MQ Photonics Research Centre
MQ Astrophotonics and Astronomical Instrumentation
The Astrophotonics and Astronomical Instrumentation Group at Macquarie University are involved in a number of projects that aim to improve the power and versatility of optical and infrared telescopes, either by applying new photonic technologies or by taking advantage of the atmospheric site characteristics on the Antarctic plateau.
Diffraction-Limited High-Contrast Imaging
We are the world leaders in high-contrast imaging at the diffraction limit, to search for young glowing exoplanets next to their bright parent stars. We are using the aperture-masking interferometry technique, and are developing new algorithms and astrophotonic extensions of the technique.
Integrated photonic spectrographs for astronomy
We are currently exploring the potential of arrayed-waveguide grating technology to provide massively multiplexed astronomical spectrographs in a collaboration with the Anglo-Australian Observatory, the Astrophysical Institute Potsdam, and the University of Sydney.
Single-Mode Spectrographs for Astronomy
Spectrographs for planet hunting have typically been large and expensive devices, optimised for use with large telescopes. We are currently building a prototype single-mode spectrograph at the Macquarie University Observatory to search for planets around pulsating "red clump" giant stars.
Fibre Bragg gratings for temporal spectral astronomy
In a collaboration with the Anglo-Australian Observatory we are developing designs for an instrument to measure short time scale spectral variability of astronomical objects using fibre Bragg grating technology.
Astronomical applications of direct laser write waveguides
We are currently investigating the potential of the ultra-fast direct write laser technique to generate waveguides and integrated waveguide-based devices for use in astronomical applications (such as photonic lanterns, focal ratio converters, integrated image slicing units, integrated spectrometers, and devices for pupil remapping).
Smart focal plane technologies
We are exploring methods for improving the versatility of spectrographs on astronomical telescopes by using novel technologies for beam control and manipulation.
Fibre Bragg gratings for atmospheric OH suppression
Macquarie University is a major partner in the recently funded GNOSIS instrument project, led by University of Sydney. The GNOSIS instrument uses revolutionary photonic technologies to significantly improve telescope sensitivity at near-infrared wavelengths.
Integral-field-unit spectroscopy for the Anglo-Australian Telescope
We are currently exploring designs for upgrading the SPIRAL integral-field unit for the Anglo-Australian Telescope, and for using new photonic technologies to enhance the integral-field unit capabilities of the 2df spectrograph.
The PLATO robotic Antarctic observatory
We are currently collaborating with a large international consortium of institutes (including the University of New South Wales and the Chinese Centre for Antarctic Astronomy) to develop robotic observatories and instrumentation to demonstrate the potential of the Antarctic plateau as a site for astronomy.