Watching One Molecule At A Time


Our group is heavily invested in understanding molecular parameters that underpin the excitonic behaviour at a nanoscale.  An exciton is a Coulombically bound electron-hole pair that is generated in a material either by light absorption or electrical charge injection.  As the size of devices decreases, single molecules dominate optical processes such as energy transfer.  In our group, we use single molecule spectroscopy to study optical processes occurring at a single molecule level otherwise obscured while using conventional spectroscopic methods that ensemble averages molecular heterogeneity.  For example, single molecules show fluorescence blinking, which causes random switching of emission between on and off states.  In this project, you will investigate blinking dynamics in low dimensional systems and identify its origin.


Dr Girish Lakhwani

Research Location

School of Chemistry

Program Type



Single molecule spectroscopy provides a capability to study fluorescent properties of isolated molecules below the diffraction limit of light.  2014 Nobel Prize for Chemistry was awarded to celebrate the achievements and advancements in super-resolution imaging and single molecule spectroscopy and their applications in the field of life sciences and materials science achieving resolution <10nm.  In this project, students will use confocal microscopy and home-built SMS setup to study fluorescence properties of single molecules, such as spectra, lifetimes and blinking behaviour.  A challenging behaviour will be to adapt the SMS setup to perform time-resolved kinetic studies on fluorescence blinking.

Additional Information

This project is particularly of interest to students who are inclined towards physical chemistry or physics, with focus on optical spectroscopy leading into field of laser spectroscopy.  Prospective students should have a strong command in physical chemistry.  Applications are welcome from both chemistry and physics discipline.

For more information on our research and other opportunities, please visit the group website:

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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single molecule spectroscopy, fluorescence blinking, diffraction limit, super resolution spectroscopy, energy transfer, quantum dots, conjugated materials

Opportunity ID

The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is: 2443

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