Physics

Making star clusters the Monty Carlo Way

Supervisor

Jan J. Eldridge

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI086

Recently the “Cluster Monty Carlo” code has been publicly released at: https://clustermontecarlo.github.io/CMC-COSMIC/index.html
The primary aim of this project to do install and run the CMC working with the stars’n’supernovae team in the physics department to understand it. The aim is to then in future to integrate this code with our own stellar evolution models.

This project is suited to a student that has strong computer skills, especially in MacOS or Linux. Some knowledge of astrophysics would be useful but not essential.

Making numerical models as quickly as possible

Supervisor

Jan J. Eldridge

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI087

In Auckland the stars’n’supernovae team has their own state-of-the-art stellar evolution code with which it is possible to accurate model the evolution of stars. However this takes several minutes per stellar model. In this project the student will use the COSMIC rapid stellar evolution code (https://cosmic-popsynth.github.io/) which evolves stars in a fraction of a second. It is able to do this by approximating the physics of a star and so does make errors in the evolution of the star. In this project the student will compare stellar models from the two codes, attempting to create COSMIC models that match the detailed Auckland stellar models. These could then be used in other simulations to improve the physics of the models.

This project is suited to a student that has strong computer skills, especially in MacOS or Linux. Some knowledge of astrophysics would be useful but not essential.

Optical Tweezers

Supervisor

Cushla McGoverin  
Frederique Vanholsbeeck
Craig Steed

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI088

The Biophotonics laboratory in the physics department is developing optical tweezers for the manipulation of bacteria. The tweezers include modules for fluorescent microscopy, force measurement and trap shaping. These will be used in combination to characterise fluorescence of new and existing bacterial viability dyes on a single bacterium basis, and the student would be involved in this work. The student will develop skills with optics and learn about optical tweezers and fluorescent dyes. Previous experience in an optics laboratory would be great but not necessary.

Bacterial characterisation using optics and microfluidics

Supervisor

Cushla McGoverin 
Frederique Vanholsbeeck
Ayomikun Esan

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI089

In this project, the student will work with an optical set-up that collects fluorescence spectra from bacteria. Hence, the student completing this project will develop skills with optics, microfluidics and microbiology. The lab work will be completed in the biophotonics laboratory of the physics department (City campus) and the PC2 lab of the Molecular Medicine and Pathology department (Grafton campus). Previous experience in an optics or biology/chemistry laboratory would be great but is not necessary.

Developing a polarisation sensitive OCT system to retrieve sample optical axis and measure cartilage mechanical properties

Supervisor

Dr. Frédérique Vanholsbeeck
Dr Marco Bonesi
Matt Goodwin

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI090

This project is based on polarisation sensitive optical coherence tomography (PS-OCT), an interferometric technique that allows high resolution in vivo imaging and identification of the sample optical axis. The student will learn about the technique of OCT and will adjust an existing OCT system to be polarisation sensitive. They will characterize the system and test it on a few samples. The student will develop skills with optics and learn about optical coherence tomography. Previous experience in an optics laboratory would be great but not necessary.

High resolution Optical coherence tomography for optical biospsies

Supervisor

Dr. Frédérique Vanholsbeeck
Dr Marco Bonesi
Mykola Zlygostiev

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI091

This project is based on optical spectral domain coherence tomography (SD-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. The aim of the project is to develop an ultra broadband OCT system using a commercial spectrometer to attain ultrahigh resolution (less than 1 micron). The student will develop skills with optics and learn about optical coherence tomography. Previous experience in an optics laboratory would be great but not necessary.

Terahertz microresonators for nanosphere detection

Supervisor

Dr Dominik Vogt

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI092

Improved sensing technologies with enhanced sensitivity and selectivity are essential to better understand and harness the world around us. Enter Terahertz (THz) radiation – the final frontier of the electromagnetic spectrum. Located between microwave and infrared frequencies, THz radiation provides significant opportunities for advanced sensors.

The overall aim of this project is to demonstrate the detection of nanospheres using THz microresonators – sensitive devices that can confine THz radiation with exquisitely low losses (shown in the image below). The project is experimental; you will learn how to work in a cleanroom environment and deposit the nanospheres on the THz microresonators. After the successful deposition, you will measure the microresonators response to the nanospheres using a state-of-the-art THz spectrometer. No previous knowledge in THz radiation or microresonators is required. If you are interested or have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Dominik Vogt 

Development of Terahertz microresonators

Supervisor

Dr Dominik Vogt

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI093

Microresonators are devices that can confine electromagnetic radiation with exquisitely low losses.

While such devices have enabled ground-breaking advances at optical frequencies, they remain almost entirely unexplored in the Terahertz (THz) domain. It is only very recently that the concept has been transferred to the THz domain highlighting its potential.

Our project aims to develop novel THz microresonators by exploiting the sub-wavelength confinement offered by ultrahigh quality thin disk resonators. The project involves numerical modelling (COMSOL Multiphysics) and experimental characterisation of the developed THz microresonators using a state-of-the-art THz spectrometer. No previous knowledge in THz radiation/microresonators and Comsol is required. If you are interested or have further questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Dominik Vogt (d.vogt@auckland.ac.nz).

Drop Impacts and Capillarity

Supervisor

Geoff Willmott

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI094

Experimental projects are available to study microscale liquid dynamics using high-speed photography (producing cool slow-motion videos). We are particularly interested in drop impact experiments, in which drops collide with solid surfaces. Fluids of interest include partially dried dairy products, and ferrofluids which produce ‘spiky’ magnetic instabilities. Surfaces may be patterned in order to control the spreading, splashing and rebounding of the drops. A project could also focus on development of image analysis techniques.

Projects are suitable for students from any quantitative science / engineering background, and can be aligned with industrial (real-world) applications. Skills developed will include experimental methods for materials science, and understanding of fluid dynamics.

Lab website: https://fluidics.physics.auckland.ac.nz/

Janus Spheres and Active Matter (Theory / Computational)

Supervisor

Geoff Willmott

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI095

Project(s) will develop and use computational analysis methods and/or theoretical models to study Janus spheres or active matter. Asymmetric Janus spheres consist of two hemispheres with distinct properties. Computational methods will be used to study the relative orientation of Janus microspheres within small clusters, and/or for image analysis of equivalent experiments. Active matter involves collections of interacting, moving particles such as swarms and flocks. Here, techniques used in active matter will be extended to large collections of Janus spheres. These projects are especially suitable for students with some computational / numerical experience.

Lab website: https://fluidics.physics.auckland.ac.nz/

Optical frequency combs in ultra-high Q microresonators

Supervisor

Stuart Murdoch 

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI096

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, and experimental implementation of new microresonator based comb designs.

Widely tunable microresonator parametric oscillators

Supervisor

Stuart Murdoch (Rm 303.503)

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI097

Optical microresonators are tiny optical cavities that can trap light for extended periods of time allowing for highly efficient nonlinear interactions. Recent work, by our group, has shown that under the right conditions these devices can efficiently generate light at new wavelengths far from the original pump frequency. So far we have been able to demonstrate over an octave of narrowband tunability in these devices, with the output light tunable in wavelength from 1095 to 2539 nm. We now wish to push the performance of these devices even further and generate signals in the spectroscopically important ‘molecular fingerprint’ region around 3 um. The successful candidate will work with our group on the experimental and theoretical realisation of these exciting new devices.

How earthquakes can trigger other earthquakes, or even volcanic eruptions

Supervisor

Kasper van Wijk

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI098

Earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are as hazardous as they are unpredictable, but recent research shows that an earthquake can sometimes trigger a volcanic eruption, or even other earthquakes, far away. If you like experiments, physics, and earth science, come investigate with us in the Physical Acoustics Laboratory (PAL) how this earthquake triggering works. In the PAL we use (laser) ultrasonic waves to probe the physical properties of rocks to learn about the Earth’s interior, and wave propagation, in general.

Glow in the dark: Ultra compact, high efficient, low cost UV spectrometer for molecular fluorescence detection

Supervisor

Alex Risos

Discipline

Physics; Photon Factory

Project code: SCI099

When molecules are excited with a high energetic electromagnetic wave, they can undergo electronic excitation and emit wonderful light by the process called fluorescence. This signal is often red shifted by a few nm from our UV-C excitation wavelength. This wavelength poses a unique opportunity to develop an optimised spectrometer for highly accurate identification of contaminants in waters. The student will learn hands on experience with optics, lasers to detect spectral radiation using CCD detectors and optical gratings. Your guide will be Alex Risos within the remarkable Photon Factory at the department of physics!

HyperSpace: Holography using multiple wavelengths for instantaneous volumetric reconstruction

Supervisor

Alex Risos

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI100

Holography is known for its unique ability to record and reconstruct a scene based on its volumetric properties. Traditionally, this is done using monochromatic light but a new approach uses a continuum of light. This continuum of light, aka white laser light, can be used to reconstruct the 3D scene without knowing its spatial depth; blue, green and red light diffract differently on objects and as such, the object can be reconstructed knowing the color of the light instead of its (often unknown) distance in space. This project is suited for a student of theoretical and experiential nature. You will learn to conduct complex simulations and/or hands on experience using white laser light. Your guide will be Alex Risos within the remarkable Photon Factory at the department of physics!

Laser turbocharger: Ultrafast supercontinuum generation using compression

Supervisor

Alex Risos

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI101

Using a cascaded set of chirped mirrors, ultrafast laser pulses and nonlinear crystals, the project investigates experimentally and/or theoretically the possibility of generating ultrafast self-compressed chi3 supercontinuum pulses for advanced light matter interaction phenomena. Your guide will be Alex Risos within the remarkable Photon Factory at the department of physics!

Time vision: 3D holographic night vision using time of flight

Supervisor

Alex Risos

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI102

Time of light is a well-known method to determine distance using lasers. Classical holography uses the backscattered speckle pattern to reconstruct the scenery. A combination with time of flight measuring technique allows real time imaging of 3D scenes. This is conventionally an apex territory for LIDA but much simpler, lighter, compact, and more reliable as well as more cost efficient. Importantly, its gives an instantiations response from the scene as a whole, without LIDAR like scanning delay. Your guide will be Alex Risos within the remarkable Photon Factory at the department of physics!

To the other dimension: GPU accelerated phase unwrapping of holographic images for real time volumetric imaging

Supervisor

Alex Risos

Discipline

Physics; Photon Factory

Project code: SCI103

Reconstructing 3D scenes from recorded holograms is a well applied technique but suffers from true precision volumetric imaging in real time. Using latest Tensor core accelerated hardware, we will enable true volumetric imaging in real time using NVidia’s hardware platforms. The opportunity of applying and further developing efficient phase unwrapping enables the student to earn hands on experience in translating algebraic syntax to computer code using python or C++. Your guide will be Alex Risos within the remarkable Photon Factory at the department of physics!

4D Holography: A novel approach towards precision multidimensional holography

Supervisor

Alex Risos

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI104

Conventionally, holography uses diffraction pattern along one propagation axis. Using multiple axis*, we can increase spatial resolution and increase confidence of successful detection using our neural nets. The student will learn how to reconstruct holograms to 3D volumetric images using diffraction theory. The experiments will be carried out in conjunction with theoretical predictions. Your guide will be Alex Risos within the remarkable Photon Factory at the department of physics!

*One beam along Z (X, Y; Z) and another beam along X (Y, Z; X) to have 2x 3D datasets to be merged via artificial intelligence.

Pristine crystine: Theoretical analysis on dispersion free pulse propagation in media

Supervisor

Alex Risos

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI105

Laser pulse propagation is always subject to dispersion. Under certain circumstances, this can be compensated by the correct choice of material parameters and pulse energy. Using our matlab code, the student will conduct and improved GPU accelerated simulations of optimised pulse propagation in matter to avoid dispersion in micro waveguides. Your guide will be Alex Risos within the remarkable Photon Factory at the department of physics!

Spin-Orbit Coupled Bose Einstein condensates in 2D Lattices

Supervisor

Dr. Maarten Hoogerland

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI106

Bose Einstein condensation (BEC) is a form of matter in which an ensemble of bosons share a common mesoscopic wavefunction. BECs are a versatile tool for creating analogies to other physical systems. The advantage of using BECs is that the system parameters are highly tunable, which is not necessarily the case in, for example, condensed matter systems. For instance, we can simulate spin-orbit coupling (SOC), is a quantum phenomenon in which the spin of a particle is tied to its momentum. The project will involve the student assisting with running experiments and collecting data.

Chat line for atoms

Supervisor

Dr. Maarten Hoogerland

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI107

We use optical fibres, drawn out to a diameter of less than the wavelength of light, to interface single photons of light with single atoms, trapped on the surface of the fibre. The project involves using our existing setup, improving the coupling between photons and atoms. We aim to generate and detect non-classical states of light in the fibre.

Complementing spectroscopy investigations in microfluidic with OCT

Supervisor

Frederique Vanholsbeeck
Marco Bonesi
Cushla McGoverin

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI108

In this project, the student will work with an optical set-up that collects fluorescence spectra from bacteria. The student will extend the current set-up by implementing Doppler analysis through Optical Coherence Tomography technology to measure the flow velocity inside the microfluidics. Hence, the student completing this project will develop skills with optics, microfluidics and microbiology.

The Lab work will be completed in the biophotonics laboratory of the physics department (City campus). Previous experience in an optics would be great but is not necessary.

Characterization of structural features of grape morphology using Optical Coherence Tomography acquired data

Supervisor

Frederique Vanholsbeeck
Marco Bonesi

Discipline

Physics

Project code: SCI109

In this project, the student will collect and analyse data generated with an OCT system for application in horticulture. Based on the OCT images (3D optical biopsies), the student will develop algorithms and methods to extract key parameters of interest of samples’ morphology, such as cell counting and cell volume.

Hence, the student completing this project will learn about OCT technique, develop skills with optics, data acquisition, image analysis and data visualization.

The Lab work will be completed in the biophotonics laboratory of the physics department (City campus). Previous experience in an optics laboratory would be great but is not necessary.