The ANU Research School of Physics constitutes Australia’s largest university-based physics research activity, incorporating major national facilities, national networks, a significant technical manufacturing and prototyping capability, as well as an innovative teaching program.

Our research activity includes nonlinear and quantum optics and quantum systems engineering, soft and hard condensed matter physics, III-V semiconductor physics, nano-engineered and meso-scale materials, nuclear physics, novel imaging technologies and plasma science.

Our researchers have played important roles in some of the most significant breakthroughs in physics, including proving the existence of gravitational waves in 2016.

The observation of a gravitational wave, ripples in space caused by the collision of two black holes, confirms a prediction made by Albert Einstein's General Theory of Relativity 100 years ago, and opens up new fields in physics and astrophysics.

The important role that our researchers played included constructing, installing and commissioning crucial components of the detectors used by the Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory (LIGO) in the United States.

Fundamental and applied research, just like this, also sparks the development of novel technologies and have seen a number of successful spin-out companies go global.

In 2009 Lithicon, then named Digitalcore, spun out of the Research School of Physics and Engineering. The big commercial step was taken after 10 years of fundamental research by ANU scientists. Their research combined novel scanning technology and advanced computer algorithms to produce high-resolution 3D images and simulations of fluids in oil reservoir rocks.

Fast forward to February 2014, and Lithicon was acquired for $US8 million by microscopic technology company FEI, cementing a very special research relationship with ANU.

School

Research School of Physics

Field sites & facilities

Explore some of the numerous of research sites and facilities established by our research schools in Australia and across the world. Researchers and students at ANU enjoy access to state-of-the-art equipment to help facilitate ground-breaking research.

Research projects

Browse research topics of the College of Science and the College of Health & Medicine with links to relevant researchers.

See our list of potential student projects to apply for PhB, Honours, PhD and other graduate degrees.

Stories

News

Counting the cost of bushfires on children

Experts warn children are among the worst affected when it comes to trauma caused by disasters like Australia’s ongoing bushfires.

News

Multi-dimensional study offers new vision for optical tech

A new design of optical chips enables light to experience multiple dimensions.

Research story

Frontier and centre

ANU will establish a new centre that brings physicists and astronomers together to explore the Universe’s secrets hidden in its darkest depths.

Student profile

Rhodes Scholarship a dream come true for honours student.

Physics honours graduate Matt Goh is Oxford-bound after winning a Rhodes Scholarship.

News

A quantum leap that’s been decades in the making

Improving the sensitivity of laser interferometers that can detect ripples in space and time from violent smashes in the Universe.

News

All Rhodes lead to ANU

Three ANU grads have won prestigious and highly-competitive scholarships to study at Oxford University in the same round.

Analysis and opinion

The X17 factor: a particle new to physics might solve the dark matter mystery

The so-called X17 particle could help to explain dark matter.

News

Pear shaped nuclei solve a nuclear fission mystery

Things go pear-shaped when you split the atom, nuclear physicists have found.

Professor Carola Vinuesa.

News

ANU researchers recognised as some of the world’s most influential

Four ANU academics have recently joined a prestigious list of Highly Cited Researchers awarded by the Web of Science.

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