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

Photonics, Lasers and Nonlinear Optics

Quantum photonics with nanostructured metasurfaces

Metasurface can the generation and manipulation of polarization-entangled photon pairs at the nanoscale.

Dr Jinyong Ma, Prof Andrey Sukhorukov, Dr Jihua Zhang

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.

Distinguished Prof David McClelland, Professor Daniel Shaddock, Dr Bram Slagmolen

Coherently combined laser systems for breakthrough starshot and beyond

Recent advances in laser technology now enable the combination of multiple high-quality lasers into a single high-power beam. This project aims to investigate such 'coherently-combined' laser systems within the context of Earth-to-Space laser transmission. Applications of this technology include space debris tracking, free-space optical communications, and propulsion of light-sails for interstellar travel, such as Breakthrough Starshot.

Dr Chathura Bandutunga , Dr Paul Sibley, A/Prof Michael Ireland

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

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, Dr Jinyong Ma

Nanoscale light sources with extreme parameters: high harmonics in subwavelength resonators

The project researchers generation of high optical harmonics -- sources of light with extreme properties: very short wavelengths and  very short time scale. We aim to miniaturise such sources of light to the nanoscale

Dr Sergey Kruk

Nanowire photodetectors for photonic and quantum systems

Semiconductor nanowires are emerging nano-materials with substantial opportunities for novel photonic and quantum 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

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

Developing ultra-high resolution optical meta-surface sensors

The project aims to develop methods to improve the sensitivity of optical metasurfaces for the detection of chemical and biological markers. By tailoring a high-precision optical interferometric sensing solution to the optical properties of a metasurface under-test, the project will improve the sensitivity of these devices, developing a new range of targeted ultra-precise metasurface sensors.

Dr Chathura Bandutunga , Prof Dragomir Neshev

Light control with tunable metasurfaces

This project aims to develop several liquid crystal-based tunable devices that can dynamically control light waves. This can be achieved by integrating liquid crystals with composite structures called metasurfaces. By applying external stimuli such as temperature, electric or magnetic field we can observe some fascinating effects in light propagation. The development of such metasurfaces holds an exceptional potential for the next generation of compact tunable optical systems that will find applications in sensing, ranging, and imaging.

Professor Ilya Shadrivov, Dr Yana Izdebskaya

Fibre optic sensor arrays for vibrometry and acoustic sensing

By leveraging hybrid digital-optical methods, we develop new distributed and quasi-distributed fibre-optic acoustic sensors. These acoustic sensors aim to measure vibration, strain and displacement all while localising the signal source along an optical fibre.

Dr Chathura Bandutunga , Dr Paul Sibley, A/Prof Malcolm Gray

Nonlinear topological photonics

The project bridges the fundamental physics of topological phases with nonlinear optics. This promising synergy is expected to unlock advanced functionalities for applications in optical sources, frequency combs, isolators and multiplexers, switches and modulators, both for classical and quantum light. 

Dr Daria Smirnova

Engineering optical chirality with nanotechnology

Many phenomena in nature, including multiple chemical and biological processes, are governed by the fundamental property of chirality. An object is called chiral when its mirror image cannot be superimposed with the original object. Many examples of chirality can be found in nature, from seashells to DNA molecules.
 

Professor Yuri Kivshar, Mr Kirill Koshelev, Dr Sergey Kruk

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

Engineering Inter-spacecraft laser links

Inter-satellite laser links are an emerging technology with applications in Earth Observation, telecommunications, security, and, the focus of the CGA space technology group.

A/Prof Kirk McKenzie, Dr Andrew Wade

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

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

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

Low-noise offset-phase locking and heterodyne interferometry with 2µm-band lasers

Gravitational wave detectors have reached the thermodynamic limit of optical coating performance and require novel coating materials and noise mitigation techniques for further sensitivity improvements. This project is to implement a phase tracking system for the optical beat between two 2µm-band lasers for coating thermal noise measurements.

Dr Johannes Eichholz, Dr Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

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 suspended optical cavities.  

Dr Bram Slagmolen

Measurement of optical and mechanical losses of mirror coatings

Gravitational wave detectors have reached the thermodynamic limit of optical coating performance and require novel coating materials and noise mitigation techniques for further sensitivity improvements. This project is to construct an experiment that measures oscillation amplitude decays of mechanical systems for determining key properties of optical coatings.

Dr Johannes Eichholz, Dr Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

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

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, Dr Jinyong Ma, Dr Jihua Zhang, Prof Dragomir Neshev

Nanowire lasers for applications 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, Professor Hoe Tan

Satellite based geodesy

Precise Earth gratitational field measurements with laser-ranging interferometry.

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

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

Tracking noisy lasers using digitally enhanced fibre interferometers

High precision optical measurement requires the development and deployment of highly stable laser sources. The first step towards stabilising a laser is tracking and measuring it's phase noise. This project aims to develop new signal processing and optical methods to track and stabilise cheap noisy lasers for precision measurement.

Dr Chathura Bandutunga , A/Prof Malcolm Gray, Dr Paul Sibley

Higher-order spatial mode optical cavity analysis for thermal noise measurements

Gravitational wave detectors have reached the thermodynamic limit of optical coating performance and require novel coating materials and noise mitigation techniques for further sensitivity improvements. This project investigates the behaviour of higher order spatial laser modes in optical resonators for measuring coating thermal noise directly.

Dr Johannes Eichholz, Dr Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

Optical metamaterials: from science fiction to transformative optical technologies

Experimental and theoretical work on the development of novel nanostructured materials with unusual optical properties. Special attention to our research is the development of tunable and functional nanostructured metamaterials that interact strongly with light. Such materials underpin novel optical technologies ranging from wearable sensors to night-vision devices.

Prof Dragomir Neshev, Dr Andrei Komar, Dr Mohsen Rahmani

Nanoscale optical isolators: disruptive nanotechnology to control light

This project combines theoretical and experimental research on novel approaches to control propagation of light in nonreciprocal ways, similar to ways we control directions of electric currents with semiconductor diodes and transistors. We aim to achieve a radical miniaturisation of nonreciprocal photonics to the nanoscale.

Dr Sergey Kruk

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

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

Nanowire infrared avalanche photodetectors towards single photon detection

This project aims to demonstrate semiconductor nanowire based infrared avalanche photodetectors (APDs) with ultra-high sensitivity towards single photon detection. By employing the advantages of their unique one-dimensional nanoscale geometry, the nanowire APDs can be engineered to different device architectures to achieve performance superior to their conventional counterparts. This will contribute to the development of next generation infrared photodetector technology enabling numerous emerging fields in modern transportation, communication, quantum computation and information processing.

Professor Lan Fu, Dr Zhe (Rex) Li, Professor Chennupati Jagadish

Metaphotonics and Mie-tronics with resonant dielectric structures

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 Mie-resonant nanophotonics or Mie-tronics. High-index dielectric nanoparticles exhibit strong interaction with light due to the excitation of electric and magnetic dipolar Mie-type resonances.

Professor Yuri Kivshar, Dr Sergey Kruk

Optical sensors for inertial navigation

This project develops fibre optic instruments based on optical interferometry and digital signal processing for the purpose of inertial navigation.

Dr Chathura Bandutunga , Dr Paul Sibley, A/Prof Malcolm Gray, Mr Justin Wong

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

High-bandwidth stabilisation of a 2µm-band laser

Gravitational wave detectors have reached the thermodynamic limit of optical coating performance and require novel coating materials and coating noise suppression techniques for further sensitivity improvements. This project is to design a high-bandwidth feedback control system to stabilise the intensity and frequency of a 2µm-band laser for investigations of thermal noise in experimental mirror coatings.

Dr Johannes Eichholz, Dr Bram Slagmolen, Distinguished Prof David McClelland

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

Updated:  19 August 2022/ Responsible Officer:  Director, RSPhys/ Page Contact:  Physics Webmaster