Institute of Photonics and Optical Science

Institute of Photonics and Optical ScienceMetamaterial.

Our aim is to provide Australia with the innovation, scientists and engineers to maintain and enhance our role as the region’s leading provider of photonics research and education.

We link research and postgraduate teaching programs across science and engineering to create a world class centre with academic, research staff and postgraduate students.

Our research.

Our research spans all areas of optics and photonics, both fundamental and applied, including those of the Fibre Optics and Photonics Laboratory in the School of Electrical and Information Engineering, and astronomical instrumentation (Astrophotonics) programs of the Sydney Institute for Astronomy in the School of Physics.

Our research program is broadly based, encompassing theory and experiment, with a particular focus on planar and fibre-based lightwave devices and circuits, plasmonics and photonics in nature, and on innovative optical and fibre-based techniques for astronomy.

Our research groups collaborate to make us the most substantial photonics and optical science group in Australia: from advanced analysis and simulation through to applied experimental research and development.

Our world-class research facilities provide a significant advantage our staff and students, allowing IPOS to be leaders in the competitive international research environment.

Areas of research.

Sub-wavelength nanophotonics and plasmonics.

Key staff:

A/Prof. Stefano Palomba Dr. Alessandro Tuniz Prof. C. Martijn de Sterke Mr. Oliver Bickerton Mr. Colin Huang Mr. Gordon Li A/Prof. Boris Kuhlmey.

Nanophotonics studies the behaviour light when light-matter interactions occur at the sub-wavelength scale. In such a regime, light can be harnessed to enable new technologies including high-resolution imaging, single-molecule sensing, highly sensitive diagnostics, ultra-fast communication, quantum science, nonlinear photonics and neuromorphic applications. Nanophotonic technologies are attractive because of their potentially high speed, large energy efficiency, multiplexing capability, and extreme compactness; current solutions are however still either too bulky or suffer from high Ohmic losses of metals, which is required for deep subwavelength light confinement. One approach that we are taking is through appropriately designed “hybrid” devices that can overcome the drawbacks of traditional solutions, providing high confinement and low losses. Another approach is to develop plasmonic devices which use the full advantages of metals (high field compression, huge field enhancement, localized light at the nanoscale) but are extremely small in order to minimize the effect of the loss.

Our research encompasses the design (through pen-and-paper theory and numerical simulations on full-field photonics modelling software), fabrication (at the next-door world-class Research Prototype Foundry), and state-of-the-art equipment (Nanophotonics and Plasmonics Advancement Lab (NPAL)) of such novel nanophotonic structures, with an eye on integration with next-generation photonic circuitry.

The Nanophotonics and Plasmonics Advancement Lab (NPAL), located in the School of Physics, aims to develop and experimentally test the next generation of linear/nonlinear/quantum integrated photonics devices. The NPAL is a world class Nanophotonic and Nanoplasmonic experimental facility equipped with a state-of-the-art femtosecond-OPO laser system (Coherent) for visible and infrared experiments along with a Near Field Scanning Optical Microscope coupled with our fs laser source and our single photon detector setup for Nano-Optic research (neaSpec) and a wide range of other vital equipment necessary to achieve breakthroughs in Nanophotonics such as:

In-house developed nano-Frequency Resolved Electrical Gating (nano-FROG): for time- and phase-resolved ultrasensitive (sub-pJ) characterisation of ultrashort pulses of light (sub-ps). In-house developed double Hanbury Brown and Twiss (HBT) interferometer coupled to highly sensitive single photon detectors (ID Quantique): for single-photon and correlated photon measurements, essential for any quantum optics investigation Commercial imaging spectrometer equipped with NIR and VIS cameras (Princeton Instruments): essential for collecting images and spectra of any device we develop. In-house developed LabView interface: this controls all the equipment including a nanopositioner (Mad City Lab) on a Nikon Microscope system. Z-scan setup and pulse picker for characterizing the nonlinear properties of novel materials while mitigating thermal effects.

Microstructured Polymer Optical Fibre.

Key staff:

Professor Simon Fleming Associate Professor Maryanne Large Associate Professor Boris Kuhlmey Dr Sergio Leon-Saval Dr Alessio Stefani Dr Richard Lwin.

Microstructured Polymer Optical Fibre (MPOF) is a new type of fibre developed at The University of Sydney. The development of MPOF was inspired by the Photonic Crystal Fibres pioneered by the University of Bath, however our research directions are often different from those in explored in silica. The fabrication techniques we use allow us to make and study structures that would be very had to make in silica, and we can also incorporate material additives such as dyes, quantum dots and metal inclusions.

Major research areas have included: highly multimode graded index mPOF (GImPOF) for high data rate transmission over short distances, Photonic bandgap fibres (including those with novel geometries), sensors and functionalisation of the fibres with additives or coatings. Our current research focus is largely on biomedical devices, especially taking advantage of our recent breakthrough in drawing low Young’s modulus polymers.

Drawn Metamaterials.

Key staff:

Associate Professor Boris Kuhlmey Professor Simon Fleming Dr Alessio Stefani Dr Richard Lwin.

This research applies fibre drawing techniques for the fabrication of metal-dielectric composites for metamaterials. Although this only allows longitudinally invariant structures to be made, it does allow for a wide range of material properties to be achieved through the creation (and possible combinations) of basic metamaterials such as wire arrays and split-ring resonators. It also provides a scalable fabrication technique for the production of metamaterials. Moreover, the use of low Young’s modulus dielectric host allows for tunability of the electromagnetic properties of the metamaterials.

THz waveguides and hyperlenses.

Key staff:

Associate Professor Boris Kuhlmey Professor Simon Fleming Dr Alessio Stefani Dr Alessandro Tuniz Dr Richard Lwin.

The fabrication of structured fibres and metamaterials in glasses and polymers (with both high and low Young’s modulus) allows the realization of devices to manipulate radiation at THz frequencies. Currently, metamaterial-cladding waveguides are investigated to guide radiation in subwavelength structures, flexible waveguides are used to manipulate radiation, e.g. generation of orbital angular momentum, and hyperlenses are used for focusing and imaging far below the diffraction limit.

Fibre-based biomedical devices.

Key staff:

Professor Simon Fleming Associate Professor Maryanne Large Dr Alessio Stefani Dr Richard Lwin Dr Antoine Runge.

This research investigates applications of fibre drawn structures for medical applications. Such applications span from tissue investigation with fiber catheters to optical fiber sensors embedded into wearables for monitoring of respiration, heartrate, blood pressure.

Chalcogenide microstructured fibres.

Key staff:

Associate Professor Boris Kuhlmey Professor Simon Fleming Dr Alessio Stefani.

This research investigates the use of non-toxic (arsenic-free) highly nonlinear chalcogenide glasses for applications in the mid-Infrared. The current focus is on the fabrication of dispersion tailored microstructured fibres for supercontinuum generation with such glass.

Silica photonic materials and fibre devices.

Key staff:

Professor Simon Fleming (Physics) Dr Honglin An.

This research program includes poling of silicates glasses and silica fibres and focuses on modifying the properties of silicate glasses, particularly through the application of intense electric fields, to induce strong non-linear behaviour.

Fibre Optics and Photonics Laboratory (FPL)

Key staff:

Professor Robert Minasian Associate Professor Javid Atai Dr Xiaoke Yi Dr Liwei Li.

Located in the School of Electrical Engineering, the FPL specialises in research into advanced optical techniques for information systems. This involves fundamental research into photonics, and projects with industry. The research focuses on photonic signal processing, optical fibre lasers, microwave photonics, nonlinear fibre optics, and dense wavelength division multiplexed communications.

Eggleton Research Group – Photonics and Optical Physics Research.

Key staff:

Prof. Benjamin J. Eggleton Dr Alvaro Casas Bedoya Dr Eric Magi.

Situated in the School of Physics at the University of Sydney the Eggleton research group is led by optical award-winning physicist Prof. Benjamin J. Eggleton. It enjoys a rich complement of optical physics and optoelectronics research working closely on some of the most innovative topics in photonic sciences.

The research is conducted in state-of-the art laboratories, located in the Sydney Nanoscience Hub and in the School of Physics and are constructed to enable every technological advantage.

The Eggleton Group is part of the Institute of Photonics and Optical Science (IPOS) the NSW Smart Sensing Network (NSSN) and is a member of the University of Sydney Nano Institute.