Physics Researchers are ARC winners

15 November 2011

School of Physics researchers have been awarded over $3.6million through ARC Future Fellowships and Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards (DECRA).

The funding outcomes were announced by Innovation Minister Senator Kim Carr who said, "Support for our researchers is crucial if we want to keep Australia 'the clever country', one which continues to come up with solutions to the big problems and issues facing Australians and the world every day."

ARC Future Fellowships promote research in areas of critical national importance by giving outstanding researchers incentives to conduct their research in Australia.

The aim of Future Fellowships is to attract and retain the best and brightest mid-career researchers. Congratulations to Dr Christopher Chaston and Dr Mark Pelusi who were both awarded Future Fellowships.

Dr Christopher Chaston was awarded $715,360.00 for his research project - Wave energy transport, conversion and dissipation in near-Earth space - The near-Earth space environment is characterised by cycles of energy transport, conversion and release through particle acceleration that lead to dazzling aurora and damaged spacecraft and communication systems. This research seeks to identify how this energy is transported through space and the means through which it is converted and released.

Dr Mark Pelusi was awarded $660,528.00 for his research project Broadband compensation of nonlinear signal distortion in optical fibre communications - This project will investigate novel optical technologies for overcoming the approaching data capacity limits of global optical communication networks that are caused by transmission errors from nonlinear signal distortion in optical fibre. The research will show that light propagation through specially designed waveguides can cancel the distortion.

The ARC Discovery Early Career Researcher Award (DECRA) scheme provides more focused support for researchers and creates more opportunities for early-career researchers in both teaching and research, and research-only positions.

Each of the School's six DECRA recipients receives a total award of $375,000. Details of the recipients and their project summaries are below.

Dr Eric Cavalcanti - The structure of nonclassicality and the foundations of quantum theory - What exactly makes quantum computers faster than classical computers and why does the world obey the counterintuitive rules of quantum mechanics? This project will use insights gained from researching the information- processing capabilities in a quantum world to investigate the nature of the theory itself and ways in which it might be modified.

Dr Chad Husko - Optical solitons on a photonic chip: unprecedented light control at the nanoscale - Solitons, waves that maintain their shape as they travel, exist in systems as diverse as water waves, molecular biology, and optics. This project explores previously unobservable light propagation regimes in two-dimensional periodic media, photonic crystals. These studies provide unprecedented control of light-matter interaction at the nanoscale.

Dr Nicolas Menicucci - Quantum computation and relativistic quantum information - Quantum information theory has profound implications both for practical computing and for our fundamental understanding of the universe. This project will determine the viability of one particular quantum computing platform and also develop theoretical and experimental tools to probe the interface between quantum theory and relativity.

Dr Jochen Schröder - Ultra-stable photonic-chip pulse source - An ultra-low noise high repetition photonic-chip pulse source is proposed. This ultra-stable device offers orders-of- magnitude improvements over existing solutions and holds potential for strong improvements to analogue-to-digital converters. The laser will be a crucial component for photonic integrated circuits, enabling millimetre size processing.

Dr Dennis Stello - Probing fundamental stellar physics and unravelling open star clusters with NASA's Kepler Mission - The project will detect stellar oscillations caused by massive starquakes to explore the interiors of stars born in clusters, which comprise most stars. The project will measure their mass, size, age and composition with unprecedented accuracy to reveal how they formed and evolved, and hence gain a deep understanding of the intricate lives of stars.

Dr Chunle Xiong - Quantum entanglement using slow-light-enhanced nonlinearity - The project will develop the fundamental science for creating quantum entanglement in micro- and nano-scale photonic devices so that thousands of these devices can be placed onto a single chip. This is the key to building practical quantum technologies that will make communications much more secure and computations many times faster.

Congratulations and well done to all the recipients.

Contact: Alison Muir

Phone: 02 9036 5194

Email: 54045d420e0b625a06331f060b0f0137121d17205d226d2804