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Fiber-based mesocopic optical tweezers and actuators for biophotonic applications


This project will explore optomecahnical effects in systems of coupled tapered fibres (fibre-based mesoscopic optical tweezers) of various profiles for novel applications in cellular mechanics.  Mesocopic tapers have lengths that are significantly larger than their cross-sectional dimensions, possess unique mechanical properties (extremely large Q factors), and can guide a considerable part of light in evanescent field, allowing easy coupling to other tapers and the environment.  These features offer multiple opportunities for studying physiology of living and diseased cells, which is inherently interconnected to the mechanical responses (e.g. elasticity) of the cells.


Dr Ivan Rukhlenko, Professor Simon Fleming.

Research location

School of Physics

Program type



The project will develop fibre-based mesoscopic optical tweezers for testing and actuation of living cells over macroscopic distances.  Fiber tapers will be designed, fabricated and characterised in our research fibre fabrication facility.  The systems of coupled tapers will be moddelled to elucidate the optimal regimes of compressing and stretching of living cells.  These will be used in a series of proof of concept experiments and, where possible, will lead to actual trials.  Thus, the project is interdisciplinary, encompassing an understanding of biomedical application, plus advancing knowledge in key aspects of the device physics.

Additional information

Additional supervisors:  Dr Roman Noskov, Tel Aviv University, Isreal.

HDR Inherent Requirements

In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:

- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)

You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.

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Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2638

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