Monthly Archives: August 2016

Successful CNBP workshop at RMIT node

RMIT workshopsq19 August 2016:

CNBP’s RMIT University node hosted CNBP researchers from Macquarie University and the University of Adelaide today, at a successful and well attended workshop event held in Melbourne.

A number of CNBP related projects currently taking place at RMIT were explored during the day long session, including presentations and discussion on the following topics:

  • Efforts to fabricate micro-optics for integration on multicore optical fibre imaging bundles
  • The potential of combining nano-photonics and biomedical acoustics to open new windows into the body
  • Use of of diamond lasers for sensing
  • Optimal search techniques when measuring at the nanoscale
  • The development of a molecular zinc sensor based on successful collaboration between CNBP chemists, physicists and biologists.

Other discussion points covered were diverse, and included but were not limited to – phone technology for fertility assessment, polarised endoscopes, spiky cholesterol crystals, 3D lens printing, bubble functionalisation, diamond laser sensing, conditional probability distribution, high-impact non-lame publishing via interdisciplinary collaboration and so much more!

Formal and informal networking took place throughout the day with new avenues for potential investigation captured. Thanks to all who participated on such a knowledge expanding day!


Adelaide Compass outreach collaboration


CNBP researchers and Adelaide Compass at the University of Adelaide teamed up today to host an extremely successful outreach session as a part of National Science Week, 2016.

The ‘Hit The Lights’ outreach program saw Year 5 students from Burton Primary School visit the CNBP HQ and participate in interactive workshops, demonstrations and discussions, all related to light, optics and CNBP science.

A thoroughly enjoyable experience was had by both CNBP researchers and students with lots learned by all on the day!



Dr Christopher Paige visits CNBP

cnbplogosquare115 August 2016:

Dr Christopher Paige, from CNBP research partner organisation University Health Network (UHN/University of Toronto) visited the Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) on 15 August 2016 to discuss how the Canadian funding system is working, MRFF/NHMRC Reviews and broader collaboration in general.

Whilst at CNBP he attended a lunch hosted by the DVCR (Mike Brooks) and was given a tour of both CNBP and SAHMRI facilities.

The visit follows on from a successful  partnership launch between the two organisations in May 2016.

New student at CNBP MQ node

Minakshi-Das_sq15 August 2016:

CNBP’s Macquarie University node welcomes student Minakshi Das to the team.

Minakshi is undertaking her PhD on bio functionalization of upconversion nanoparticles for cancer cell targeting and labeling, and is being supervised by Dr. Xiaoxue Xu and CNBP Chief Investigator, Professor Nicolle Packer.

Prior to joining Macquarie University, Minakshi completed her Masters of Engineering in Biomedical Sciences from Gachon University, South Korea. She worked under the guidance of Prof. Dong Kee Yi and Prof. Seong Soo A. An, where she analysed the protein corona effect of silica functionalised gold nanorods on mammalian cells.

Minakshi also possesses a Bachelor’s of Science degree in Biotechnology from Utkal University, Odisha, India.

Her career goal in the near future is to solve the unanswered questions related to ‘upconversion nanoparticle – cell interaction’ as a part of her PhD and to continue doing further research in nanotechnology for Targeted Cancer Therapy.


Open Day at RMIT University

IMG_6019final_sq14 August 2016:

CNBP’s RMIT University node had a highly successful Open Day experience, with more than 500 people passing through CNBP laboratories and work areas, with CNBP researchers on hand to discuss their science and explain more fully just what nano-scale biophotonics encompasses!

Activities included Associate Professor Brant Gibson introducing CNBP to groups of families, postdocs discussing their own photonics and biology research, students discussed the day to day life of lectures and labs, and Professor Andy Greentree greeting visitors at the elevator foyer with a giant spring and a leafblower.

According to CNBP node leader A/Prof Brant Gibson a real highlight on the day was seeing theoretical CNBP researchers in the labs, discussing their work to the public and explaining the experimental equipment used by CNBP on a daily basis, such as optics tables and lasers.

Below, CNBP researchers Emma Wilson and Ivan Maksymov discuss their science to members of the public.

Ivan and emma

Open Day at the University of Adelaide


In a great start to National Science Week, CNBP researchers at the University of Adelaide participated in the annual University Open Day, engaging with prospective students and the general public with a host of interactive demonstrations, talks and laboratory tours.

According to CNBP General Manager Mel Trebilcock, “Our X-factor this year by far, was the vast amount of experiments, interactive and hands on activities that we were able to offer to prospective students and to the general public. Fantastic outreach was had and we flew the CNBP flag high.”

Experiments on display included a laser fountain using water pumps and laser pointers to show how light can be “bent” by water using total internal reflection (the same principle used in fibre optics). This was shown alongside examples of optical fibre made at the University of Adelaide.

Solutions of fluorescent dyes were also prepared, with laser pointers used to show how the dyes fluoresce, turning the light of the laser pointer a different colour.

Also set up a was a cloud chamber which allowed the public to see cosmic rays and other radiation, and a crystal garden to show how metal salts can grow into corral-like structures in sodium silicate solution.

“The day was a great success! A big thanks to our passionate researchers who enthused about our science,” Mel Tebilcock concluded.


Encouraging female students to study STEM subjects

sanam Mustafa11 August 2016:

After a successful keynote presentation at the 2015 annual ‘Beach Energy Women in STEM Breakfast’ at Thebarton Senior College, CNBP’s Dr Mustafa was once again invited back to the college to engage with young female students at the 2016 event.

Returning from maternity leave, Dr Sanam Mustafa was in an ideal position to highlight the evolution of male dominated fields towards a more balanced work environment where support was available for women returning from breaks in their career.

Dr Mustafa shared her positive experience at CNBP which she attributed to the nurturing leadership strategy of Professor Mark Hutchinson (a father of two young girls), and the culture of the organisation. She explained that it was important to maintain a channel of communication even during periods of absence so that it was easier to reconnect when coming back to the workplace.  Through this open communication, Dr Mustafa was able to negotiate a return to work plan that catered for her new responsibilities as a mother.

The event organisers themselves demonstrated their commitment to engaging women with caring responsibilities by welcoming Dr Mustafa’s 9 month old daughter Zaina to the breakfast event as well.

Feedback from participants was that this STEM focused networking and information session for high-school aged female students was a huge success.

Quasiperiodic nanohole arrays on optical fibers as plasmonic sensors

Peipei-Jia_low_sq10 August 2016:

The latest paper published by CNBP scientists demonstrates the quasiperiodic nanohole array based optical fiber as a high-performance plasmonic sensor.

Journal: ACS Sensors.

Publication title: Quasiperiodic Nanohole Arrays on Optical Fibers as Plasmonic Sensors: Fabrication and Sensitivity Determination.

Authors: Peipei Jia (pictured top left), Zhaoliang Yang, Jun Yang and Heike Ebendorff-Heidepriem.

Abstract: Surface plasmon resonance enhanced optical transmission has been observed in periodic nanohole arrays and plenty of plasmonic applications from label-free biosensing to surface-enhanced spectroscopies on various platforms have been found. Recently this effect has also been demonstrated for nanohole arrays with quasiperiodic patterns such as the Penrose tiling. Here we pattern and transfer quasiperiodic nanohole arrays onto optical fibers and investigate their optical performance in refractive index sensing. These quasiperiodic arrays show multiple resonances closely related to their geometric features. The resonances are narrow and sensitive to the dielectric changes on the probe surface due to our high quality fabrication. We find the measured sensitivity of our quasiperiodic nanohole arrays is as high as that of periodic nanohole arrays and reaches the theoretical sensitivity limit as predicted by our universal sensitivity analysis. This result in turn verifies our sensitivity theory on propagating surface plasmon resonance in a wider range beyond periodic nanostructure arrays. Our study demonstrates the quasiperiodic nanohole array based optical fiber is a high-performance plasmonic sensor.

The paper is available online.

Singlet oxygen generation in photosensitizers

staff photos for Centre of Excellence in Nanoscale Biophotonics (CNBP)10 August 2016:

Researchers from the CNBP have published a paper reporting on the modification of the efficiency of singlet oxygen generation in photosensitizers conjugated to dielectric (CeF3) and metal (Au) nanoparticles in water.

Journal: Journal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry.

Publication title: Nanoparticle-mediated singlet oxygen generation from photosensitizers.

Authors: Sandhya Clement (pictured above), Mushtaq Sobhan, Wei Deng, Elizabeth Camilleri, Ewa M. Goldys.

Abstract: We report on the modification of the efficiency of singlet oxygen generation in photosensitizers conjugated to dielectric (CeF3) and metal (Au) nanoparticles in water. The conjugates were formed with two photosensitizers, verteporfin and Rose Bengal. Quantitative analysis of the singlet oxygen generation demonstrated that the conjugation of the photosensitizer to a nanoparticle increases the efficiency of the photosensitizers to produce singlet oxygen in water. The singlet oxygen quantum yield of UV-sensitized verteporfin increases by a factor of 1.45 and 1.64 for CeF3-verteporfin and Au-verteporfin conjugates respectively compared to unconjugated verteporfin. Furthermore, Au-Rose Bengal conjugates also demonstrated enhanced singlet oxygen yield when sensitized at the plasmonic wavelength of 532 nm. We quantitatively explain these findings by the electric field enhancements around the nanoparticles.

The paper is available online.

Photochromic molecules explored in MOF environment

Daniel Stubing High Res Edit 005510 August 2016:

Researchers from the CNBP have published a paper representing the first major study of the stability and compatibility of the major classes of photochromic compounds within the microstructured optical fibre (MOF) environment.

In developing light-responsive surfaces, investigators face several challenges, not only in achieving high photostationary states and fully reversible switching, but also in fluorescence properties and fatigue resistance upon continuous exposure to high intensity light. However, information on the latter two are often lacking as studies on photochromic compounds are often focused on photoswitching, or absorbance and colour changes. To address this gap in literature, the fluorescence and photostability of four major types of photochromic molecules (azobenzene, spiropyran, indolyfulgide and diarylalkene) when dissolved in DMSO, or acetonitrile, or adsorbed to a MOF silica surface were investigated.

Journal: Sensors and Actuators B: Chemical.

Publication title: A Comparative Study of the Fluorescence and Photostability of Common Photoswitches in Microstructured Optical Fibre.

Authors: Daniel B. Stubing (pictured top left), Sabrina Heng, Tanya M. Monro and Andrew D. Abell.

Abstract: The fluorescence spectra and photostability under 532 nm laser excitation of four different common photoswitches (an azobenzene, spiropyran, indolylfulgide, and a diarylperfluorocyclopentene) were investigated in a silica microstructured optical fibre. An example of each photoswitch was examined in solution and physically adsorbed to the silica fibre surface. This comparison was made to define fluorescence behaviour in these two states and to determine which photoswitch has the best performance in this light intense microenvironment. The azobenzene and the spiropyran switches demonstrated the strongest fluorescence response and the least degradation of the fluorescence signal.

The paper is available online.