1. » Dual colour and chirped pulse femtosecond laser micromachining
  2. » Factors affecting nanosecond pulsed laser ablation thresholds
  3. » Laser reduction of graphene oxide – investigations into the mechanism and device performance
  4. » Simultaneous spatial and temporal beam shaping for improved femtosecond laser micromachining
  5. » Transport Variability in a Submarine Canyon - Oceanographic Data Analysis
  6. » Bacteria monitoring using the optrode
  7. » Measurement of bacterial activity using an advanced all-fibre optical system
  8. » Network analysis of obsidian artefacts from pre-European Aotearoa
  9. » Not your usual network
  10. » Emergent Complex Behaviour in an Electromechanical System
  11. » Tissue differentiation using in vivo biomedical imaging
  12. » Nonlinear microscopy using a compact all fiber laser at 1 micron
  13. » Development of an android App for image processing
  14. » Spectroscopy using a Raspberry or beaglebone controlled WiFi camera
  15. » Dynamic Microfluidics: Experiments
  16. » Nanofluidic Modelling
  17. » Convective entrainment: developing radar-based estimates
  18. » Storm or intraseasonal mode? The dynamical response of tropical atmosphere to diabatic heating
  19. » Stratocumulus clouds: explaining the statistical relationship between cloud cover and atmospheric temperature stratification.
  20. » Population synthesis of supernova lightcurves
  21. » The discovery of new 2D materials
  22. » Development and characterisation of novel pillar-like THz waveguides
  23. » THz sensing using plasmonic surfaces
  24. » Phase Transitions in Pedestrian Dynamics
  25. » Optical frequency combs in ultra-high Q microresonators
  26. » Anderson localisation of ultra-cold atoms
  27. » Generating single photons on demand

Dual colour and chirped pulse femtosecond laser micromachining


Project code:  SCI182

Femtosecond laser micromachining is an emerging technology with great potential for use in industrial applications. The short pulse duration greatly reduced thermal damage and heat affected zone, while the multiphoton nature of the ablation process allows this technique to be applied to almost any material. Despite these benefits, femtosecond laser ablation has yet to become widely used industrially, due to its typically slow processing speeds. When ablated material is ejected from the processing site, it forms a plasma that can block some or all of the next incoming pulse. The reflective properties of this plasma are highly wavelength dependent, and it is hypothesised that by using pulses with multiple wavelength, penetration of light through this plasma can be improved. This project will utilise a combination of femtosecond pulses at different wavelengths, and well as chirped pulses, in order to improve laser micromachining efficiency. The project will be performed as part of a team in the Photon Factory, under the supervision of A/Prof. Cather Simpson.

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Factors affecting nanosecond pulsed laser ablation thresholds


Project code:  SCI183

Nanosecond pulsed laser ablation is a well-established microfabrication technique, used industrially for applications such as drilling of inkjet printer nozzles, and surface patterning of various materials. In all these applications, the ablation threshold (minimum pulse fluence required to cause material removal) is a key parameter. Although nanosecond pulsed laser ablation is now a conventional technique, the factors affecting the ablation threshold are still not fully understood. This project will aim to reveal the factors affecting the nanosecond ablation threshold by obtaining literature data and applying multivariate analysis techniques. The project will be performed as part of a team in the Photon Factory, under the supervision of A/Prof. Cather Simpson.

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Laser reduction of graphene oxide – investigations into the mechanism and device performance


Project code:  SCI184

Laser reduction of graphene oxide films is a promising, low cost technique for production of graphene type materials, which have broad applicability in areas such as supercapacitors, holographic images, and chemical sensors. Recent work carried out in the Photon Factory has demonstrated how the mechanism of laser reduction requires both photochemical reduction and thermally assisted structural relaxation [1]. Further investigation is however required, to determine the nature of the thermal assistance required to cause this structural change. In addition to mechanistic investigations, this project will also involve design, fabrication, and testing of flexible electronic devices based on laser reduced graphene oxide, for multiple optical and/or electronic applications. The project will be performed as part of a team in the Photon Factory, under the supervision of A/Prof. Cather Simpson.

[1] Arul, Rakesh, et al. "The mechanism of direct laser writing of graphene features into graphene oxide films involves photoreduction and thermally assisted structural rearrangement." Carbon 99 (2016): 423-431. 

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Simultaneous spatial and temporal beam shaping for improved femtosecond laser micromachining


Project code:  SCI185

Femtosecond laser micromachining is an emerging technology with great potential for use in industrial applications. The short pulse duration greatly reduced thermal damage and heat affected zone, while the multiphoton nature of the ablation process allows this technique to be applied to almost any material. Despite these benefits, femtosecond laser ablation has yet to become widely used industrially, due to its typically slow processing speeds. This project will ultilise advanced spatial light modulator technology for creation of beam shapes including vortex beams and non-diffracting Bessel beams, with a view to improving laser micromachining efficiency. The project will also exploit novel temporal pulse shaping technology developed by industrial collaborators to conduct simultaneous spatial and temporal pulse shaping. The project will be performed as part of a team in the Photon Factory, under the supervision of A/Prof. Cather Simpson.

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Transport Variability in a Submarine Canyon - Oceanographic Data Analysis


Project code:  SCI186

A project based in Wellington with NIWA’s Marine Physics Group, using data analysis tools (Matlab, Python) to analysis ocean datasets looking at fluxes of mass and material in New Zealand’s ocean.  In particular we are looking at one data set with year-long ocean measurements in a submarine canyon off the west Coast of the South Island.  Analyses will include application of interpolation schemes and spectral transformation to look at the important scales of transport.  The project is funded by NIWA through the UoA/NIWA Joint Graduate School in Coastal and Marine Science.

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Bacteria monitoring using the optrode


Project code:  SCI187

The optrode is an all fibre spectroscopic near-real time system able to detect low levels of light upon optical excitation.  We are using this system to monitor bacterial growth and enumerate tagged bacteria. This project will be about enumerating bacteria using the optrode and different experimental conditions, e.g. fluorescent stain, species of bacteria. The student will learn about fluorescence and microbiology.

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Measurement of bacterial activity using an advanced all-fibre optical system


Project code:  SCI188

Cyclic diguanylate is a messenger molecule that coordinates cellular functions associated with bacterial biofilm formation and pathogenicity. Using genetically encoded fluorescent bacteria and Förster (fluorescence) resonance energy transfer (FRET) we can establish rapidly it bacteria are dispersing or aggregating. This project will investigate the feasibility of using an all-fibre optical system to measure the FRET response of bacteria exposed to different conditions, e.g. presence/absence of iron. The student will learn about fluorescence and microbiology, specifically FRET and bacterial biofilms.

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Network analysis of obsidian artefacts from pre-European Aotearoa


Project code:  SCI189

This project will involve working with metadata associated with obsidian artefacts from pre-European Aotearoa. By representing the data as a network with multiple node types, we hope to identify and study the formation and interaction of different social groups.

Some programming ability with a language such as Python would be advantageous. Previous familiarity with social network analysis is desirable, but not necessary.

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Not your usual network


Project code:  SCI190

This project will involve constructing, analysing, and visualising networks from non-traditional data sources. These data sources could be as diverse as topics in parliamentary speeches, through to interactions on a sports field. Depending on the data source, you may end using machine learning, analysis of large datasets, social network analysis, or interactive network visualisation. Some programming ability in Python or JavaScript is desirable. 

Supervisor

Dion O’Neale

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Emergent Complex Behaviour in an Electromechanical System


Project code:  SCI191

The project will require the student to replicate the emergent complex behaviour in a system of metal spheres under the influence of an intense electric field, as reported by Kondepudi, D., et al 2015, Phys. Rev. E 91, 2015.

The student will then record and characterise the complex networks formed under varing boundary and starting conditions, as well as quantifying the effect of varing physical properties of the system.

An interest in creating a semi-analytic model of the physical system would be an advantage, but is not necessary.

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Tissue differentiation using in vivo biomedical imaging


Project code:  SCI192

This project is based on optical coherence tomography (OCT), an interferometric technique that allows high resolution in vivo imaging. The student will learn about the technique of OCT and how to analyse images to extract more information than just the structure of the sample. For example information on the sample can be extracted using the Doppler effect or the image speckle. Information such as sample birefringence, elastic properties and so on can be obtained. Here we aim at measuring tissue elastic properties to differentiate tissue. Ultimately, this work aims at performing in vivo biopsy.

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Nonlinear microscopy using a compact all fiber laser at 1 micron


Project code:  SCI193

The fiber laser group has recently developed a compact all fiber ideally suited for nonlinear microscopy.  We have now built a nonlinear microscope in the biophotonics lab to take advantage of this new source. The project will measure the depth advantage the 1 micron fiber laser has over the more conventional TI:Sa sources. The student will learn about fiber laser and nonlinear microscopy.

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Development of an android App for image processing


Project code:  SCI194

FoodSafe is all about detecting, monitoring and identifying bacteria. This project is about developing an android app to analyse images of bacteria. In particular, we want to measure the spectrum, the size and shape of the bacteria in order to identify them.

This project is suitable for graduate from physics, computer sciences, bioengineering, electrical and computer engineering.

The student will acquire the following skills:

  • Experience in Android development.
  • Experience in computer vision or image processing.
  • Experience in Python and C++ programming
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Spectroscopy using a Raspberry or beaglebone controlled WiFi camera


Project code:  SCI195

FoodSafe is all about detecting, monitoring and identifying bacteria. This project is about automating a 3D motorized stage controller in microscopy as well as the image acquisition from a WIFI camera to image bacteria.

This project is suitable for graduate from physics, computer sciences, bioengineering, electrical and computer engineering.

The student will acquire the following skills:

  • Experience in microprocessor programming (e.g., AVR or Raspberry) via C or other programming languages.
  • Good understanding of analogue electronics.
  • Experience with stepper and servo motors. 
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Dynamic Microfluidics: Experiments


Project code:  SCI196

Experimental projects are available in which microscale liquid dynamics are of interest, and high-speed photography is an important tool. Possible topics include (i) drop impact experiments on interesting liquids and targets, (ii) analysis of asymmetric ‘Janus’ microparticles in flows, (iii) centrifugal microfluidics, and (iv) capillary uptake of drops. A project could also focus on development of image analysis techniques. Suitable for students from any quantitative science / engineering background.

Supervisor

Geoff Willmott

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Nanofluidic Modelling


Project code:  SCI197

Supervisor

Geoff Willmott

Project(s) will develop and use computational and/or theoretical models for nanofluidics. In nanofluidics, liquids are confined to spaces (or interact with particles) on nanometer length scales. The models will be used to guide experimentalists working with nanopores, nanopipettes, and asymmetric ‘Janus’ nanoparticles. The methods that could be used include COMSOL software, or first-principles approaches using MATLAB or similar. Most suitable for students with some computational / numerical experience. 

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Convective entrainment: developing radar-based estimates


Project code:  SCI198

Supervisor

G. Bellon

Convective entrainment is the process by which unsaturated air penetrates the clouds through its lateral walls. It is not well known despite its important role as a parameter in climate models. Recent ground-based radar observations provide information about the in-cloud air motion. The student will develop an algorithm to estimate convective entrainment from these observations.

Excellent mathematical skills are necessary. Knowledge of a programming language will be useful.

Physics_198
Image: NASA
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Storm or intraseasonal mode? The dynamical response of tropical atmosphere to diabatic heating


Project code:  SCI199

Supervisor

G. Bellon

The student will use a simple model of the   tropical atmosphere to investigate the response of the atmospheric circulation to a propagating diabatic heating. This will contribute to explain the different dynamical signatures of the tropical modes of variability: storms, Kelvin and Rossby waves, Madden-Julian oscillation.  Knowledge of Matlab will be useful.

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Image: NASA
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Stratocumulus clouds: explaining the statistical relationship between cloud cover and atmospheric temperature stratification.


Project code:  SCI200

Supervisor

G. Bellon

R. Davies

A statistical relationship between stratocumulus cloud cover over the subtropical ocean and the temperature stratification of the atmosphere, well-known since the 1990's, is still unexplained physically. The student will use new satellite observations to investigate this relationship in details, and high-resolution model simulation to interpret the results.

Knowledge of a programming language will be useful.

Physics_200
Image: NASA
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Population synthesis of supernova lightcurves


Project code:  SCI201

The project involves using the open SuperNova Explosion Code (SNEC) to model supernovae. The student will download the code, learn to use it in the University's Pan Cluster and create some simple test cases of supernova lightcurves. The second step of the project involves using the code to create hopefully 1000s of supernova models using the progenitor models from the University's Binary Population and Spectral Synthesis (BPASS) code. The final step is then to compare the predictions to observed SN samples and evaluate ho close BPASS and SNEC can reproduce the population of exploding stars in the Universe.

Students are required to have experience with computers. Knowledge of astronomy will also be useful but not necessary.

Supervisor

JJ Eldridge

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The discovery of new 2D materials


Project code:  SCI202

This project will involve the computational design of candidate materials that could have tunable electronic structure analogous to graphene, from neighbouring elements in the periodic table. The structural design of these materials will be followed by a prediction of their novel, e.g. semiconducting, properties.

Computational experience and an interest in condensed matter physics, in particular the prediction of electronic structure, would be useful.

Supervisor

Nicola Gaston

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Development and characterisation of novel pillar-like THz waveguides


Project code:  SCI203

THz waveguides are a hot topic as very low loss waveguides would enable people to use THz technology more widely. We propose a new type of waveguide based on plasmonic propagation. The waveguide will be made up of metal pillars. The project involves the design, fabrication, and characterisation of such waveguides. If time allows it, more complicated structures like splitters or interferometers will be investigated. 

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THz sensing using plasmonic surfaces


Project code:  SCI204

Corrugated metallic surfaces can be used to guide THz radiation. The transmission properties depend very much on any medium/molecules that are attached to the surface. Therefore such a device can be used as sensor. We want to start off using thin oil films to characterise the sensitivity of such a structure but also plan to apply biological samples to the surface to investigate whether we can detect certain types of macromolecules.

Physics_204
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Phase Transitions in Pedestrian Dynamics


Project code:  SCI205

When New Zealanders or Australians walk down a busy street in London, they often find themselves in a standoff with the locals who don’t seem to want to let them pass. It turns out that Antipodeans expect to pass each other on the left, whereas in Britain they pass each other on the right. While it is evident that people that live in close proximity to each other can make a collective choice to avoid bumping into each other, there is no compelling reason why people should prefer the left or the right. In this project we will develop simple models for collective decision-making by pedestrians that breaks the left-right symmetry of passing when the heterogeneity of individual preferences is sufficiently low. We will test this model in simulations of pedestrian flow to show how the emergence of a particular collective decision can affect pedestrian dynamics. (See http://arxiv.org/abs/1605.05437 for previous work)

Supervisor

Shaun Hendy

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Optical frequency combs in ultra-high Q microresonators


Project code:  SCI206

An optical frequency comb is an ultra-precise spectroscopic ruler that allows the measurement of optical frequencies with unprecedented levels of accuracy. These combs are now used in a myriad of applications ranging from extra-solar planet detection to optical telecommunications. Their discovery was awarded a Nobel prize in 2005. Optical microresonators are tiny optical cavities that can trap light for extended periods of time allowing for highly efficient nonlinear interactions. New research has shown that under the correct conditions optical microresonators can produce high-quality frequency combs. This opens up the possibility of new chip-scale comb devices. The Auckland group has considerable experience in both the theory and experimental investigation of microresonator frequency combs. The successful candidate will work with our group on topics based around the theory, fabrication techniques, and experimental implementations of new microresonator based comb designs.

Supervisor

Stuart Murdoch

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Anderson localisation of ultra-cold atoms


Project code:  SCI237

For this project will be part of the the Bose-Einstein Condensate team. We trap ultracold atoms in a 2-dimensional sheet of light, and study the propagation of the atomic deBroglie wave in random potentials 

Supervisor

Maarten Hoogerland

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Generating single photons on demand


Project code:  SCI238

For this project, you will work in the tapered fiber team. We trap ultracold atoms on a tapered optical fiber. By careful manipulation, we cause a single atom to emit a photon into the fiber.

Supervisor

Maarten Hoogerland

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