Graduate Diploma

From 2010, graduates in Science or Engineering will have the opportunity to enrol for two semesters of coursework leading to the award of the Graduate Diploma in Photonics and Optical Science (GradDipPhotOptSci). This degree is aimed at science and engineering graduates seeking professional specialist employment in the ICT industry, and is available for both local and international students. The course can be completed in one year of full time study. Enrolment on a part time basis is possible for local students.

Each unit combines lectures with training in techniques of practical importance including microscopy, optical design and image processing using advanced computer software. Students will also be introduced to techniques for state of the art optical microfabrication. Units are taught by experts from the Schools of Physics, Electrical and Information Engineering and the Electron Microscope Unit as well as specialist lectures from experts in their respective fields.

This degree provides students with a strong mix of high level conceptual understanding and practical training. On completion you have a number of options:

  • Apply your technical skills in a senior engineering or business role in telecommunications, scientific instrumentation, equipment manufacturing, mineral exploration, defence - any company whose products and services are based on high tech optical equipment or components, vision systems or image analysis.
  • Join a research team in organisations like CSIRO, DSTO or ANSTO.

Applications for enrolment for Semester 1 2010 (March) have closed - please contact the course coordinator for further information


Enrolment and Further Information

A summary of the course can be found here. Enrolment information for prospective students is here. Further information can be obtained from the Course coordinator, Dr Peter Domachuk,

Course prospectus
There are eight units of study in the coursework program:
PHYS 5021 Optical instrumentation and Imaging
6 credit points. Session: Semester 1. Classes: 3 hours per week. Assessment:laboratory and classroom assignments, written exam.
Geometrical optics and optical design –image formation, lenses and mirrors, aberrations and tolerancing; collimators, cameras, objective lenses. Use of computer design packages to design optical systems for specific applications. Computer-based image processing principles in the spatial and frequency domains - noise removal, tomography and image restoration techniques.

PHYS 5022 Optical materials and methods
6 credit points. Session: Semester 1. Classes: 3 hours per week. Assessment: laboratory and classroom assignments, written exam.
Properties and optical application of glasses, crystals, metals and semiconductors. Production techniques including crystal growth, epitaxial growth of optoelectronic materials, interfaces and junctions, quantum wells, optical thin films. Training in techniques for micro-fabricating optical devices including patterning by microlithography, etching and annealing, thin film deposition. Training in laboratory practice including data gathering and analysis, computer control of laboratory equipment.

ELEC 5511 Optical Communications Systems
6 credit points. Session: Semester 1. Classes : 2 hours of lectures and a 2 hour lab/tutorial per week. Assessment : Assignments and labs 25%, end of semester exam 75%.
Introduction to optical fibre communications. Optical fibre transmission characteristics; fibre modes, multi-mode fibres, single-mode fibres, dispersion, loss. Semiconductor and fibre laser signal sources; dynamic laser models, switching, chirp, noise, optical transmitters. Optical modulation techniques. Optical amplifiers and repeaters, noise characteristics. Fibre devices, gratings, multiplexers. Optical detectors, shot noise and avalanche noise. Optical receiver and regenerator structures; sensitivity and error rate performance. Photonic switching and processing. Optical local area networks. Multi-channel multiplexing techniques. Design of optical fibre communication systems.

PHYS 5024 Optical sources and detectors
6 credit points. Session: Semester 1. Classes: 3 hours per week. Assessment: assignments, written exam.
Detailed overview of sources and detectors of optical radiation. Principles of operation and application of lasers (diode lasers, fibre lasers and solid state diode-pumped lasers; short pulse lasers and high power gas lasers); light emitting diodes and other sources of radiation. The properties of semiconductor lasers and detectors are explained in terms of the materials properties of semiconductors.

PHYS5025 Biophotonics and microscopy
6 credit points. Session: Semester 2. Classes: 3 hours per week. Assessment: laboratory and classroom assignments, written exam.
Optical techniques to probe living tissue either via imaging or spectral analysis: principles of imaging in tissue; the main techniques: fluorescence imaging, confocal microscopy, two-photon microscopy, optical coherence tomography and endoscopic imaging; the use of laser tweezers and microfluidics for analyzing small biological samples; biochemical detection (Raman spectroscopy, surface plasmon sensors). Access to the Electron Microscope Unit facilities will provide students with practical training in these techniques.

PHYS5106 Physical and nonlinear optics
6 credit points. Session: Semester 2 Classes: 3 hours per week. Assessment: laboratory and classroom assignments, written exam.
Polarization, coherence, diffraction, Fourier properties of lenses and optical systems, spatial filtering and holography. Phenomena to be covered that result from nonlinear polarization include electro optic effect, second harmonic generation, self and cross phase modulation, four wave mixing and soliton generation and their impact on communications systems.

PHYS5027 Quantum optics and nanophotonics
6 credit points. Session: Semester 2 Classes: 3 hours per week. Assessment: laboratory and classroom assignments, written exam.
Quantum optics: covers effects associated with quantization of light and photon statistics and in a non-mathematical fashion, address a range of topics of current interest including intensity interferometry, quantum cryptography, optical quantum computing and atom optics including Bose Einstein condensates and atom lasers. Nanophotonics: optical propagation in materials with sub-wavelength structuring so light is guided not only by refraction but also diffraction. Covers photonic crystals including photonic crystal fibres, plasmonics, photonic ‘nanowires’ and metamaterials. Students use simulation packages to design devices like high Q nano-resonators with these materials, and review fabrication approaches.

PHYS5028 Optics in industry
6 credit points. Session: Semester 2 Classes: 3 hours per week. Assessment: classroom assignments, written exam.
Apply knowledge developed in course to perform a detailed optical analysis of a consumer or industry product whose operation embodies many of the principles discussed in this course. Examples include a phone camera or a DVD player.
Provide students with an understanding of the factors that become increasingly important when working as a professional in an industry/commercial environment. These include Intellectual property, Business plans and Project Management. Carry out project-based activity to develop a business case for a specific product and draw up a project plan.