range of applications for exceptional control over both photons and phonons.

Dr Yan Sheng

Optical nanoantennas

Antennas are at the heart of modern radio and microwave frequency communications technologies. They are the front-ends in satellites, cell-phones, laptops and other devices that make communication by sending and receiving radio waves. This project aims to design analog of optical nanoantennas for visible light for advanced optical communiction. 

Prof Dragomir Neshev, Dr Andrey Miroshnichenko

Metamaterials for Terahertz wave manipulation

Terahertz frequency range is the least explored part of the electromagnetic spectrum, and we work towards using it in a range of breakthrough imaghing, security and communication applications. We offer a range of Honours, Masters and PhD projects, which include theoretical, numerical and experimental work with terahertz metamaterials.

Professor Ilya Shadrivov, Dr Mingkai Liu, Dr David Powell

Photonic musical instruments

This project aims to use optical fibre interferometers as photonic microphones to record and analyse the acoustic behaviour and quality of musical instruments.

Dr Jong Chow, Professor John Close, Dr Roland Fleddermann

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

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.

A/Prof Elena Ostrovskaya, Professor Andrew Truscott

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

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

Photonic bandages

In collaboration with Dr. Steve Lee from CECS, this project uses low coherence interference signals in an optical coherence tomography system for 3D imaging of porous materials.  The aim is to implant these materials for in vivo monitoring of the healing process of a wound.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Roland Fleddermann

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

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

Ultra-compact nanowire lasers for application in nanophotonics

This project aims to investigate the concepts and strategies required to produce electrically injected semiconductor nanowire lasers by understanding light interaction in nanowires, designing appropriate structures to inject current, engineer the optical profile and developing nano-fabrication technologies. Electrically operated nanowire lasers would enable practical applications in nanophotonics.

Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC, Professor Hoe Tan

Nanophotonics, metasurfaces, and meta-optics with dielectric nanoparticles

This project will address the recently emerged new platform for nanophotonics based on high-index dielectric nanoparticles that opened a whole new realm of all-dielectric resonant nanophotonics and meta-optics. High-permittivity nanoparticles exhibit strong interaction with light due to the excitation of electric and magnetic Mie-type resonances.

Professor Yuri Kivshar, Dr Sergey Kruk

Coherently combined laser systems for space technologies and free space optical communications

Recent advances in laser technology now enable the combination of multiple high-quality lasers into a single high-power beam. The aim of this project is to investigate such `coherently-combined' laser systems within the context of Earth-to-Space laser transmission. Applications of this technology include satellite laser ranging, clock transfer and free-space optical communications, and space debris tracking and remote manouevring.

Dr Robert Ward, Professor Daniel Shaddock, Dr Lyle Roberts

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

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

Gas sensing of carbon dioxide

This project has a strong industrial link, and investigates using resonator optics to enhance the measurement sensitivity of the molecular absorption of light.

Dr Jong Chow, Dr Timothy Lam, Mr Jarrod Dong

Micro-ring lasers for integrated silicon photonics

The project aims to investigate compound semiconductor micro-ring lasers on silicon substrates using selective area growth to engineer the shape of the lasing cavity at the nano/micro-scale. This project will open up new doors to the industry since an integrated laser which is reliable, efficient and easily manufacturable is still elusive in Si photonics.

Professor Hoe Tan, Professor Chennupati Jagadish AC

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:  15 January 2019/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPE/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster