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Postgraduate Opportunities in CQOS

CQOS welcomes enquiries from academically strong and motivated students wanting to undertake a PhD, MSc or Honours at Swinburne.

Reasons for coming to CQOS for your higher degree include:

  • Exciting projects, in the areas of femtosecond laser applications, atom optics, laser trapping and cooling of atoms and molecules and theoretical physics.
  • Well-equipped, modern laboratories and facilities
  • A new computer at a comfortable workstation
  • A positive and supportive study environment

Swinburne offers a number of competitive scholarship opportunities. Interested students are encouraged to apply.

Research Training Program Stipends (RTPS) (formerly Australian Postgraduate Awards) are available to Australian and New Zealand students wishing to undertake PhD study. Initial contact should be made directly to a potential supervisor. Swinburne has one round each year for APAs with a closing date of mid October. The application process and application form are found here.

Swinburne University Postgraduate Research Awards (SUPRAs) are open to all students wishing to undertake PhD study. Entry requirements, including Swinburne's strict English language requirements are outlined here. For SUPRAs the initial application is made via CQOS. Initial contact should be made directly to a potential supervisor. Once a supervisor has agreed to support the application, the application form should be completed and sent to the supervisor, along with transcripts and an expression of interest explaining why you would like to undertake postgraduate study in CQOS. Applicants should also arrange for two referees' reports using this form to be sent to CQOS. The next deadline for applying for a SUPRA scholarship through CQOS is Friday 17 November 2017

CQOS has projects available for good research students.

Link to Theoretical Physics projects available

Experimental Physics Ph.D. projects available:

Revealing Novel Physics in semiconductor nanostructures
Supervisor: Dr Jeff Davis
This project will build on recent developments in our group that have revealed new physics in semiconductor nanostructures.  The primary focus will be on exploring the excitons in these nanostructures and the transition from non-interacting to strongly interacting. The experiments will utilise a highly sensitive coherent multidimensional spectroscopy experiment, which has allowed us to explore new parameter regimes.  This experiment and the many variations that have been developed provide direct insight into interactions between excitons that can be: co-located or well-separated; in the dilute limit or in the many-body limit; and spatially  zero-, one-, or two-dimensional.  The capability to fully explore these parameter regimes promises to reveal new and exciting physics.

  Exploring the role of quantum coherence and electronic-vibrational coupling in photosynthesis
Supervisor: Dr Jeff Davis
Recent work has identified the presence of long-lived coherences amongst different molecules within some light-harvesting complexes involved in photosynthesis. Using the techniques developed here at Swinburne, we are able to study directly these quantum mechanical processes in detail. This project will explore the role of quantum coherence and electronic-vibrational coupling in photosynthesis by studying the dynamics of both coherent and classical energy transfer, within the isolated molecules and between the molecules within light-harvesting complexes. The ultimate aim is to develop an in depth understanding of the mechanisms responsible for the efficient energy transfer in photosynthesis.
Understanding biochemical interactions UV Coherent Multidimensional Spectroscopy
Supervisor: Dr Jeff Davis

The aim of this project is to extend coherent multidimensional spectroscopy techniques that have been developed at Swinburne into the near-UV spectral region, and utilse them to understand complex biochemical interactions. Coherent multidimensional spectroscopy is a rapidly advancing technique, with variations that are capable of resolving quantum coupling, many-body effects, energy transfer pathways and dynamics, as well as structural information. This project will make use of these techniques to directly probe the electronic states of the relevant protein components that drive biochemical interactions. This is achieved without the need for fluorescent tags and will provide insight into the dynamics and mechanisms of such highly complex interactions.

Multidimensional spectroscopy with nm spatial resolution
Supervisor: Dr Jeff Davis

This project will extend current multidimensional spectroscopy approaches by adding high spatial resolution. Standard microscopy approaches have been implemented but are limited in their spatial resolution by the diffraction limit of light. One way of exceeding the diffraction limit is to move into the near-field. Recent theory work has identified a means of performing CMDS with nanometre resolution using plasmonic structures to localise one or more of the excitation pulses. The quantitative information from such experiments has the potential to disentangle complex hybrid wave functions into wave functions of the individual emitters.
The primary aim of this project will be to develop a scheme for CMDS with nm spatial resolution.  This will then present many exciting opportunities to explore the interactions between different systems of very different length scales.  Possible applications of this technique involving other project areas within our group include coherent coupling between well-separated quantum dots or CMDS experiments on a single light-harvesting complex, or even local excitation of specific chromophores within a single light-harvesting complex.

Stimulated Surface-Enhanced Raman Optical Activity
Supervisor: Dr Jeff Davis
Raman optical activity uses circularly polarized light to probe the optical activity of chiral molecules. The phenomenon is observed as a small difference in the intensity of Raman scattering from right- and left-circularly polarized incident light. The distinctive chiroptical features of many biomolecules, such as proteins and DNA, play an important functional role in living organisms. Many drugs can exist in different enantiomeric (mirror image) states that can display markedly different chemical and biochemical reactivities. Indeed, the mirror-image versions are often ineffective, or even harmful. This project will develop a Stimulated Surface-Enhanced Raman Optical Activity experiment with femtosecond time resolution. This will enable the observation of ultrafast structural changes such as those occurring during protein folding or asymmetric chemical reactions.
  Simulating the early Universe with ultracold atoms
Supervisor: Prof Andrei Sidorov
The area of ultracold atoms is a burgeoning field of research with an amazing ability to mimic complex physical phenomena in a table-top experiment under clean and carefully controlled conditions. This experimental project focuses on the application of an ultracold gas of a two-component Bose-Einstein condensate (2CBEC) as a quantum simulator of the early Universe inflation. Under appropriate conditions the scalar field describing the cosmological "Big Bang" and the relative phase of two Bose condensates are described by the same equation, with terms analogous to the speed of light and the Hubble constant. The experimental PhD project will involve the production of a 2CBEC with tunable atomic interactions in an existing advanced apparatus and the search for bubble nucleation and its growth in the relative phase dynamics, resembling the distribution of the cosmological microwave background radiation. This PhD project will closely collaborate with the Theoretical Physics group in our Centre.
  Superfluidity in 2D Fermi gases
Supervisor: Dr Chris Vale
Gases of neutral atoms cooled to a few tens of nanoKelvin have opened the way to the creation of new states of matter in which quantum effects are visible at a macroscopic scale. At these ultra cold temperatures, atoms with half integer spin can pair up and form a superfluid in analogy with electrons in a superconductor. Our group has established the technique of Bragg spectroscopy as a quantitative tool to characterize this pairing and to understand universal properties of Fermi superfluids. This project will examine these universal features in a fermionic gas confined to a 2D plane. In two-dimensions the character of a superfluid changes dramatically and the properties of 2D Fermi superfluids are largely unexplored. This PhD project will investigate these questions experimentally in regimes where theory is unable to provide exact predictions.
Parametric and nonparametric nonlinear processes for remote sensing
Supervisors: Dr Alexander Akulshin and Prof. Russell McLean
The interaction of resonant low-power laser light with atoms can produce coherence between atomic levels. Long-lived ground-state coherence is a key element of remarkable phenomena that have received widespread attention, such as slow/fast light, storage of light, and nonlinear processes with only a few photons. The aim of this joint project (with the Budker group at Helmholtz Institute Mainz/UC Berkeley) is a detailed experimental investigation, using room temperature alkali vapours, of parametric and nonparametric nonlinear processes that underpin the conversion of laser radiation into spatially and temporally coherent light with substantially different wavelengths, a process which shows promise for distant sensing, remote magnetometry and even laser guide star techniques. The investigation of quantum correlations and entanglement between optical fields generated is another important component of the proposed research. Quantum correlations may help to implement so-called ghost-imaging, in which the imaging of an object can be done at a wavelength different that at which the object is illuminated.
Magnetic lattices for ultracold atoms
Supervisors: Prof. Peter Hannaford, Prof. Andrei Sidorov and Prof Russell McLean
Periodic lattice potentials provide an important means for manipulating the properties of ultracold atoms and Bose-Einstein condensates (BECs), allowing a variety of quantum phenomena to be investigated. This project will use a novel approach based on magnetic lattices created by patterned magnetic films on an atom chip to study quantum phenomena associated with the tunnelling of ultracold atoms and BECs between lattice sites. The basic BEC and atom chip apparatus has been constructed and is operational.

Honours projects

Two-component Bose condensate on an atom chip
Supervisors: Prof. Andrei Sidorov and Dr Brenton Hall
The aim of the project is the investigation of coherence properties of a Bose condensate. The project involves the production of a coherent superposition of two quantum states in the condensate using two-photon microwave/radiofrequency fields and studies of coherent evolution of the states in the running Atom Chip I setup.
More details (pdf)
Enhanced nonlinearity and spatial nonlinear effects of coherent atomic media
Supervisors: Alexander Akoulchine and Russell McLean
The aim of this project is the study of spatial nonlinear effects, such as self-focusing, diffraction and waveguiding, in atomic media with light-induced ground-state coherences. There is a room for modelling and theory within this mainly experimental project. Through involvement in the project you will learn fundamental aspects of atomic physics and quantum mechanics and will obtain hands-on experience with high-resolution laser spectroscopy..
More details (pdf)
Molecular condensates and Degenerate Fermi gases
Supervisors: Chris Vale, Peter Hannaford
In the cold molecules lab we have several research programs underway which use 6Li gas cooled to quantum degeneracy. Our primary goals are to study Bragg scattering of paired superfluids, coherence properties of molecular BECs and p-wave molecule formation. We have PhD and Honours level projects available in these areas.
High Harmonics Generation of Extreme Ultraviolet Beam
Supervisor: Dr Lap Van Dao
The generation of extreme ultraviolet pulse using high power femtosecond laser is a very exciting topic not only for study of the interaction between intense laser field and matters but also for application such as coherent diffraction imaging. The aim of this project is to design different cell for generation of high harmonics in gas medium. The properties of emission especial the quasi-phase matching will be studied.

For more details contact Professor Russell McLean or contact the first supervisor directly