Fibre optics

Fibre-optics and photonics engineering

Photonics and advanced optical techniques for information systems

Our specialist research focuses on fundamental research in areas including microwave photonic devices and subsystems, photonic signal processing, integrated photonics, sensing, nonlinear fibre optics and biophotonics.

Fibre-optics and photonics engineering is recognised as one of the world’s leading research groups in the field of photonic signal processing and microwave photonics. It has nationally- and internationally-recognised researchers such as Professor Robert Minasian – a Fellow of Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers and Fellow of Optical Society of America – and Professor Xiaoke Yi, one of Australia’s Most Innovative Engineers 2017 as awarded by Engineers Australia.

The research group has had significant collaboration with the Defence Science and Technology Group (DSTG), the Department of Defence and industry, with its achievements benefiting industry and society in the areas of information processing, defence, security and health.

Our fundamental research also includes Bragg grating design, optical communications, nonlinear optical phenomena, slow light and Bragg grating solitons, optically-controlled phased arrays, optical data conversion, terahertz/gigahertz photonics in communication and radar systems, and capsule endoscopy. 

Our research

Our experts: Professor Robert Minasian, Professor Xiaoke Yi, Adjunct Associate Professor Linh Nguyen, Dr Liwei Li

Industry partner: Defence Science and Technology Group

This project aims to develop photonic integration technologies enabling microwave photonic (MWP) functions on a chip. Integration platforms such as InP, Silicon on Insulator (SOI), and Silicon Nitride (Si3N4-SiO2) have reached the required degree of maturity to be considered as viable options for the implementation of MWP functions.

Our experts: Professor Robert Minasian, Professor Xiaoke Yi, Adjunct Associate Professor Linh Nguyen, Dr Liwei Li

Industry partner: Defence Science and Technology Group

This project aims to develop new photonic signal processing structures that can manipulate broadband signals. An important aspect of the work is to explore techniques to make the processors adaptive and tunable so that the characteristics can be controlled for information processing. Optical signal processing is expected to effectively handle high-speed, broadband signals in advanced optical communications systems and information processing. This can provide direct interfacing of fibre processing with high-speed systems. 

Photonic signal processors can overcome limitations imposed by conventional electrical signal processors at sampling speeds above 1GHz. In addition photonic processors are compatible with fibre-optic transmission systems and can process signals in the optical domain directly. Research is aimed at deriving new structures that can perform high speed processing tasks on the signals that are contained within the fibre. 

Applications both in the frequency domain and time domain include microwave filtering, interference suppressors, channel selectors, fast signal correlation, matched filtering and programmable delay lines. 

Our expert: Professor Xiaoke Yi

Our collaborator: Professor Stephen Twigg

Industry partner: Royal Prince Alfred Hospital

We aim to develop non-invasive biosensing techniques for health monitoring of diabetic patients, which are pain-free and risk-free and have high accuracy, real-time and low-cost measurement. We have developed a simple, hand-held breath testing device that detects deadly ketones. 

Our experts: Professor Robert Minasian, Professor Xiaoke Yi, Dr Liwei Li

There is an increasing demand for real-time monitoring and detection in biomedical, environmental and industrial applications using optoelectronic sensors. The photonic-based sensing technology offers sensors with relative immunity to electromagnetic interference, weight savings and safety improvement. This project aims to develop highly sensitive and robust sensors for hazard detection, health and fitness monitoring, and biomarker discovery.

Our expert: Associate Professor Javid Atai

This project involves fundamental research in nonlinear optical phenomena. It includes analysis and characterisation of the formation and dynamics of Bragg grating solitons in various structures such as:

  • nonuniform and coupled Bragg gratings and photonic crystals
  • the study of dispersion managed solitons
  • nonlinear pulse propagation in periodic media
  • solitons in dual-core optical waveguides.

It also includes the design of novel Bragg gratings for filtering and optical data format conversion.

Our experts: Associate Professor Javid Atai

Our collaborators: Foshan University; Huazhong University of Science and Technology; Wuhan National Laboratory for Optoelectronics

In this project we aim to develop novel Bragg gratings that can be used for optical data format conversion (for example, RZ-DPSK to NRZ-DPSK and vice versa). 

Our expert: Associate Professor Javid Atai

Our collaborators: Harvard University; University of Southern Denmark; Worcester Polytechnic Institute

The aim of this project is to develop novel adaptive algorithms to accurately determine the location of the capsule endoscope in the body. 

Our expert: Associate Professor Javid Atai

Our collaborator: University of Adelaide

In recent years, there has been a significant interest in terahertz-wave technology due to their applications in high data rate wireless communications, medical imaging and biosensing. This project involves designing novel low loss, dispersion-flattened photonic crystal fibres for terahertz applications. 

Our experts: Professor Robert Minasian, Professor Xiaoke Yi

This project aims to derive new architectures of optical phased arrays that realise high capacity phased array antennas that can generate high-resolution steerable beams and which can operate with wide bandwidth. Future radar and communication systems will require phased array antennas that can achieve true-time delay beam-forming and which can synthesise a large number of beams. The important advantages of wideband and squint-free operation motivate the use of optical beamforming techniques.

The aim is to investigate new photonic-based beamforming architecture that can realise a true-time delay beam steering in wide-band phased array antennas. This is based on fibre Bragg grating true time delay elements and multiple wavelength WDM techniques. This exploits the wavelength selectivity of gratings to realise a highly parallel delay processing function, which perform the complex signal delay processing equalisation on a large number of array elements simultaneously within the fibre. Our new architecture uses wavelength mapping to the array elements and partitioning concepts. Another objective is to investigate new direction finding techniques using photonics-based techniques that solve the accuracy and wideband operation requirements of these systems. The aim is to open the way to the realisation of high-functionality arrays for high-resolution multiple-beam antennas with wideband operation.