Open positions

Are you interested in joining our team? This page is full of our current opportunities for Postdoctoral positions, PhD positions, and Internship and Capstone projects.

Research Fellow Dr Andy Boes Research Fellow and InPAC Defence Team Leader Dr Andy Boes fabricating photonic chip devices at the RMIT Micro Nano Research Facility (MNRF).

We regularly hire postdoctoral research fellows.

If you are interested in applying for a postdoctoral position with our team, please express your interest in the application form below with your contact details, academic transcript, CV, motivation letter and letter of recommendation. 

We have the following PhD project opportunities available.

If you are interested in applying for a PhD, please express your interest in the application form below with your contact details, preferred PhD project, academic transcript, CV, motivation letter and letter of recommendation.

PhD student profile

Are you interested in studying at the Integrated Photonics and Applications Centre? Hear from some of our current and past PhD students about their experiences at our Centre.

  1. Tell us a little bit about your research
    I investigate optical biosensor systems. My research identified limitations in the methods for reading current interferometric optical biosensors and introduced new methods overcoming these limitations. These findings enable biosensors to be sensitive and precise but also stable and easy to use, advancing practical point-of-care diagnostics harnessing micro-chips. You can read more about my work in my LinkedIn article.
  2. What was your career pathway in getting where you are today?
    After I finished high school in Germany, I studied Electrical Engineering with a major in electronics at a cooperative University in Germany and received my bachelor’s degree in 2013. During this time, I continually alternated between 3 months of studying and 3 months of working in industry, developing electronics for measuring equipment. Following this, I studied Electrical Engineering and Information Technology with a major in sensor systems technology and I received my master’s degree in 2015. 
    Just a few weeks after my thesis defence I came to RMIT as a research intern through the Australian-German Study Centre for Optofluidics and Nanophotonics and in 2016 I started my PhD candidature with InPAC.
  3. What has been the biggest challenge in your PhD so far?
    Learning to deal with failure. If everything would work right away, one wouldn’t learn anything. I had to learn that failing experiments are an opportunity to gain insight and further advance one’s understanding and knowledge.
  4. What has been your biggest achievement in your PhD so far?
    On a technical level, the invention of the optical frequency comb based readout system for photonic biosensors, which was well received by the scientific community and I’ve received recognition for. On a personal level, the way I think, analyse and communicate.
  5. Why did you choose to do your PhD at InPAC?
    A combination of curiosity and opportunity. I came to RMIT as a research intern right after my master’s and I really enjoyed my time at InPAC due to the collegiality and diversity of the team. I was curious about research and up for a challenge, so I decided to apply for the PhD program. After I was offered a full scholarship and a fee-waiver I decided to stay, as I now had the means to undertake this challenge.
  6. What advice would you give to other PhD students?
    For prospective students thinking about doing a PhD, make sure you choose a research group which is supportive and has a good team. Don’t just focus on the topic of your research.
    For current students, reach out to other students and network. Don’t just focus on your own work and stay in a ‘bubble’.

For more updates about Markus' research, you can connect with him on LinkedIn or via Twitter.

Markus Knoerzer

1. Tell us a little bit about your research

My research explores how integrated photonic technology can be used to make quantum sensor devices smaller, while keeping their precision. Quantum sensors are extremely sensitive measurement devices that exploit the properties of atoms to infer information. For example, an atomic clock is a quantum sensor that measures the frequency of an electron transitioning between the energy levels of an atom and uses this to determine a reference for time. Most of these devices make use of a kind of semiconductor laser called an external cavity laser, which is a large macroscopic device that contributes to the large and cumbersome nature of many quantum sensor devices.

My research is looking at how integrated photonics can used to make an external cavity laser in the microscopic scale, essentially creating a highly specialised laser on a chip. Making quantum sensor devices smaller has the potential to increase their functionally and impact. To use the example of an atomic clock, putting a precise optical atomic clock on board GPS satellites could increase the precision of their distance measurements to just centimetres – which could be used to land planes or navigate autonomous vehicles.

2. What was your career pathway in getting where you are today?

I did a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Science both majoring in Physics at The University of Melbourne. After finishing my masters, I took a break from study for 18 months and worked in medical data management for The Bariatric Surgery Registry at Monash University. I came back to study at RMIT in 2017 to do a Masters in Electronic Engineering with the intention of getting a job after as an Engineer, but I was convinced by my lecturer and project supervisor, Thach, to join the InPAC group to do a PhD instead.

3. What has been the biggest challenge in your PhD so far?

The biggest challenge so far has been in effectively trying to understand and communicate my research to others in a way that is accessible. As researchers we can get hyper-focused on the details of what we’re doing and forget that we need to be able to understand how our research fits in to the bigger picture. It’s an important skill that’s needed for things like securing grants and funding and for us – as a more engineering-centric group – it’s important for understanding how our research can directly impact people’s lives.

4. What has been your biggest achievement in your PhD so far?

I think my biggest achievement follows on from my biggest challenge. Now I’m in my second year of my PhD I feel like I’m hitting my stride when it comes to understanding and talking about my research. Figuring out what the impact of my research is and effectively being able to communicate that was like a lightbulb moment for me and has led me to some really great opportunities (that I can’t discuss openly yet!).

5. Why did you choose to do your PhD at InPAC?

What convinced me to do a PhD with InPAC instead of getting a job as an engineer was being able to do my PhD as an industry collaboration between RMIT and MOGLabs. Being able to work with a company and see how research goes from a university lab to a product that is for sale, is a valuable aspect to doing a PhD for me. InPAC as a group has quite a few industry collaborations, so it’s a great group to join if you have an interest in how research translates to industry.

6. What advice would you give to other PhD students?

Put your hand up and get involved with things – apply for scholarships, mentoring programs, leadership positions, tutoring and teaching positions. Getting involved with things that are beyond just your work and your research is a great way to meet people and stay sane. It’s also a great way to get the most of your PhD to be as well-rounded as possible, especially if you decide not to pursue academia going forward.

For more updates about Sonya's research, you can connect via LinkedIn.

Sonya Palmer

PhD project descriptions

We are offering a PhD project in the area of neuromorphic materials for photonic integrated circuits.

Photonic integrated circuits are transitioning from speculative research to a mature industrially scalable platform, transforming our daily lives by providing a solution to the ever-increasing demand for internet traffic and replace bulky and energy inefficient components in applications such as biosensing, communication and precision measurements. In this project, we will go one step further and explore how photonic integrated circuits can emulate the functions of our brains forming memories. However, to enable this functionality we require neuromorphic materials which can switch their optical properties with very little applied power and once set, they remember the setting without drawing any power. Please contact us for a detailed PhD project description.

To pursue this project, we are looking for a highly motivated and passionate PhD student to become part of our team. You will work with team members from diverse research backgrounds in the disciplines of material science, engineering, physics, chemistry and biology and have the opportunity to participate in our strong international collaborations to the US and Europe. During the PhD project you will also have the opportunity to access world class facilities, such as the InPAC Photonic Systems Lab (www.inpac.org.au/research/facilities), the world leading Micro Nano Research Facility (www.rmit.edu.au/mnrf ) and the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (http://nanomelbourne.com).

The successful applicants will learn important research skills in the field of neuromorphic material deposition and characterisation, and their hybrid integration with photonic component to create single chip systems with unprecedented performance.  You will also gain other soft skills such as engaging with both industrial and academic end-users, working towards milestone and promoting your work in presentations and the media. The knowledge, key skills and contact with world leading companies and international research labs that you will gain during your PhD studies will set you up for an inspiring career and would be particularly suitable if you have ambition to join the emerging and rapidly growing Integrated Photonics segment within the broader global high-tech industry.

Please contact Distinguished Professor Arnan Mitchell or Associate Professor Sumeet Walia for more information and for a details PhD project description.

The information revolution – is the most profound transformation of our culture and industry since the industrial revolution, fundamentally changing the way in which we deal with information and operate as human beings. This revolution is driven by technological advances in how data signals are transmitted, manipulated and received. In this project, we aim to create photonic circuit technologies that will generate hundreds of coherent laser lines from a single semiconductor chip. This will be achieved by creating resonant modulators and nonlinear waveguides with unprecedented efficiency and innovative monitoring and control techniques. These photonic chip comb sources will be inexpensive, compact and energy efficient with transformative impact in spectroscopy, microscopy, precision measurement, quantum computing and ultra-fast optical fibre communications.

We are looking for one highly motivated and passionate PhD student to become part of our team working with designers and ultrafast network system integrators, but particularly focussing on fabrication and realising experimental prototypes of our innovative photonic chip platforms.

The project is supported by the Australian Government through the Australian Research Council Discovery Project and takes places in the Integrated Photonics and Applications Centre (InPAC) at RMIT University. The projects will harness the world leading Micro Nano Research Facility (https://www.rmit.edu.au/mnrf ) and the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (http://nanomelbourne.com).

The successful applicants will learn important research skills in the field of integrated photonics, but also other soft skills such as engaging with both industrial and academic end-users, writing of reports, giving presentations and promoting their work and working towards project milestones within timeframes. The knowledge and key skills that you will gain during your PhD studies will set you up for an inspiring career and would be particularly suitable if you have ambition to join the emerging and rapidly growing Integrated Photonics segment within the broader global high tech industry.

Please contact Dist. Prof. Arnan Mitchell or Dr. Andy Boes for more information.

Driverless cars are almost real, but the ability for cars to rapidly predict the location of other traffic and obstacles in real time remains a challenge. Traditional GPS position has insufficient speed, resolution and robustness for this purpose and so RMIT is working with Advanced Navigation Pty Ltd to create low-cost positioning systems based on integrated photonic circuits.

We are looking for highly motivated and passionate PhD students who will create new positioning systems based on integrated photonic chips. The PhD students will be exposed to conceptual design, simulation and optimisation, as well as fabrication, characterisation and interfacing of the integrated photonic chips.

The project is supported by Advanced Navigation and takes places in the Integrated Photonics and Applications Centre (InPAC) at RMIT University. The projects will harness the world leading Micro Nano Research Facility (https://www.rmit.edu.au/mnrf ) and the Melbourne Centre for Nanofabrication (http://nanomelbourne.com). The PhD students will also work closely with the Industry Partner, Advanced Navigation (Sydney, Australia) to test the devices in real world applications.

The successful applicants will learn important research skills in the field of integrated photonics, but also other soft skills such as engaging with end-users, which includes writing of reports, giving presentations and working towards project milestones within timeframes. The knowledge and key skills that you will gain during your PhD studies will set you up for an inspiring career in the quickly growing field of Integrated Photonics and the broader high tech industry.

Please contact Dist. Prof. Arnan Mitchell or Dr. Andy Boes for more information.

The incidence of Type 1 diabetes is escalating globally (increasing by 2% p.a. in Australia). 542,000 children worldwide have type 1 diabetes and several millions are at risk of type 1 diabetes (IDF 7th ed Atlas 2015); however diagnosis usually only occurs very late in the development of the disease exposing children to major irreversible health risks due to complications before treatment can even be considered. The development of a kit to predict diabetes will allow stratification of individuals “at risk” of T1D and identify those who need appropriate care/medication to retard the development of type 1 diabetes and prevent unnecessary complications.

We are seeking talented and passionate PhD candidates to join our team. The successful candidate will be enrolled in a multidisciplinary project spanning design and fabrication of silicon chip based photonic sensors, signal processing, automated microfluidic integration, chemical functionalization and clinical deployment. We offer a dynamic environment and the opportunity to work on an innovative scientific project addressing a relevant clinical problem: the early diagnosis of type I Diabetes.

The project seeks the identification of a pre-established type I Diabetes signature of microRNAs1 and cell-free (cf)DNA sequences by on chip sample preparation and multiplexed analysis to enable point of care deployment. This will facilitate improved diagnostic and monitoring tool for diabetes prediction.

The main objectives are:

1) Design, fabrication and optical characterisation of sensitive Photonic sensor devices that allow for multiplexed analyses.

2) Design, fabrication and characterization of microfluidic devices for on chip sample preparation such as blood/plasma separation, nucleic acid extraction and purification, and interfacing to array microfluidics for biosensing.

3) Interrogation of photonic biosensors using sophisticated signal processing/imaging approaches.

4) Design and assessment of diagnostic methodologies involving adequate sensor surface chemistry functionalization and validation for their implementation in biomedical and clinical settings.

We are looking for versatile and independent researchers with a solid background in related topics. If your background fits in one or more of the objectives pursued in this project do not hesitate in applying using this form.

Please contact Dist. Prof. Arnan Mitchell or Dr. Cesar S Huertas for more information.

Silicon Photonics is an emerging technology which allows wires connected to silicon chips to be replaced by optical fibres. Silicon photonics has the potential to increase the performance of data centres and will eventually replace copper wires in computers. In addition, silicon photonics potentially can be used in many other applications, including bio-sensing, signal processing and quantum communications. Using the same manufacturing facilities as making integrated electronic circuits, sophisticated silicon photonic chips can be manufactured in high volume with low cost. Due to some unique material properties, many photonic components can be integrated in a small footprint, enabling the creation of compact photonic devices but with sophisticated functionality that cannot be achieved with other photonic technologies.

Although many silicon photonic circuits have been demonstrated, most of these are in the form of purpose built application-specific designs that are only fit for a single purpose. The functionality of such devices are fixed when the devices are designed and fabricated. Changing the circuit functionality requires an entirely new device to be designed and fabricated. If photonic circuits can be made reprogrammable similar to Field Programmable Gate Array (FPGA) in electronic devices, it would be easy, quick and low cost to prototype different photonic functions on the same device in which the circuit function is redefined by the users after the device has been fabricated.

This project aims to investigate technologies to allow the functionality of silicon photonic circuits being reconfigurable or programmable. You will learn about silicon photonics design and methods for fabrication. You will work closely with our team to develop technologies to change the configuration of a silicon photonic circuit. These technologies will then be applied to demonstrate reconfigurable/programmable silicon photonic devices using traditional silicon photonic waveguide device topologies or our recently discovered lateral leakage effect. You will also have opportunities to collaborate and visit other world leading researchers in integrated photonics and silicon photonics in the Europe.

The project will be conducted within RMIT's Integrated Photonics and Applications Centre (InPAC) directed by Distinguished Prof Arnan Mitchell. This centre has expertise in integrated photonic chip simulation and design, fabrication and testing and packaging and interfacing enabling research from novel device concepts to realising practical solutions for real world applications.

Please contact Dr. Thach Nguyen or Dist. Prof. Arnan Mitchell for more information.

Many applications, including radar mapping, precision synchronization, environmental measurement, imaging as well as the realization of advanced modulation formats for ultrahigh bandwidth digital communications, require the generation, analysis and processing of analogue RF signals in wide bandwidth. Processing wide bandwidth signals in the electrical domain is still challenging due to limited bandwidth of electronic circuits and introduction of digital quantisation noise. Due to the virtually unlimited bandwidth and ultralow noise available in the optical domain, optical signal processing is a very attractive alternative to electronic counterparts. Many signal processing functions have been demonstrated using optics; however, often multiple discrete optical channels with their own laser diodes must be used. This typically results in a very high cost, complexity and energy consumption and footprint. Recently, ultra-broadband optical frequency combs have been demonstrated that can produce over one hundred stable and high quality comb lines – each like a coherent laser source. This technology opens up opportunities to conceive practical and sophisticated photonic signal processors with small foot-print which can be robustly integrated into integrated photonic devices with no moving parts. This research project will investigate novel methods to implement high speed, reconfigurable optical signal processors using the integrated optical frequency comb source. You will investigate photonic techniques to manipulate signals in both the temporal and frequency domains. You will apply the conceived techniques to demonstrate several practical applications in wireless and optic fibre communications as well as radar and remote sensing using the state of the art equipment in the photonic laboratory at RMIT. The opportunity to integrate entire systems as a single compact photonic chips will be available in the final stage of the project.

Please contact Dr. Thach Nguyen or Dist. Prof. Arnan Mitchell for more information.

Micro-technology has underpinned the information revolution, enabling exceptionally precise and almost incomprehensibly complex microelectronic systems to be mass-manufactured, reliably and at low-cost using standard complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) wafer processing. Integrated photonics has emerged as a successor to integrated electronics, enabling ultra-high speed information transfer through a single optical fibre [1]. Integrated photonics is also attractive to non-data transfer applications, with a particular emerging opportunity being bio-sensing.

Our team at RMIT has pioneered research into an unusual phenomenon in integrated photonics, particularly in silicon photonics, called lateral leakage behaviour and bound states in the continuum [2, 3]. We are seeking talented and passionate PhD candidates to join our team to explore this phenomenon in the emerging integrated photonic waveguide platform Lithium Niotate on Insulator (LNOI) [4] and to create new integrated photonic devices and circuits harnessing this phenomenon. The possibility of utilising the strong electro-optic and nonlinear effects of this waveguide platform to achieve high speed data modulation, programmable/reconfigurable integrated photonic circuit, dynamic filtering functions will also be investigated.

This project will be conducted within the Integrated Photonics and Applications Centre (InPAC, https://www.inpac.org.au/) at RMIT. This centre has expertise in integrated photonic chip simulation and design, fabrication and testing and packaging and interfacing enabling research from novel device concepts to realise practical solutions for real world applications. The integrated photonic chips will be realised using the state-of-the-art facilities at the RMIT Micro-nano Research Facility (MNRF).

References:

[1] Hochberg, M., Baehr-Jones, T. “Towards fabless silicon photonics,” Nature Photon, 4 (2010).

[2] Nguyen, T.G., Ren, G., Schoenhardt, S., Knoerzer, M., Boes, A., Mitchell, A., “Ridge Resonance in Silicon Photonics Harnessing Bound States in the Continuum”, Laser and Photonics Reviews, 13 (2019).

[3] Nguyen, T.G., Boes, A., Mitchell, A., “Lateral Leakage in Silicon Photonics: Theory, Applications, and Future Directions,” IEEE Journal of Selected Topics in Quantum Electronics, 26 (2020).

[4] Boes, A., Corcoran, B., Chang, L., Bowers, J., Mitchell, A., “Status and Potential of Lithium Niobate on Insulator (LNOI) for Photonic Integrated Circuits,” Laser and Photonics Reviews, 12 (2018).

Please contact Dr. Thach Nguyen or Dist. Prof. Arnan Mitchell for more information.

In many photonic applications, including wavelength division multiplexing ultra-high speed optical communications, optical signal processing, spectroscopy, the generation of high quality light sources with many different frequencies is often required [1, 2]. The brute force approach of using multiple discrete laser diodes to create optical frequency combs typically results in very high cost, complexity, energy consumption and footprint systems. Recently, integrated ultra-broadband optical frequency combs have been demonstrated that can produce over one hundred stable and high quality comb lines – each like a coherent laser source [3].

This project aims to investigate high-quality optical frequency comb sources that can be generated from a single integrated photonic chip using the new silicon nitrite waveguide platform being developed at RMIT [4]. The possibility of integrating the on-chip comb sources with other devices and components to form sophisticated integrated photonic circuits in single compact photonic chips for applications in signal processing, data communications and sensing will also be considered.

This project will be conducted within the Integrated Photonics and Applications Centre (InPAC, https://www.inpac.org.au/) at RMIT. This centre has expertise in integrated photonic chip simulation and design, fabrication and testing and packaging and interfacing enabling research from novel device concepts to realise practical solutions for real world applications. The integrated photonic chips will be realised using the state-of-the-art facilities at the RMIT Micro-Nano Research Facility (MNRF).

References:

[1] Nguyen, T.G., Shoeiby, M., Chu, S.T., Little, B.E., Morandotti, R., Mitchell, A., Moss, D.J., “Integrated frequency comb source based Hilbert transformer for wideband microwave photonic phase analysis”, Optics Express, 23 (2015).

[2] Corcoran, B., Tan, M., Xu, X., Boes, D., Wu, J., Nguyen, T.G., Chu, S., Little, B., Morandotti, R., Mitchell, A., Moss, D., “Ultra-dense optical data transmission over standard fibre with a single chip source, ” Nature Communications, 2020.

[3] Gaeta, A. L., Lipson M., and Kippenberg, T. J., “Photonic-chip-based frequency combs,” Nat. Photonics 13 (2019).

[4] Frigg, A.Boes, A., Ren,G, , Nguyen,T.G., Choi, D. Y., Gees, S., Moss, D. and Mitchell, A., “Optical frequency comb generation with low temperature reactive sputtered silicon nitride waveguides, ” APL Photonics, 5 (2020).

Please contact Dr. Thach Nguyen or Dist. Prof. Arnan Mitchell for more information.

Active optical components in photonic circuits are weak or missing pieces of the current silicon photonic technology. Such pieces are needed for the generation, detection and manipulation of light on chips. InPAC have started addressing this roadblock by heterogeneously integrating functional optical materials, such as chalcogenide glass and emerging novel two-dimensional materials onto integrated silicon photonic platforms, providing an unprecedented electronic and photonic laboratory on a chip to study these materials and to utilize their unique properties, realizing integrated optical lasers, amplifiers, modulators and detectors for applications in defence, data communications and biotechnology. This project is to develop the novel hybrid integration platform in InPAC. The InPAC centre has a long success history on the integrated optics for different applications for more than three decades. Through this project, we will continue to elongate the legacy for other decades. Therefore, we need highly motivated students who have interest in micro-nano fabrication and using such optical platform to realise practical applications such as data communications, and biomedical sensing.

Please contact Dist. Prof. Arnan Mitchell or Dr. Guanghui Ren for more information.

This is an open call of PhD projects in optical communication.

Internet traffic is growing by 25% each year as society becomes increasingly connected, driven by the needs of our increasingly connected society. The abrupt shift to remote work at the start of 2020 has given us a glimpse of the capacity crunch we could be facing in the near future, as high-speed 5G wireless connectionsself-driving cars and the internet of things put more stress on our networks.

To support this demand, we need to explore new technologies that can change the way we use our optical fibre networks. At InPAC, we're looking at photonic technologies to address issues in our optical communications systems with optical physics. Our goal is to provide technology options that can increase data carrying capacity, while decreasing power consumption, size and potentially cost.

We're investigating systems that generate the equivalent of hundreds of lasers from a single device, that allow massive data rates with inexpensive laser sources, fix unknowable distortions from transmission in optical fibres automatically, and testing novel technologies in real-world fibres.

As part of the team, you will learn how to build and characterize state-of-the-art optical communication systems, learn relevant skills in communications theory and digital signal processing, and gain insight into some novel physics that underpin our photonic approaches. You'll be part of international team, learn how to co-ordinate and manage your own research projects, and do all of the things that make a PhD a real 'research apprenticeship'.

Please contact Dr. Bill Corcoran and Dist. Prof. Arnan Mitchell for more information.

We regularly offer internships to undergraduate and postgraduate students for projects ranging from simulation, design to characterisation and systems applications. If you are interested, please submit your expression of interest in the form below. 

Student project descriptions

This project aims to measure optical losses in dielectric thin-films that were deposited by chemical or physical vapour deposition techniques. This is important as it will helps to test the quality of the deposited films and will benefit the optimisation of the deposition parameters. To achieve that, the measurement setup should be able to measure thin film losses as low as 0.1 dB/cm.

As part of the project, you will work in the InPAC laboratory and get familiar with state of the art optical and electrical equipment, which is required to perform the measurements. The work in the laboratory will give you insight into the thriving research environment at RMIT.

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