CGA Winter Research Program

21 April 2023

The ANU Centre for Gravitational Astrophysics hosts a Winter Research Program at its HQ at The Australian National University. 

The program runs over 5 weeks from 19 June until 21 July 2023 and best suits third-year, Honours and Masters students in Physics, Astrophysics and Engineering, currently enrolled at all universities across the country. 

The students will be supervised by our world-class academics, work closely with the Gravitational Wave Laboratory – where some of the most amazing recent research breakthroughs have been initiated – and interact with our bright HDR students. 

There is a generous allowance of up to $500/week on offer, in addition, students currently enrolled at interstate universities can apply for travel and accommodation assistance. 

Projects on offer: 

  • Phase Tracking Satellites with Rapid Trajectories (A/Prof. Kirk McKenzie and Dr Andrew Wade)

Inter-satellite laser ranging has been demonstrated to track satellite separation with nanometer precision on the GRACE Follow-On Mission. This project looks at methods to track satellites with high relative velocity, which would enable a large class of future geodesy mission.

  • Building a Compact Fibre Stabilisation Unit for Squeezed Light (Dr Terry McRae and Dr Chathura Bandutunga)

In order to develop the next-generation of squeezed light sources for gravitational wave detectors, we need to start with stable lasers. This project aims to build a flexible laser stabilisation unit using fibre optics to operate at optical wavelengths proposed for future gravitational wave detectors. The project will involve constructing a fibre optic frequency reference, benchmarking it against existing frequency standards and integrating it with a squeezed light source at 2um wavelengths.

  • Rapid Dispersion Spectrometry with Optical Frequency Combs (Mr Justin Wong, Dr Chathura Bandutunga)

Spectroscopy looks for the molecular fingerprints in trace gases to identify their componsition and concentration. By measuring the anomolous dispersion of these fingerprints or transitions, dispersion spectroscopy allows us to use optical interferometry to detect small concentrations of these trace gases. This project aims to combine optical interferometric techniques with a digitally synthesied optical frequency comb to allow dispersion measurements over a wide frequency range with a rapid and flexible readout. It's the first step towards developing rapid-scanning, high-sensitivity chemical analysis tools for trace gas sensing.

  • Stress testing Digital Interferometry (Dr Paul Sibley and Ms Anneshwa Dey)

Digital Interferometry is a hybrid optical – digital signal processing technique used across our research and development efforts in photonic sensors. The project will evaluate recent advancements to the technique in less than ideal measurement configurations, with a particular focus on enabling measurements that weren’t previously possible. This development has applications including Optical Phased Arrays, novel audio sensors and vibrometry.

  • Simscape-ing for a MultiSAS (Dr Bram Slagmolen, Dr Jennifer Wright, Dr Sheon Chua)

Isolation systems are critical for shielding precision measurement experiments, such as gravitational-wave detectors and Newtonian noise detectors, from large local environmental motion. Knowledge about how these isolation systems (themselves) respond to motion, and how to control their response, is key to maximizing their isolation performance. This project will look at investigating the MultiSAS isolation system within our lab, building and comparing a MATLAB Simscape model to physical measurements.

To apply:

  1. fill out the registration form via this link

  2. send your CV and your most recent academic transcript to  

Applications close on 31 May at 11:55pm and the successful applicants will be informed by mid June. 

For further information, please contact

An information session for this program will be held on 17 May, more information.