Category Archives: RMIT

Science ‘Experience Day’ at RMIT

18 January 2017:

Researchers at CNBP’s RMIT University node were busy doing light-based demonstrations on Wednesday Jan 18th, as part of the ‘RMIT University Experience Day’ program, whereby students from years 10, 11 and 12 get to engage in hands-on workshops and explore life on campus while experiencing the differing aspects of University discipline areas.

As part of the ‘experience’ activity, over seventy high school students (predominantly in Year 10) visited the CNBP researchers in their physics laboratories. While there, students were given an overview of biophotonic science as well as laboratory research, and shown the exciting things that can be done with light including 3D scanning, fluorescence microscopy and more.

Below – CNBP researcher Philipp Reineck talks and demonstrates photonics to students.




New PhD student at RMIT Uni node

16 December 2016:

CNBP’s RMIT University node welcomes new PhD student Maria Javaid to the team.

Maria has a MPhil from the University of Sargodha, Pakistan and her background is in exploring the transport properties of graphene.

Here Maria will be searching for new fluorescent biomarkers based on 2d materials. She will be supervised by CNBP Chief Investigator Andy Greentree and CNBP Research Fellow Daniel Drumm.

A big CNBP welcome to you Maria!

New paper in ‘Nanoscale’

Low Res Edit 01065 December 2016:

A new publication from CNBP researchers (lead author Philipp Reineck pictured) demonstrates bright and photostable fluorescence from nitrogen-vacancy centers in unprocessed nanodiamond particle aggregates. The work has just been reported in the journal ‘Nanoscale’ and is accessible online.

Journal: Nanoscale.

Title: Bright and photostable nitrogen-vacancy fluorescence from unprocessed detonation nanodiamond.

Authors: P. Reineck, M. Capelli, D. W. M. Lau, J. Jeske, M. R. Field, T. Ohshim, A. D. Greentree and B. C. Gibson.

Abstract: Bright and photostable fluorescence from nitrogen-vacancy (NV) centers is demonstrated in unprocessed detonation nanodiamond particle aggregates. The optical properties of these particles is analyzed using confocal fluorescence microscopy and spectroscopy, time resolved fluorescence decay measurements, and optically detected magnetic resonance experiments. Two particle populations with distinct optical properties are identified and compared to high-pressure high-temperature (HPHT) fluorescent
nanodiamonds. We find that the brightness of one detonation nanodiamond particle population is on the same order as that of highly processed fluorescent 100 nm HPHT nanodiamonds. Our results may open the path to a simple and up-scalable route for
the production of fluorescent NV nanodiamonds for use in bioimaging applications.

Near-infrared fluorescent nanomaterials

Low Res Edit 010628 October 2016:

CNBP researchers Philipp Reineck (pictured left) and A/Prof Brant Gibson explore recent advances in the development and use of near-infrared fluorescent nanomaterials for biomedical imaging and sensing applications in this just released review paper.

Journal: Advanced Optical Materials

Title: Near-Infrared Fluorescent Nanomaterials for Bioimaging and Sensing

Authors: Philipp Reineck and Brant Cameron Gibson

Abstract: A great challenge in noninvasive biomedical imaging is the acquisition of
images inside a biological system at the cellular level. Common modalities used today
such as magnetic resonance or computed tomography imaging have the advantage that
any part of a living organism can be imaged at any depth, but are limited to millimeter
resolution and can usually not be employed e.g., for surgical guidance. Optical imaging
techniques offer resolution on the 100 nanometer scale, but are limited by the strong
attenuation of visible light by biological matter and are traditionally used to image on the
surface. Near-infrared light in the “biological windows” can penetrate much deeper into
biological samples, rendering fluorescence-based imaging a viable alternative. In the past
two decades, many fluorescent nanomaterials have been developed to operate in the near
infrared, yet only few materials emitting above 1000 nm exist and none are approved for
clinical use. This review describes recent advances in the development and use of nearinfrared fluorescent nanomaterials for biomedical imaging and sensing applications. The physical and chemical properties as well as the bioconjugation and application of materials such as organic fluorophores, semiconductor quantum dots, carbon-based materials, rare earth materials, and polymer particles are discussed.

The paper is accessible online.



Researchers light-up festival


Researchers from the RMIT University node of the Centre for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP) were out in force to support this year’s AstroLight Festival at Scienceworks, Melbourne, undertaking a wide variety of talks, displays, hands-on activities and demonstrations that entertained and educating over 2000 excited members of the public.

From talks encompassing laser combat in the movies (and how lasers work in real life), to the natural ‘glow-sticks’ found in the living environment, to astronomy at the nanoscale, the CNBP-RMIT team had a blast, in taking their passion for lasers, optics, fluorescence, and all things ‘light-based’ and molecular out to the wider community.

From an evening of highlights, brought together by professional researchers, industry bodies, science communicators and community science groups (and over 250 volunteers), there were amazing wonders of astronomy, light and science to be seen at AstroLight 2016. Not least, a cutting edge fluorescence microscope brought to the event by CNBP that allowed attendees to view the amazing biology that makes up cells, to a scanner that could take 3D images of objects in real-time, to colourful laser based activities that demonstrated just how light waves work.

A/Prof Brant Gibson, CNBP node leader at RMIT University saw the festival as a huge success. “All of the contributors and organisations came together to share their knowledge and expertise and there was plenty of fun and engaging activities for individuals of all ages to participate in.”

Gibson was particularly happy with the way in which the CNBP-RMIT researchers came together to support the event. “They worked tirelessly in producing suitable talks and demonstrations as there was a real desire to showcase our science in the most appealing and engaging way possible. The large numbers of people at our stand and in our CNBP demonstration rooms, all curious about biophotonics, was testament to the effort, energy and enthusiasm shown by our team in making this event so memorable.”

Gibson also commented on the importance of taking science out to the community. “It’s critical that we communicate the fantastic research that we are doing, and that we do it in a way that makes it real and important to the general public and that they can see how it impacts on their everyday lives. Of course, making it fun and exciting as well, is the perfect way to showcase what we do which is why AstroLight is such an outstanding festival.”

Inspiring the next generation of potential researchers was also a key objective to participating. “We really want to encourage an interest in, and continued learning in STEM subjects that will foster future innovation,” said Gibson. “Hopefully some of the children wowed by our lasers and talks will be doing my job in twenty-five years time. Wouldn’t that be great!”

Below – CNBP researcher Emma Wilson demonstrates use of a fluorescence microscope.


Education session at Olympus Australia

Andy-Greentree-at-Olympus26 August 2016:

Olympus LIVE hosted a workshop today, involving a group of Quantum Physics researchers and  students from RMIT University and the ARC Centre of Excellence for Nanoscale BioPhotonics (CNBP).

It was the first microscopy workshop of its kind involving Olympus, the University and Centre, giving students valuable exposure and hands-on experience with resident Olympus microscopy experts.

The initial planning for the event was coordinated by CNBP Chief Investigator Prof Andrew Greentree from RMIT University (pictured top left) and CNBP industry partner Mr Jian Shen from Olympus Australia. The day consisted of a training/education session that was part of the ‘Masters in Nanotechnology and Smart Materials’ course, which is in its first year at RMIT University.

The event was hosted by Olympus at their state of the art new facility at Notting Hill, Melbourne and included a theory session, hands on training on microscopes run by Olympus experts, and a tour of some of the facilities.

It is planned that this will become an annual event as part of the ‘Masters in Nanotechnology and Smart Materials’ course at RMIT.

Said Prof Greentree, “This is just another way that the Olympus/CNBP partnership is providing benefits above and beyond that of direct research.”


Inaugural Professorial Lecture by CI Greentree

Andy-Greentree_web19 August 2016:

CNBP Chief Investigator Andrew Greentree presented to a full-house at RMIT University during his Inaugural Professorial Lecture on Friday evening, August 19th, 2016.

Over 150 colleagues, friends, family and members of the public were in attendance to hear about Andy’s innovative research, and to better understand the exciting potential of quantum technology and its many applications.

The inspiring 60 minute talk included live light-based demonstrations and a Q&A session with the audience giving Andy a heartfelt ovation as proceedings concluded. Informal feedback from guests as they departed was that the talk had been inspiring, educational and thoroughly enjoyable in nature!

Below – images from the event.

Andy-Professorial (1)


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!


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

Brightness and photostability of nanomaterials for bioimaging

Low Res Edit 010623 June 2016:

CNBP Research Fellow Dr Philipp Reineck (RMIT University node) is lead author on a new research paper, reporting on ‘Brightness and Photostability of Emerging Red and Near-IR Fluorescent Nanomaterials for Bioimaging.’

The work was co-authored by CNBP researchers A/Prof Brant Gibson, Dr Antony Orth and Dr Desmond Lau.

Journal: Advanced Optical Materials

Publication title: Brightness and photostability of emerging red and near-IR fluorescent nanomaterials for bioimaging.

Authors: Philipp Reineck, Adam Francis, Antony Orth, Desmond Wai Mo Lau, Reece David Valmont Nixon-Luke, Ishan Das Rastogi, Wan Aizuddin Wan Razali, Nicole Maree Cordina, Lindsay Marie Parker, Varun Kumaraswamy Annayya Sreenivasan, Louise Jennifer Brown and Brant Cameron Gibson.

Many novel fluorescent nanomaterials exhibit radically different optical properties compared to organic fluorophores that are still the most extensively used class of fluorophores in biology today. Assessing the practical impact of these optical differences for bioimaging experiments is challenging due to a lack of published quantitative benchmarking data. This study therefore directly and quantitatively compares the brightness and photostability of representatives from seven classes of fluorescent materials in spectroscopy and fluorescence microscopy experiments for the first time. These material classes are: organic dyes, semiconductor quantum dots, fluorescent beads, carbon dots, gold nanoclusters, nanodiamonds, and nanorubies. The relative brightness of each material is determined and the minimum material concentrations required to generate sufficient contrast in a fluorescence microscopy image are assessed. The influence of optical filters used for imaging is also discussed and suitable filter combinations are identified. The photostability of all materials is determined under typical imaging conditions and the number of images that can be acquired is inferred. The results are expected to facilitate the transition of novel fluorescent materials from physics and chemistry into biology laboratories.

The publication is accessible online.

Below – An artistic representation of nano-diamonds being used to light up and image a long chain of proteins. Image courtesy of Dr Carlo Bradac.

Nanodiamonds image