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Droplet Lasers

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)
    Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

Project Description

The following PhD project is available for both domestic and international students starting in early 2019 to work with Prof. David McGloin in a newly established laboratory at the University of Technology Sydney. The goals of the lab are to develop new optical instrumentation with applications in light-matter interactions, aerosol science, biophotonics and imaging.

The ideal candidate will have a strong honours degree or equivalent in an area such as physics, photonics, physical chemistry, environmental engineering, electronic engineering or other related backgrounds.

Closing date for next intake
Australian Domestic students: 30th April 2019 (for commencement July 2019) or 30 September 2019 (for commencement January 2020)
International Candidates: 30 June 2019 (for commencement January 2020)

Project: Droplet Lasers
Some of the first lasers to be developed were based on spherical resonators and an idea called ‘whispering gallery resonances’ in which light can enter the sphere and then, through total internal reflection, can propagate around the inside of the sphere. This allows a high intracavity light field to be generated, sufficient to provide laser action.

With the development of alternative, and more practical laser resonator designs, the spherical resonator never really caught on. Renewed interest has come in recent years with the development of a very different kind of laser: the droplet laser. These devices are made of liquid, with a laser gain material dissolved inside. They are typically microscopic in size, emit tiny amounts of light, and due to their interaction with the environment can be tuned through growth and evaporation.

In this project the goal will be to explore the use of droplet lasers in two forms:

Airborne lasers that can be localised and held using a technique called optical tweezers. This will allow a number of studies to be undertaken making use of a single droplet laser that can be repeatedly probed. These will include applied studies such as comparison between the sensitivity of a droplet laser to measure interactions with the surrounding environment and a conventional droplet cavity, and more fundamental studies exploring optical coupling between droplets and fibres, in particular exploring the trapping stability limits needed for such experiments.
To develop a different class of droplet laser based on liquid crystal droplets. These make use of Bragg reflection rather than whispering gallery modes to confine the light within the cavity, and as they have more mechanical stability that liquids such as water, they offer a broader range of applications in media other than air. This part of the project will focus on the basic properties of such lasers, coupling mechanisms and sensing applications, especially in bioanalytical devices.
The project may also offer the opportunity to explore biological droplet laser systems and explore the practicality of developing sensors in these devices.

Other Opportunities
Other projects may be possible in the general area of optical manipulation, optical beam shaping, THz beamshaping, aerosol microfluidics, optical microscopy, cellular mechanobiology, Raman spectroscopy, computational microscopy. Contact Prof. McGloin for more info.

About the Faculty

The Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology at UTS is a world-class faculty with a growing reputation for its quality and impact. Our research is highly advanced, industry-focused and part of the lively and rigorous research culture at UTS.

Focused on ’practical innovation’, our researchers are pioneering research solutions with real-world impact. They’re recognised leaders in their fields, responsible for delivering new, better and more cost-effective innovative solutions to current national and international challenges.

Over the last five years, the Faculty has received more than 60 Australian Research Council projects and attracted a total research funding well in excess of $30 million.

About the University

UTS is a dynamic and innovative university in central Sydney. One of Australia’s leading universities of technology, UTS has a distinct model of learning, strong research performance and a leading reputation for engagement with industry and the professions.

UTS has a culturally diverse campus life and vibrant international exchange study and research programs that prepare graduates for the workplaces of today and the future.

Our world leading research centres span a range of disciplines, including physical, biological and engineering sciences, and contemporary fields such as design, nanotechnology and sustainability. Our researchers provide practical and relevant solutions to issues of national and international importance and equip graduates with the latest discipline specific skills and practices.

Funding Notes

Scholarships Available

Scholarships are tax-free and valued at $27,082 pa (indexed annually) for 3 years.

Top-up scholarships, up to a maximum value of $12,000pa (for 3 years), may also be allocated to exceptional domestic candidates awarded competitive scholarships. Additionally, fee-waiver scholarships may be available for highly qualified international candidates.

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