UNESCO proclaims May 16th as the International Day of Light


On 14 November, the 39th Session of the UNESCO General Conference proclaimed the date of May 16th as the International Day of Light.  The proclamation of this annual International Day will enable global appreciation of the central role that light and light-based technologies play in the lives of the citizens of the world in areas of science, technology, culture, education, and sustainable development. For more info see lightday.org.

PhD graduations

L-R: Stuart Earl, Ann Roberts, Eugene Panchenko, Tim James

Congratulations to Dr Stuart Earl and Dr Eugene Panchenko who were awarded their degrees at the Sir Robert Menzies Oration on the 18th September.

Optics group info session

Prospective Physics MSc students are invited to the optics group information session which will be conducted as a ‘walk and talk’ tour through the group’s laboratories in the Basement and on Level 5 of the David Caro Building. The tour will begin with a brief introduction to the group followed by a walk through our laboratories. There will be an opportunity for informal discussions with group members after the tour.

When: 12 noon Monday 16 October 2017

Where: Level 5 David Caro (Physics) Building

Refreshments provided.

Lukas Wesemann attends student leadership conference at Frontiers in Optics

Attendees at OSA Student Leadership Workshop

Representing our OSA Student Chapter at the 2017 Student Leadership Conference in Washington DC was a great experience for me. Meeting optics students from all over the world strongly motivated me to be an active member of the society – talking to someone in person makes all the difference.  Out of the large range of fascinating talks, a discussion on not-so-linear career planning, lead by Carlos Lopez-Mariscal from Underwater Photonics, impressed me. I’m more than happy to share my insights and contacts with anyone interested!
Lukas Wesemann, PhD student

New research article in Nature Physics

Dr Alex Wood, Professor Robert Scholten are the authors of a new article, ‘Magnetic pseudo-fields in a rotating electron–nuclear spin system’ published in Nature Physics on 7 August. They used quantum sensors, nitrogen–vacancy (NV) centres, in a rapidly rotating diamond to detect pseudo-fields in the rotating frame to explore precession effects via quantum sensing. This defines a new approach to quantum control using rotationally induced nuclear spin-selective magnetic fields and provides an integral step towards realizing precision rotation sensing and quantum spin gyroscopes. The article can be linked from here. An interview with Dr Wood and A/Prof Andy Martin is available at the University of Melbourne Pursuit page.

PhD completion

Congratulations to Eugene Panchenko who completed his PhD studies. Eugene investigated new approaches for elucidating the properties of light. He demonstrated that optoelectronic devices combining metallic nanostructures and semiconducting materials can monitor guided electromagnetic waves or determine the polarisation states or colour of freely propagating light. His findings may enable new approaches to optical imaging, computing and communications.

We are delighted that Eugene is continuing in the group as a research fellow.

Student Chapter update

PhD student Lukas Wesemann was elected the new President of the University of Melbourne OSA student chapter at the AGM on 8 May. Hamid Soleimaninejad (Chemistry) was elected President of the local SPIE chapter.

PhD completion

Congratulations to Dene Murphy on completing requirements for his PhD! Dene used laser cooling of atoms to generate ultracold bunches of electrons and ions for nanoscale imaging. Through a combination of computer simulations and novel experiments his work enabled new insights into the charged particle interactions that limit the brightness of sources used in extreme electron and ion microscopy and nanofabrication.

RHD completions

Stuart Earl (PhD) and Panji Achmari (MPhil) recently received confirmation of successfully completing their degrees. Their citations read:

Stuart … studied the interaction of light with metallic nanoparticles coupled to semiconductor films. He found that their optical properties could be switched by location on temperature-controllable materials, and their presence modified light emission by quantum dots. His studies will inform the development of new ultra-compact optical devices and light sources;


Panji … studied the interaction of focussed optical beams with nanostructured surfaces tailored to have specific electromagnetic properties. He has shown that it is possible to excite their elusive dark modes and subsequently investigated their sensitivity to different illumination strategies. His work will influence future optical sensors and imaging systems.

Congratulations and all the best for bright futures!

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