The University of Technology Sydney (UTS)   


From novel and designer materials and devices and instruments to smart diagnostics and infrastructure across photonic, quantum and IoT applications, we have extensive experience and networks built over decades working with mainstream industry both locally and globally as well as establishing direct startups to exploit Australian technology across the world. For both industry and academic collaborations, as well as commercial and consultancy advice, please contact iPL here: 


Press alert: Post Doc postion on advanced medical health technology using photonics with two hospitals. Must have strong background in clinical diagnostics within western hospitals and photonics and/or optics. For confidential inquiries please contact POSITION.
  • Congratulations to team from Japan [2019] who have confirmed Canning's concepts on how thin film self-assembled water explains the origins of optical poling and the potential for thin film devices [2017, 2018] proposal of water based nonlinear devices. A provisional patent on thin film applications was filed in 2018. Although this recent work claims to be the first interface based device, that credit probably goes back to the original fibre poling work of the nineties by Fujiwara where water interfaces were present in the capillaries, generating large electro-optic effects. Opportunity to take the provisional patent to full pct on photonic and electronic applications of water exists - CONTACT.
  • Congratulatons to Mr Luke Gordon for being accepted into the ATP Cicada Innovations MedTech Program as he seeks to commercialise work on novel optical treatments of human patients.
  • Paper on silica fibre from 3D printed preforms is the top downloaded OSA Optics Letters paper in Nov 2019.
  • Congratulations to the SmartCrete CRC team for getting through to Stage 2 with up to 90 milion dollars of resources combined across its partner nodes. iPL through UTS is a partner with proposed projects on smart concrete led by Dr. Nadarajah Gowriplan and Prof John Canning. This particular CRC brings together similar research across universities in an important and contemporary sector. This builds on the collaboration between iPL and civil engineering in the smart construction infrastructure and materials space and adds to the growing smart construction technology space being built at UTS.
  • A report on comparing fibre gratings written into standard fibres and structured optical fibres exposed to radiation using the facilities at ANSTO in NSW will be presented by Prof. Stephen Hinckley from Edith Cowan University at ANZCOP to be held in Melbourne this year. A long term collaborator, his team has been leading the way on radiation studies of fibre gratings for sensing and other applications in the nuclear sector.
  • Congratulations to this year's oustanding visiting French students as part of ongoing collaborative exercises with Universite Saclay. Of particular note, Ms Asma Ziyani's work on 3D encapsulated gratings excited many attendees at APOS in New Zealand. Mr Nathan Loheac demonstrated the world's first 3D printed single mode optical rib waveguides using direct laser writing, building off the outstanding past work of visiting Irish student Mr Padraic Flanagan. Mr. Thomas Saxod and Mr Maximillien Combrouse reported the worlds first 3D printed ceramic/polymer hybrids using DLP, a start to designer 3D printing for the contruction technology sector. 
  • Prof Canning reported on the novel use of optical traction in combination with plasmon excitation to demonstrate very low power optical manipulation of water drops on a surface. The ability to tune an optical liquid lens this way was reported at APOS in NZ. This work revealed that the dominant effect of optical tweezer manipulation in polar liquid hosts is likely to be manipulation of the surrounding solvent layers which potentialy shield the dielectric particles. More details can be found in the MRS Communications on this topic.
  • Ms Ghazal Tafti, cosupervised at UNSW by Canning & Peng, presented two parts of some very nice work improving existing qualitative models on fitting symmetric structured optical fibres with greater accuracy and physical meaning at APOS in NZ and at WSOF in Charlston USA. 
  • Congratulations to our collaborative Brazilian colleagues, Galvão et al., led by Prof Cicero Martelli at UTFPR in Parana who presented work on smart biomechanics using optical fibre sensors at CLEO in the US. Optical sensing of artifical limbs, horse shoes and more promises to revolutionise health and disabled care potentially making smart limbs that can create a next generation of superhumans and animals.
  • Congratulations to Dr Mojtaba Golzan whose activities to spinout a smart eye field based ophthalmology unit has attracted interested from commercial investment. The terms were unstisfactory in equity distribution but nonetheless the unusual industrial interest shows the value placed by commercial parties in the technology. This reflects high value and Dr. Golzan remains committed to reasonable arrangements with appropriate investors that will ensure the success of the technology. For more on these opportunities CONTACT.
  • Welcome to Mr Yitao Wang from Universite de Paris Sud. Yitao is undertaking a PhD in photosensitivity and has been working on pioneering results for grating writing in optical fibre made from 3D printed preforms. In a joint research activity with Prof Matthieu Lancry at the Universite Saclay we have demonstrated the first fs and UV laser processing of 3D printed optical fibres including successful writing of ultra strong gratings.
  • Congratulations to Dr. Kevin Cook and Dr. Tim Chen for their CAPEX funding to support iPL work on developing sensors within 3D printed orthotics. Welcome to Mr. Zhongyang Hao a regular student intern from UNSW who has been funded to work this project. This work complements related work on smart horse shoes and disabled orthotics pioneered by iPL partner Prof. Cicero Martelli at UTFPR in Brazil. A recent report has been presented at the regions most important optical sensing event - the Asia Pacific optical Sensors (APOS) conference held this year in Auckland New Zealand which alternates with OFS every 18 months.
  • Congratulations to Dr Sandra Ast whose startup company AusSI Systems has beeen successfully awarded a key patent in advanced smart diagnostics. The work has attracted international interest in the startup. Dr Ast has decided to remain in Australia.
  • In joint collaborative work with Prof Gang-Ding Peng at UNSW, we welcome Mr. Yushi Zhu completing his final year of his PhD at UTS working on 3D printing of optical fibres. Yushi was also funded to spend the previous year at UNSW.
  • In ongoing collaboration with the University of Sydney, School of Medicine's Dr. Daniel Johnstone, we welcome newly started PhD student Mr. Luke Gordon working on advanced medical diagnostics.
  • Changing face of the humble warehouse: Tech Lab is an experiment at utilising existing space for state-of-the-art laboratories and iPL leads the way More

Media articles: 3D printing silica optical fibres and its impact.

The following articles comment on the pioneering work we recently reported demonstrating the fabrication of the world's first silica optical fibre from 3D printed preforms. Germanosilicate and bismuth/Er fibres have been fabricated in a collaboration between iPL and UNSW NFF. This promises to be a major disruption in optical fibre fabrication and consequently all IoT, communications and quantum technologies. This activity will accelerate the next stage in fibre fabrication where CVD processes for many fibres can be replaced with 3D printing enabling new designs hitherto impossible. This demonstration was possible through the 3D printing expertise at the interdisciplinary Photonics Laboratories (iPL), in UTS and the optical fibre fabrication facilities of the National Fibre Facility (NFF) at UNSW. These activities involve multiple partner collaborators locally and globally including from Universite de Saclay in France.

Paper on silica fibre from 3D printed preforms is the top downloaded OSA Optics Letters paper in Nov 2019.


World first: silica optical fibres drawn from 3D printed preforms

A joint collaboration between the interdisciplinary Photonics Laboratories (iPL) led by Prof Canning at Tech Lab, UTS and the National Fibre Facility led by Prof Peng at UNSW has resulted in the first silica glass fibres drawn from 3D printed preforms (Figure 1).

Using local technology and design, from the 3D printer to the custom-design draw towers, this work builds off the earlier pioneering work of the group in demonstrating the first fibre of any material drawn from a 3D printed preform, already significant given the role it can play in polymer optics for data centres and more. Despite the enthusiastic stream of members joining the 3D printing fibre club after these initial polymer demonstrations, silica has remained the unconquered Holy Grail. Immense material challenges, including high temperatures, has inhibited progress but a novel combination of materials and extended nanoparticle integration has become the first means of overcoming this barrier, paving the way for an anticipated flurry of research activity worldwide. It offers the most significant potential for disrupting photonics, which underpins the internet of things (IoT), and, consequently, the world as we know today.

Prof Canning notes: “The reason why this is so significant: nearly all fibre today is based on a highly skilled, labour intensive design and fabrication process where material in tubes is spun on a lathe so the design has to be centred. This is one of the greatest sources of cost in fibre manufacture as well as its limitations – yet, fibre optic cables underpin global communications, the internet and indeed increasingly our very identity as surveyed social creatures. I recognised very early on that additive manufacturing was well suited to disrupt all these aspects and that means changing the entire approach to fibre design and purpose – when you look at the coming IoT, this is retrospectively both obvious and essential. Fibre optic sensors, for example, far out perform electronic equivalents both in terms of longevity, calibration and maintenance but they have expensive up-front costs under current fabrication approaches that have prohibited their wider deployment beyond niche high trials in high value industries such as the energy sector (where it’s still somewhat limited).”

Even fancy structured optical fibres, as varied as Fresnel waveguides and spun structured fibres (also pioneered by the team), are assembled manually with a centred design. But Prof Canning reiterates that additive manufacturing disrupts this completely – there is no committed reason why a core, or multiple cores, should be centred or that you have to assemble structures. This first demonstration pioneers this disruption.

Prof Canning further notes: “This amazing development of extended size, high resolution glass printing goes beyond fibre optics for transmission and sensing: it potentially unleashes transformative ceramic and glass technologies for numerous industries including lighting, display and much, much more. It’s only the start with a hell of a lot of work to do, made possible by the unique convergence of shared expertise in 3D printing and optical fibre fabrication. I welcome both industry and the community to engage and collaborate with us to help transform the world as we know it today.”

On a personal note he adds: “I feel this work represents the best of Australian research: democratic with global reach, generous, collaborative, resilient in many respects, and society and community minded – we got here through the personal and community collaborations imbued with the spirit of exploration, the core of what Tech Lab is about. It’s something we’re excited by and something we want to share with those who want to join the journey”.