Category Archives: RMIT

Ecolinc STEM program

16 October 2017:

Centre Associate Investigator, Dr Kate Fox from RMIT University has participated in the Ecolinc STEM for Women program in Melbourne, Oct 16th, 2017.

Ninety students (Years 9 and 10) attended the event where they  got to learn of the experiences from a range of women who work in a variety of STEM related areas. They also heard from education providers about potential career pathways in STEM and listened to the career journeys of successful women in science.

The students were from Upper Yarra, St Albans, Dandenong, Southern Cross Grammar, Bacchus Marsh, Overnewton College, Highview College, Bellarine and Whittlesea.


Nano ‘terminator style’ antennae

12 October 2017:

The liquid metal, shape-shifting T-1000 Terminator cyborg, featuring in a 1991 science-fiction film Terminator 2, was made possible due to breakthroughs in computer-generated imagery.

Some 25 years later, using breakthroughs in physics and chemistry CNBP scientists Dr Ivan Maksymov and Prof Andy Greentree at RMIT University have shown reconfigurable liquid-metal optical nanoantennae.

“An optical nanoantenna operates similarly to a conventional radio-frequency antenna, but its size is millions of times smaller” explains Dr Ivan Maksymov, “so it can receive and emit light similar to how a mobile phone antenna receives and emits radio waves.”

“The shape and length of the metal components that form a radio-frequency antenna determine its major properties such as operating frequency and radiation pattern,” explains Prof Andy Greentree, “so a liquid metal that can change its shape by applying voltage allows for changing antenna properties, which otherwise is difficult to achieve with fixed metal parts.”

“However, reconfigurability of optical nanoantennae is even more difficult to achieve than in radio-frequency antennae, because of their small size and lack of technologies enabling us to apply voltage to nanoscale sized objects. Therefore, we proposed a new solution – reconfiguration of liquid-metal nanoparticles using ultrasound.”

Continued Dr Maksymov, “A liquid-metal nanoparticle can change its shape due to capillary oscillations, which can be seen by everybody when observing water drops falling from a leaking kitchen tap. Drops change their shape when they detach from the tap and fall into the sink. In our work, we use ultrasound to change the shape of liquid-metal nanodroplets, which changes the nanoantenna’s operating frequency.”

“But fundamental physics remains the same as in the case of water drops.”

The paper ‘Dynamically reconfigurable plasmon resonances enabled by capillary oscillations of liquid-metal nanodroplets’ is accessible online.

CNBP at AstroLight Festival

23 September 2017:

CNBP scientists joined forces with astronauts, astronomers, scientists, stargazers and artists to present a night starring astronomy and light at the annual AstroLight Festival, held at Scienceworks in Melbourne, Saturday 23 September, 2017.

The public event, which attracted more than 1,500 attendees, saw eleven CNBP team members involved – giving talks, undertaking light-focused science demonstrations and hosting an interactive stall.

Specific talks included:

  • Science Fiction Science Fact – Laser Combat in Movies  from A/Prof Brant Gibson, CNBP node leader at RMIT
  • The Spark of Life – Dr Hannah Brown, CNBP Fellow from the University of Adelaide
  • Fluorescent Proteins – From Nature to the Lab from CNBP PhD student  Emma Wilson

Event feedback from A/Prof Gibson was extremely positive. “There was plenty of interest in our light-based CNBP science and some great questions from the public both young and old. The team really pulled together to make our participation such a success – both on the night and in the lead up activity, and with the development of the displays and demonstrations.”

Below – The CNBP team ready to do outreach!

Exploring small-sized nanoflakes

29 August 2017:

Size-dependent structural and electronic properties of MoSmonolayer nanoflakes, of sizes up to 2nm, have been investigated by CNBP researchers using density-functional theory (DFT). The paper, published in Scientific Reports is accessible online.

Journal: Scientific Reports.

Publication title: A study of size-dependent properties of MoSmonolayer nanoflakes using density-functional theory.

Authors: M. Javaid (pictured), Daniel W. Drumm, Salvy P. Russo & Andrew D. Greentree.

Abstract: Novel physical phenomena emerge in ultra-small sized nanomaterials. We study the limiting small-size-dependent properties of MoS2 monolayer rhombic nanoflakes using density-functional theory on structures of size up to Mo35S70 (1.74 nm). We investigate the structural and electronic properties as functions of the lateral size of the nanoflakes, finding zigzag is the most stable edge configuration, and that increasing size is accompanied by greater stability. We also investigate passivation of the structures to explore realistic settings, finding increased HOMO-LUMO gaps and energetic stability. Understanding the size-dependent properties will inform efforts to engineer electronic structures at the nano-scale.

Nano-diamond arrays on glass

23 August 2017:

Researchers from CNBP’s RMIT University node (lead author Ashleigh Heffernan), have published a paper demonstrating a directed self-assembly method to position nanodiamonds on glass. The method, allowing for the statistical quantification of fluorescent nanoparticles provides a step towards fabrication of hybrid photonic devices for applications from quantum cryptography to sensing.

The paper is accessible online.

Journal: Scientific Reports.

Publication title: Nanodiamond arrays on glass for quantification and fluorescence characterisation.

Authors: Ashleigh H. Heffernan, Andrew D. Greentree & Brant C. Gibson.

Abstract: Quantifying the variation in emission properties of fluorescent nanodiamonds is important for developing their wide-ranging applicability. Directed self-assembly techniques show promise for positioning nanodiamonds precisely enabling such quantification. Here we show an approach for depositing nanodiamonds in pre-determined arrays which are used to gather statistical information about fluorescent lifetimes. The arrays were created via a layer of photoresist patterned with grids of apertures using electron beam lithography and then drop-cast with nanodiamonds. Electron microscopy revealed a 90% average deposition yield across 3,376 populated array sites, with an average of 20 nanodiamonds per site. Confocal microscopy, optimised for nitrogen vacancy fluorescence collection, revealed a broad distribution of fluorescent lifetimes in agreement with literature. This method for statistically quantifying fluorescent nanoparticles provides a step towards fabrication of hybrid photonic devices for applications from quantum cryptography to sensing.

Low-power nonlinear photonic effects

15 August 2017:

Dr Ivan Maksymov from CNBP’s RMIT University node, visited the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Macquarie University Aug 15, 2017 and gave a well attended seminar.

The talk centred on the theory  of low-power nonlinear photonic effects and was formally titled, “Nonlinear optics with low-power light: Transduction of acoustic nonlinearities into the optical domain.”

Girls in Physics

15 August 2017:

Emma Wilson, CNBP PhD student has participated in a ‘Girls in Physics’ outreach program run by the Vicphysics Teachers’ Network in Melbourne, August 15, 2017.

The program, a breakfast event whereby female scientists working in physics or related areas, are teamed up with a table of Year 11/12 female students, is an opportunity to encourage young women to take up further studies in STEMM related subjects after high school.

“This year the main speaker presenting was Katie Mack, an Astrophysicist,” says Emma.

“The aim of the breakfast is to inspire young women and to have people such as myself on hand to answer any questions the students might have regarding a career as a scientist.”

CNBP attracts the crowds at RMIT Open Day

13 August 2017:

Over 400 interested members of the public, including prospective students,  dropped by the CNBP laboratories as a part of RMIT University’s annual Open Day event, Sunday 13th August, 2017.

The Centre had two optics laboratories open and both were fully staffed by researchers eager to share their knowledge and enthusiasm for science.

In the first laboratory, an Olympus wide field microscope was on display with a live-cell incubation chamber and a daphnia (water flea), with brightfield and fluorescence videos.

In the other, a cryogenic confocal microscope was on show, which is able to look at the optical properties of nanomaterials, down to temperatures of 4K (which is -269 deg C).

According to CNBP node leader at RMIT, A/Prof Brant Gibson, the day was a great success.

“We saw a large, interested and engaged crowd who really wanted to find out more about our research and activity, and were curious as to how nanoscale biophotonics was going to impact society over coming years.”

There was also a large number of prospective students who visited and talked with CNBP team members. They had a wonderfully diverse range of interests ranging across the physics, chemistry, biology, IT and engineering disciplines.”

“It was fantastic to see the next generation of excited young scientist!”

The palette of the mind

12 July 2017:

Around fifty high performing Year 10 to Year 12 students from Australia and New Zealand came to RMIT on the 11th of July to listen to CNBP Chief Investigator Prof Andy Greentree present  a talk titled “Colour: the palette of the mind.”

The talk was a part of the Youth ANZAAS visit to RMIT University. Youth ANZAAS 2017 is organised by the Australian and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science and the Royal Society of New Zealand. It is is an annual residential international forum for science students still at school.

An abstract of Prof Greentree’s talk follows:

Colour is a complicated phenomenon! For most of us, most of the information we receive about the world comes from light, and that light is encoded by colour. This talk will explore colour. From the physics of light, to how we detect colour information, to the psychophysics of how our brain understands those signals to make sense of the world.

RMIT School of Science Research Day

10 July 2017:

The RMIT School of Science Research Day was held on July 10th, with several members of the RMIT Node presenting CNBP research.

Postgraduate students Daniel Stavrevski, Marco Capelli and Josef Worboys participated in the 3 Minute Thesis competition: Josef Worboys was awarded the winning prize  for his work related to ‘quantum correlations’, and will go on to the University level competition.

The day’s program was concluded with a poster session including posters from CNBP’s Philipp Reineck, Emma Wilson, Nafisa Zohora, Marco Capelli and Ashleigh Heffernan.