Advanced Electromagnetics


Combining nanophotonics, metamaterials, and quantum optics, Advanced Electromagnetic research at UNSW Canberra looks at acoustic and electromagnetic wave propagation, manipulation, and application to drive future innovations across energy and the environment, health and medicine, communications, computing and security. 

  • Nanophotonic research examines the science and application of light at the nanoscale. At such a small scale, the light and matter interaction can be significantly enhanced allowing for new applications that differ from those we are familiar with on an everyday scale. Using nanophotonics we can create new structures to manipulate light at a more precise level.   
  • Metamaterials are artificially structured materials that exhibit electromagnetic properties not seen, or available in nature. They are created on a small scale to manipulate or alter incoming waves like light or sound, causing them to behave in an unusual way. 
  • Quantum optics looks at the interaction of photons, the smallest particles of light, with matter at submicroscopic levels. The study of how photons interact with matter is crucial in understanding and revealing the hidden properties of light particles for entanglement, teleportation, and secure quantum information processing.  

Our research has supported advances in a variety of transformative products and services and is helping develop resilient devices for defence applications including: 

  • novel electromagnetic sources and detectors 
  • metamaterials for acoustic and electromagnetic isolation 
  • contributing to the development of world-leading systems for optical quantum computing 
  • controlling millimetre wave beams for automotive applications 
  • boosting the capability of sensors and devices based on metasurfaces platform.   

Our experiments cover acoustic, microwave, millimetre wave, terahertz and optical frequencies that have a range of applications across electrical and optoelectronic engineering. Our theoretical work has pushed the boundaries of quantum mechanics and the experimental investigation of quantum gravity, the emulation and investigation of topological properties of materials, and quantum phenomena in electromagnetic and acoustic systems.  

Competitive Advantage

  • We apply a combination of fundamental and applied expertise to link concepts from engineering and physics across the electromagnetic and acoustic spectrum. 
  • We are home to several world-class facilities including:
    • experimental facilities for microwave and millimetre wave measurement
    • acoustic facilities that cover audio frequency and ultrasonic ranges 
    • a laser laboratory for material characterisation (Class 3B and 4 lasers at 900-1000 nm range, UV LEDs, class 1 visible lasers, optical fibres, spectrum analysers, Raman spectrometer) 
    • world-leading experimental facilities in quantum optics: infrared fibre laser (5W, CW at 1550 nm), Titanium-Sapphire laser (2W, CW at 860 nm), Nd:YAG laser (500mW, CW at 1064 nm), a fast quantum-noise limited detectors and a superconducting nanowire single-photon detector. 

Successful Applications

  • Tunable holographic displays and smart AR/VR glasses 
  • Design of lightweight night vision goggles 
  • Highly efficient acoustic metasurfaces 
  • Smart textile based on tailored electromagnetic response for personal heat management and anti-viral properties 
  • Squeezing and entanglement in quantum optomechanical systems 
  • Optical neural networks 

Our group encompasses both fundamental and applied research, with funding from the Australian Research Council (ARC) and extensive collaborations with industry: 

We also have links with Defence 

Study With Us

We have supervised more than 20 final year projects in Advanced Electromagnetics covering topics such as photovoltaics, metasurfaces and LIDARs for imaging, and autonomous driving. We also teach sections of the elective course Microgrids and Renewable Energy.