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Honours Projects

2011 Honours Projects 

Interdisciplinary and multidisciplinary research is clearly driving entire fields these days so being prepared to face challenging and diverse frontiers to make genuine contributions in science and engineering is without a doubt as exciting as it gets. Projects in the areas described below can be tailored to suit your interests - there are also many other options. Projects involve a number of colleagues including Prof. Maxwell Crossly, Dr. Mattias Aslund, Dr. Kevin Cook, Prof. Reimers, Dr. Torsten Helting (Biorprocess Ltd Pty) and many others.

Self-Assembled Photonics 

Self-assembly and its application to photonics is a revolution in the making. Novel robust self assembled aromatic chain systems compatible with CMOS are driving new optical switches, whilst self–assembled mesostructures in silica are the latest platform for targeted drug delivery and imaging. Projects will build on recent breakthroughs within our group combining porphyrins, self assembly, and silica and silicon technologies, including photonic crystal fibres.

New Directions in Biophotonics 

There is an urgent need for developing novel interrogation techniques to read protein, DNA and other assays rapidly, accurately and cheaply. Novel glass technologies and interrogation with new markers makes this a multidisciplinary project which is potentially paradigm shifting. 

Extreme Silica Photonics 

Fibre Bragg gratings that survive beyond 1300°C have transformed photonic devices, raising an awareness of their potential in the new field of extreme photonics, whether it be temperature measurements in smelters, intense optical fields within fibre lasers or structural health monitoring on spacecraft and in radiation environments.  The optical fibre acts as a superb miniature processing laboratory that can help provide fundamental information on glass transformations particularly within complex glassy systems. Projects in this area will explore fundamentals as well as applications of this technology to lasers and sensing.

Optically Interrogated Chemical Sensors

Chemical sensing, especially in the energy and environmental sectors, is one of the fastest growing research fields in photonics. The silica fibre host is perhaps the most desirable technology platform for a number of reasons including the ability to perform safe and remote interrogation and to have multi-functionality. Various project opportunities to develop novel sensors in fibre and integrated form are available. In particular, laser processing of surfaces is an extremely important project to both understand and control robust attachment of molecules to surfaces.

Fibre Laboratories 

Structured optical fibres such as Fresnel fibres, photonic crystal fibre and others potentially enable the development of new portable, disposal photonic micro sensor laboratories for diagnostics. Mass production through fibre fabrication has meant they are potentially cheaper than lab-on-a-chip technologies where the functionality required is only one or a few sensors and disposability. However, significant research is required to bring this technology to reality and this project will begin the first steps towards achieving that. Ion beam processing is a technique we applied to engineer optical fibres. It allows one to access holes within structured fibres and to even make functional devices such as active grating devices. These holes can be filled with functional materials. However, it is not a fully understood process and this project will work towards optimising the process and better understanding how it works and how to best implement it for specific applications.

Fibres are also natural micro laboratories for the study of many processes, increasing efficiency whilst allowing smaller quantities to be used. They also offer a powerful new tool in the study of glass transformations, especially those involving more than one component, potentially providing key insights into the glassy state as well as novel devices.

Fibre Lasers

Lasers covering high power operation and tunable DFB structures are explored in this project. Specific target applications including ultra stable operation for chemical and gaseous sensing require optimisation of the cavity and laser properties such as linewidth. DFB fibre lasers are often kHz in linewidth making them ultra sensitive to many effects.