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Department of Physics and Astronomy

Contact

Professor Michael Steel
MQ Photonics Research Centre & Centre for Ultrahigh bandwidth Devices for Optical Systems (CUDOS)
Department of Physics and Astronomy
Faculty of Science
Macquarie University, Sydney, NSW 2109
Building: E6B Room: 2.708

tel: +61-2-9850-8916
fax: +61-2-9850-8115
email: michael.steel at mq.edu.au

Visiting us?

By train

From the city take the Red "Hornsby via Macquarie Park" train from the North Shore line platform at Redfern, Central, Town Hall or Wynyard. These come every 15 minutes most of the day. If coming from the airport, you take the city train and change to the North Shore line at Central or Town Hall. Make sure not to catch the yellow "Hornsby via Gordon" train.

Exit at Macquarie University station, not Macquarie Park. Turn left out of the turnstiles, up the escalators, then follow the crowd up the hill towards the main campus. Follow Eastern Rd until the low block E6A/E6B appears on the right. (The big E7A tower is in front to the left).

To visit Mike, enter E6A and walk up the stairs to level 2.

Turn 180 degrees and the Dept of Physics & Astronomy is behind a pair of glass doors. The "Boardroom" is immediately to your right, the "Multipurpose Room (MPR)" is down the first corridor to your left. My office (2.708) is along the far right wall.


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Interested in PhD positions?

To express interest in undertaking a PhD with the group, send me an email containing the following:
  • A complete CV including your entire undergraduate academic transcript.
  • A history of your research experience such as undergraduate projects, Master's thesis, Honours thesis etc. Indicate how long your Masters or Honours thesis was and what fraction of your degree it represents.
  • An indication of what kind of project you are looking for: theory/experiment and in what area. Explain why your background and interests are matched to the project.
Scholarships at Macquarie are very competitive and without this information, I can't make an initial assessment of whether you should consider a formal application.

Recent news

July 28, 2016

New postdoctoral research position in our group on nonlinear optoacoustics and Brillouin scattering in nanoscale waveguides

Are you an expert in nonlinear optics or phononic/photonic devices? We have a new postdoctoral research fellowship available to work on the theory of the fascinating topic of nonlinear light-sound interactions in nanoscale waveguides, especially semiconductor waveguides. Click here for details on the position and to apply. Applications close July 31 2016.  

September 07, 2015

New arxiv manuscript on a quantum treatment of stimulated Brillouin scattering in nanoscale waveguides

Here's a new piece of work that straddles both areas of current interest in the group: quantum nonlinear optics and opto-acoustics. In a new arxiv paper with long time collaborator John Sipe at the University of Toronto, we take another look at the derivation of equations of motion for the opto-acoustic interaction behind stimulated Brillouin scattering in waveguides. We attack the problem with the techniques of guided wave nonlinear quantum optics. By identifying the right Hamiltonian for the opto-acoustic coupling, the coupled mode equations fall out in a very neat fashion. This also opens the way for thinking about Brillouin interactions at the quantum-classical boundary.  

September 5, 2015

New paper on the implications of acoustic dissipation for stimulated Brillouin scattering in waveguides

One of the things that makes the coupling between light and sound in waveguides complicated is the strong dissipation that phonons suffer. Most last only a few nanoseconds. In a new Scientific Reports paper (lead author Christian Wolff at UTS) we look at how the existence of phonon loss means the amplification of light by stimulate Brillouin scattering can be reduced considerably by the phonon lifetime. It's not a deal-breaker, but one needs to be aware of the issue.  

July 24, 2015

New review paper on rigorous derivation of the coupled mode equations for nonlinear optoacoustics

We have a new (very long) paper out in Physical Review A (lead author Christian Wolff at UTS) that provides a rigorous derivation of the equations of motion for stimulated Brillouin scattering (SBS) in nanoscale waveguides. SBS is the nonlinear interaction between light and high frequency phonons (sound waves) and has tremendous promise as a basis for ultracompact devices for microwave photonics, sensing and narrow linewdith chip-based lasers.  

July 23, 2015

New review paper on femtosecond laser written waveguides and quantum optics

Our new review paper on femtosecond laser written waveguides for quantum optics applications (lead authors Thomas Meany and Markus Gräfe) is out in Laser and Photonics Reviews. This paper is a collaboration with the group of Alexander Szameit (Instite of Applied Optics, Jena, Germany) and provides a detailed survey of the use of laser written circuits for many quantum applications, especially those exploting 3D capabilities.  

April 2, 2015

New paper on efficient characterisation of photon sources with loss

Our new paper on useful connections between quantum and classical nonlinear optical processes in waveguides and how scattering loss can affect these connections has appeared in Optics Letters (lead author Luke Helt).  

January 12, 2015

New paper on symmetry properties of nonlinear opto-acoustic interactions

Symmetry groups of acoustic waveguide modes We have a new paper at Optics Express (lead author Christian Wolff at UTS) detailing how symmetry principles can help to accelerate the computation and design problems of nonlinear opto-acoustics (a phenomenon known as Stimulated Brillouin Scattering).  

November 11, 2014

New paper on Faraday rotation in laser written waveguides

Measured Faraday rotation in a laser written waveguide Our new paper (lead author Qiang (Jocelyn) Liu) on Faraday rotation in femtosecond laser written waveguides is out in Optics Express. Jocelyn's work explores the challenges in developing optical isolators in glass waveguides. She also achieved some of the nicest theory-experiment agreement you're likely to see in an optics experiment!  

October 2, 2014

Former student Dr Thomas Meany wins Maquarie's Research Award!

We are very pleased that our former student Dr Thomas Meany (now at Toshiba Labs, UK) has won the Macquarie University Research Award for Excellence in Higher Degree Research. Congratulations Tom. Perhaps this could be you in a few years if you undertake a PhD with us?!  

September 19, 2014

New arXiv manuscript on 3D tunable quantum circuits

Experimental setup for tunable 3D quantum interference Our new manuscript (lead author PhD student Zachary Chaboyer) on demonstrating tunable quantum interference in a 3D 3-arm Mach-Zehnder interferometer is up on the arXiv. We show that our laser written structure should be able to significantly improve phase estimation sensitivity in the quantum regime.  

September 1, 2014

Congratulations to Qiang Liu on being awarded her PhD

Our PhD student Qiang (Jocelyn) Liu has received her PhD for her thesis work on laser-written waveguides in magneto-optical glasses. Jocelyn's work brings us closer to a dedicated optical isolator for the laser written waveguide platform. Well done!  

July 18, 2014

New arXiv manuscript on lossy biphotons

Lasers Our new manuscript (lead author Luke Helt) on the effect of loss on heralded pair generation by spontaneous parametric down-conversion is up on the arXiv. This work investigates how the loss modifies the generated biphoton state, sometimes for good!  

July 16, 2014

New arXiv manuscript on SBS in nanoscale waveguides

Lasers Our new theory of Stimulated Brillouin Scattering (SBS) in nanoscale waveguides (lead author Christian Wollf at UTS) is up on the arXiv. Christian has found some really neat ways of teasing out the different forces involved in modern SBS systems.  

May 2, 2014

PhD student Tom Meany graduates to Toshiba

We are delighted that our former PhD student Thomas Meany has taken up an exciting postdoc position at Toshiba'sCambridge Labs in the UK. Tom will be continuing his work in the area of integrated quantum photonics in new directions involving solid state single photon sources.  

May 1, 2014

New theory of effective photons

Our work on a theory of effective photons in dissipative structured materials (lead author Dr Alex Judge of Sydney University) has just appeared in the New Journal of Physics.  

April 5, 2014

Media coverage of our hybrid single photon source

Lasers The paper on our hybrid single photon source in Laser and Photonics Reviews has attracted a bit of media attention. Amongst others, we've been picked up by Scatterings in Optics and Photonics News and The Register, UK. Here's the original press release.  

April 2, 2014

Commentary in Nature Photonics

Lasers I've written a commentary on recent work at Caltech that showed non-classical plasmon statistics.  

April 2, 2014

Three and four-way multiplexing in a hybrid integrated device.

Lasers In a major collaboration between Macquarie, the University of Sydney and Université Nice Sophia Antipolis (lead authors, we've shown active multiplexing of three and four single photon channels in a hybrid glass/lithium niobate device. We hope this is the future of single photon sources!