We use supercomputers and conduct experiments in labs to investigate nonlinear processes that occur, such as when laser light propagates in an optical fibre, when ultrasound waves propagate through water with gas bubbles and when liquid drops change their shape because of vibration. The ability to understand and use nonlinear processes enables us to resolve technological challenges as well as help address questions of fundamental importance.

Our research projects

Theoretical and computational photonics 

Our team has a strong history researching theoretical and computational nano- and magneto-plasmonics, photonics and nonlinear optics. Our current focus in this field covers: 

  • UV plasmonic properties of liquid-metal nanoparticles
  • optical imaging and sensing with micro-structured exposed-core fibres
  • fluorescence temperature sensing in biological cells.

Calculated optical intensity distribution around a 100-nm-diameter liquid gallium-alloy nanoparticle in water.

Schematic of a microstructured exposed-core fibre and theoretical mode profile in the fibre core and a thin dielectric layer deposited on top of the core.

Nanomagnetism and strongly coupled photon-magnon systems

We have previously worked on theoretical analysis and experimental investigation of spin waves and ferromagnetic resonance in ferromagnetic thin films and nanostructures. We are now focusing on strong photon-magnon coupling in magneto-insulating structures such as multiresonant antennas.

Conceptual illustration of a multiresonant dielectric antenna that mediates the coupling between different entities such as magnons, electricity, microwaves and light, sound and vibrations, and heat.

Photoacoustics, nonlinear acoustics, gas bubbles and liquid droplets

In this area, our team conducts experimental and theoretical research at an interface between acoustics, fluid dynamics and photonics, with a special focus on nonlinear processes such as harmonic generation and onset of surface Faraday waves.

Schematic of the interaction of light with nonlinearly oscillating gas bubbles in water driven by an ultrasound pressure wave.

Experimental spectra showing the onset of a subharmonic response in a vertically vibrated drop of ethanol.


We’re interested in new methods of bacteria killing and water disinfection from pathogens using UV light. In this area we're investigating fundamental nonlinear effects of nerve pulse propagation in nerve fibres with a particular goal to verify the hypothesis that nerve impulses may propagate as solitons. 

Illustration of the process of water disinfection using (a) spherical cavitation of gas bubbles in water and (b) aspherical cavitation of gas bubbles in water with liquid-metal particles.

Photograph of an anaesthetised earthworm and schematic of the experimental setup used to measure Faraday waves propagating on the surface of the worm. 

Our team

  • Dr Ivan Maksymov (ARC Future Fellow) 
  • Bui Quoc Huy Nguyen (PhD student) 
  • Dr Daniel Stavrevski (RMIT PhD student) 
Are you an Honours or PhD student?

We offer research projects in the broad areas of theoretical and computational photonics, acoustics and fluid mechanics. Experimental projects can also be offered. Contact Dr Ivan Maksymov to discuss your preferred project or check out more project opportunities in other research areas. 

Funding and collaborations

Funding: ARC Future Fellowship, Swinburne SUPRA

Collaboration: Professor Sergey Suslov and Dr Andrey Pototsky (Swinburne), Professor Andrew Greentree (RMIT), Dr Anna Guller (UNSW), Professor Mark Hutchinson (University of Adelaide), Professor Mikhail Kostylev (UWA), Professor Michael Dickey (North Carolina State University, USA), and Professor Anita Mahadevan-Jansen (Vanderbilt University, USA).

Explore our other research programs

Contact the Optical Sciences Centre

There are many ways to engage with us. If your organisation is dealing with a complex problem, get in touch to discuss how we can work together to provide solutions. Call us on +61 3 9214 8096 or email osc@swinburne.edu.au.

Contact us