Key research areas

Our team at the Integrated Photonics and Applications Centre (InPAC) is made up of six teams that work with industry to design, prototype and scale-up photonic chips to make new products.

Simulation and Design Team

As the design team, we understand that a complete integrated photonics design framework is crucial for success.

We use the industry standard IPKISS design framework, which covers the complete circuit design flow process. Our partner Luceda Photonics created this software for the design, simulation and layout of photonic integrated circuits. 

Designing for industry compliance and mass manufacture  

To ensure that designs are industry-compliant and scalable to mass manufacture, we are continuing to develop many significant plug-ins for the IPKISS framework.

These include direct interfaces and process design kits for a range of electron-beam lithography tools, automated characterisation tools, and a comprehensive electromagnetic simulation suite called REME.  

Our goal is to create products for our users as scalable as possible, to ensure our designs fit into their existing systems. We also ensure that the chips we create will behave as intended, by designing and simulating our chips in the computer first before making them in the lab. 

Moving towards thin-film lithium niobate  

We have created Australian Silicon Photonics, with Ghent University using our service. Now we are applying what we’ve learnt from the silicon platform and translating it to the emerging thin-film lithium niobate platform.  

We will work closely with the fabrication team to design and validate a library of standard building blocks so that the circuit designers can efficiently create sophisticated circuits. Similarly, we will also harness the opportunities of the thin-film lithium niobate platform to explore new phenomena with the aim of creating new integrated photonic components.  


For more information, please contact the InPAC Design Team Leader, Thach Nguyen.

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Case studies

Fabrication Team

Our fabrication team works very closely with the simulation and design team to ensure that everything we fabricate performs in the way it was intended. 

Creating many fabrication platforms ready for many applications 

The focus of our team is to fabricate integrated optics platforms for many different applications. The platforms include silicon photonic platform (Silicon and Silicon-Nitride), and hybrid integrated silicon photonic platform (Silicon + 2D materials, Silicon + Silicon-Nitride, and Silicon-Nitride + Lithium Niobate).  

Our team also develop process design kits for different platforms, which make up a library of building blocks for end-users to create sophisticated photonic integrated circuits compatible with mass manufacturing standards.

Creating building blocks compatible with lithium niobate ready for mass manufacturing 

The next step for our team is to build on our knowledge of the silicon platform and make a new platform with lithium niobate.  

Just as we did with the silicon platform, we are now making the lithium niobate platform more reliable with a new library of reliable components for any circuit designer. We want to use a library of building blocks so any circuit designer (a PhD student, academic, or someone from industry) can easily put together a prototype chip that we know will work the first time and will be compatible with mass manufacture.


For more information, please contact the InPAC Fabrication Team Leader Guanghui Ren.

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Case studies

Interfacing Team

As the interfacing team, we understand that end-users would like to have robust and easy-to-use optical and electrical interfaces to photonic integrated circuit chips.

We use different approaches for the interfacing of optical fibres to such chips, such as butt coupling and grating coupler with angle polished fibres.

For electrical contacts we usually use wire bonding to connect the photonic integrated circuit chips to standard PCB boards, however custom solutions can also be investigated.


For more information, please contact the InPAC Director Arnan Mitchell.

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Data Communications Team

Our team explores how cutting-edge integrated photonics can achieve ultra-high speed data communications by exploiting new wavelength ranges, new advanced modulations formats and ultra-dense spatial and spectral multiplexing. 

Increasing the bandwidth for faster internet for everyone 

To achieve the ultimate internet data capacity over our optical fibre links, future communication systems will need to use the fully available bandwidth. A way to do this is with a device called a microcomb that creates a rainbow of infrared light allowing data to be transmitted on many frequencies of light at the same time, vastly increasing bandwidth. 

To test these internet speeds, our team sends information around “real-world” fibre links, like those of Australia’s National Broadband Network. InPAC hosts the Australian Lightwave Infrastructure Research Testbed (ALIRT)* – a unique 'dark fibre' facility provided by Australia's Academic Research Network (AARNet) – to allow collaborative research between institutes in Melbourne. 

Breaking our world’s fastest internet record and translating the results to industry 

We are combining three key approaches to extend upon our record result from 2020 to pack even more data into our existing optical fibre infrastructure: new microcomb technologies, InPAC’s state-of-the-art lithium niobate platform, and wavelength conversion technologies. This combination will bring us closer to translating our record results to industry, to grow capacity and extend the useable lifetime of systems like Australia's NBN. 

*ALIRT is part of the INPAC laboratories linking RMIT and Monash University. The testbed was established under ARC Linkage Infrastructure and Equipment Funds LE170100160 as a collaboration between RMIT, Monash, Swinburne and AARNET. This project was supported by ARC Discovery Project 'Rainbows on Demand: coherent comb sources on a photonic chip' DP190102773. 


For more information, please contact the InPAC Data Communications Applications Team Leader Bill Corcoran.

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Case studies

Biomedical Team

Our team is made up of biomedical researchers, biotechnologists, chemists and engineers that work to advance diagnostics by offering advanced tests for early illness prediction.  

Combining photonics and microfluidics to create on-the-spot diagnostic tests 

Many procedures, from cancer diagnosis to even a COVID-test, require very manual laboratory procedures under supervision of specialists. To overcome these wait times and need for specialist knowledge, we are miniaturising equipment that normally takes up entire laboratory benches, onto a chip the size of a fingernail.  

This is thanks to the combination of two research fields – ultrasensitive biosensors powered by light and complex microfluidics – that allow us to create ultrasensitive on-the-spot-diagnostic tests that have the potential to rapidly detect viral infections, allergies or diseases. 

Detecting single cells and tiny molecules with ultrasensitive biosensors powered by light 

We are looking to create robust and ultrasensitive photonic biosensors, capable of detecting the presence of single cells and molecules. In addition, we are creating multiplexed platforms that can perform different processes automatically in the same microchip. We intend to create this by experimenting with new microfluidic fabrication and signal processing approaches. 


For more information, please contact the InPAC Biomedical Applications Team Leader Cesar S. Huertas.

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Case studies

Defence and Precision Sensing Team

Our team aims to engage with industry and defence agencies to provide integrated photonic solutions for more precise, accurate and compact sensors.  

Creating smaller, more accurate sensors for growing industries 

At InPAC we are investigating new photonic platforms like lithium niobate on insulator and silicon nitride and employing them for defence-related products. 

A special focus is set on energy efficient, compact, lightweight and robust (mechanical and electro-magnetic) solutions. The new photonic platforms will help to make sensors small enough to fit on drones for railway monitoring, satellites travelling at 11,000 kilometres per hour, and driverless vehicles for rapid decision-making. 

Embedding sensors onto drones to monitor railway infrastructure health 

A focus area for our team is to fabricate the first chip prototypes for the Cooperative Research Centre Project to test more compact optical gyroscopes with our industry partner Advanced Navigation. 

This will also include increasing the maturity of the integrated photonic platform and focusing on technological challenges such as low loss optical interfaces. 


For more information, please contact the InPAC Defence Applications Team Leader Andy Boes.

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Case studies

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Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business - Artwork 'Luwaytini' by Mark Cleaver, Palawa.

aboriginal flag
torres strait flag

Acknowledgement of Country

RMIT University acknowledges the people of the Woi wurrung and Boon wurrung language groups of the eastern Kulin Nation on whose unceded lands we conduct the business of the University. RMIT University respectfully acknowledges their Ancestors and Elders, past and present. RMIT also acknowledges the Traditional Custodians and their Ancestors of the lands and waters across Australia where we conduct our business.