Macquarie’s Physical Sciences are well above world standard. We are a hub of world-leading discipline expertise with particular research excellence in astronomical and space sciences and optical physics. Macquarie has a 35-year record of excellence in optics and laser physics, and Macquarie’s AAO team of experts builds on the University’s existing strengths in astronomy, photonics, laser technology, microfabrication, applied optics, sensing, and communications.
Physical sciences research at Macquarie University builds on an historical base in optical, plasma and condensed matter experimental physics. Research has now expanded into astronomy, biophotonics, nanooptics, and theory and experimentation in quantum optics.
Macquarie has a 35-year record of excellence in optics and laser physics, most recently hosting two major nodes of Australian Research Council (ARC) Centres of Excellence (CoE): for Ultrahigh Bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (2002–10, and 2011–17) and for Nanoscale Biophotonics (2014–20).
Macquarie University has a strong track record in theoretical quantum research. The University hosted a node of the ARC CoE in Quantum Computer Technology (2002–10) and now hosts a major node of the ARC CoE for Engineered Quantum Systems (2011–18, 2018–24).
Diamond Raman lasers have applications in defence, and Macquarie has collaborated with the US Army and Air Force on scaling Raman lasers to higher power, as well as working with diamond fabricator Element Six on measuring and improving material properties for laser applications. Macquarie participated in the CSIRO On Prime training course in 2016, during which we engaged with end users on potential applications. Macquarie’s applied Raman physics also encompasses yellow lasers. The University holds several patents in this area, one of which has been licensed to Optos for retinal surgery.
Small scale, big impact
Macquarie’s OptoFab has led the world in advanced manufacturing using lasers to remove or add very thin layers of material (ablation), enabling the development and commercialisation of products across the pharmaceutical, defence and optical sectors. It has pioneered additive and subtractive micromachining at a standard that surpasses many US and EU competitors.
Cochlear sources its micromachining research and development needs from OptoFab. OptoFab also consults on technical specifications for government and corporate optical fabrication facilities and runs equipment training placements. OptoFab’s advanced manufacturing has contributed to the discovery of gravity waves and improving optical fibres. It has increased the profitability of many companies that contract its services.
3. Approach to impact
University Research Centres
MQ Photonics Research Centre
Director: Prof Judith Dawes
Centre for Quantum Engineering
Director: Prof Gavin Brennen
Centre for Diamond Science and Technology (CDST)
Director: Prof Jason Twamley
Astronomy, Astrophysics and Astrophotonics Research
Director: Prof Mark Wardle
ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum
Contact: Dr Thomas Volz
ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics
Contact: Prof Nicki Packer