Our research

Our research

Research in the centre is characterised under five themes referred to as our Research Banners. The details of each Banner are detailed below along with the participating research groups. See below a complete list of the centre research groups.

Our research banners

Photonic sources/ Laser applications

The US National Academy of Engineering counts lasers and optical fibre technology as one of the 20 great achievements of the 20th century. MQ Photonics is an international leader in the development of new lasers and photonic sources for science and engineering applications in the 21st century.

Research activities and groups

This traditional strength of Macquarie Photonics and the earlier Centre for Lasers and Applications is a field of research in its own right and an underpinning capability for other research banners. Research activities under this Banner in MQ Photonics include

  • Raman lasers and applications
  • THz photonics
  • Diamond: Raman lasers and optical-engineering
  • Mid IR and high power fibre lasers
  • Novel waveguide lasers
  • Topological beams
  • Tunable ultraviolet lasers
  • Optical trapping and levitation
  • Laser microfabrication

Research groups

For further information please contact: A/Prof David Coutts and A/Prof Stuart Jackson

Natural & engineered optical materials

We use world-leading design and fabrication techniques to create optical waveguides and thin films, nano-powders, and structures that mimic the optical performance of those ‘developed’ in nature as an evolutionary solution to challenges posed by the environment – biomimetic materials.

Research activities and groups

The interaction of these optical structures with light gives us insight not just into fundamental optical physics but also into novel ways in which these structures might be used. The range of applications is wide and diverse, from optical communications to the detection of single molecules. This fundamental knowledge enables us to engineer these optical materials for specific applications. Projects under this Banner that we are presently investigating include:

  • Photonics of spider silks
  • Engineered fluorescent nanoparticles
  • Nano-plasmonics
  • Advanced semiconductor materials and applications

Research groups

Photonics for life and health sciences

We draw on expertise within Macquarie in biomedical engineering, photonic science and technology, and health and life sciences professionals at the University-owned Macquarie Hospital to conduct translational research leading to biomedical instrumentation, bio-optical engineering & diagnostics, and photonic solutions for health care.

Research activities and groups

This translational research is underpinned by fundamental investigations in biophotonics and neurophotonics. Under this banner MQ Photonics has activities in:

  • Advanced microscopy, sensing and imaging
  • Advanced cytometry
  • Neurophotonics
  • THz photonics

Research groups

Photonics for the environment

Photonics is the cornerstone of techniques for sensing and measuring environmental pollutants from industrial processes, trace minerals in soils, and a host of other difficult-to-measure quantities. The information from these techniques guides environmental management practices and helps secure and manage food and water quality. MQ Photonics is already producing sensing chips for specific applications.

Research activities and groups

Photonics is leading the way towards more energy-efficient technologies that will help replace the consumption of non-renewable fossil fuels. Examples of such ‘green photonics’ include the white LED (whose inventors were awarded the Nobel Prize in 2014), which will replace incandescent light globes and dramatically reduce electricity consumption, and solar photovoltaics and light harvesting technologies for solar cells.

MQ Photonics has projects of environmental significance in the following areas:

  • THz photonics
  • Advanced cytometry
  • Photonics of spider silks
  • Photonic sensing of marine environments
  • High resolution molecular spectroscopy

Research groups

For further information please contact: A/Prof Helen Pask, Dr Andrew Lee

Astrophotonics

Through strong collaboration with the Advanced Australian Observatory (AAO), the Centre aims to develop powerful instrumentation for some of the most challenging tasks in modern astronomy, like finding new planets.

Research activities and groups

Nemanja Jovanovic & Nick Cvetojevic at Subaru Telescope celebrating a successful on-sky run

We have developed ingenious integrated photonic systems for use in the next generation of large optical telescopes operating in the visible through to the mid infrared. We use photonics to replace the large, complex spectroscopic and other instrumentation behind the prime focus of the telescope with an integrated photonic chip. Research activities under the Astrophotonics banner include:

Research groups

For further information please contact: Prof Mick Withford

Photo: Dr Nemanja Jovanovic & Dr Nick Cvetojevic at Subaru Telescope celebrating a successful on-sky run.

Quantum photonics - fundamental and applied

In quantum photonics we produce, transmit, and detect single photons. The quantum descriptors of each photon change when measured so quantum science combined with photonics may be the key to the secure communication of information. In addition, we can carry out experiments using single photons that test fundamental concepts of quantum science. With our expertise in sources for generation of single photons, and our waveguide technology that enables these photons to be tightly controlled, we are well-positioned to carry out this research.

Research activities and groups

Our research activities in the exciting field of Quantum Photonics include:

  • Single photon sources
  • Quantum gates
  • Quantum logic
  • Single photon metrology

Research groups

For further information please contact: A/Prof Michael Steel

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