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Faculty of Science and Technology

Fibre-optics and photonics

Photonics is concerned with the use of light to process, manipulate and transmit information. It underpins the growth of broadband cable communication networks. The demand for internet-related information access as well as high-speed data, e-commerce and multimedia services fuels exponential demand for bandwidth around the world, which drives the rapid growth of broadband fibre-optic systems.

Research in fibre-optics and photonics at Charles Darwin University focuses on microwave photonic signal processing, which explores powerful new paradigms for processing high-bandwidth signals. This transcends the traditional function of photonics, which has until recently focused on signal transmission, to open up new possibilities for directly processing the signals that are modulated on an optical carrier. The motivation arises from the potential of exploiting the unique, high time-bandwidth product capabilities of photonic signal processing to overcome the inherent bottlenecks caused by limited sampling speeds in conventional electrical signal processors. This approach also allows direct processing of high-frequency signals that are already in the optical domain and has applications to radio-over-fibre, radar, defence and radio astronomy arrays.

Research also focuses on optical communications, nonlinear fibre optics, optically-controlled phased arrays, gigahertz/terahertz photonics in communication and radar systems, and fibre-optic sensors.

The research in fibre-optics and photonics at Charles Darwin University is leaded by A/Prof Erwin Chan, who is a senior IEEE member and has contributed over 100 technical publications in this area, and was the recipient of the University of Sydney Early Career Development Award and the Australian Postdoctoral Fellowship awarded by the Australian Research Council. 

Charles Darwin University offers PhD and Masters by Research programs in the fibre-optics and photonics area. There are opportunities for prospective new postgraduate students interested in research. Scholarships are available to cover the tuition fee and living expenses. The research projects include:

  • Photonic Signal Processing
  • Lightwave Synthesiser
  • Optically-controlled Phased Array
  • Photonic Downconverter
  • Optical Fibre Transmission and Interference Mitigation Filters
  • Photonics-based Arbitrary Waveform Generator
  • Optical Sources for Photonic Signal Processing
  • Fibre-optic Sensor for Structural Monitoring
  • Fibre-optic Sensor for Chemical and Biological Applications
  • Fibre-optic Sensor for Oil and Gas Industry

Fibre-optics and photonics laboratory in the School of Engineering and Information Technology at Charles Darwin University is well equipped with excellent photonic and high-frequency microwave experimental facilities and infrastructure, including:

  • Keysight network analyser
  • Keysight signal analyser
  • Keysight microwave signal generator
  • Anritsu optical spectrum analyser
  • Fujikura fusion splicer
  • Newport fibre optic power meter
  • Tunable lasers
  • Erbium-doped fibre amplifiers
  • Optical modulators
  • Tunable optical filters
  • Photodetectors

For information on scholarships and research projects, please contact the research coordinator: Associate Professor Erwin Chan.

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