Astrophotonics at the University of Sydney

Astrophotonics

Research into astrophotonics at the University of Sydney is at the forefront of developing new materials and devices for astronomical instrumentation around the world. The group is led by Professor Joss Bland-Hawthorn. The group also consists one part of the Consortium for Australian Astrophotonics (CAA) with the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO), and collaborates with several institutions in Australia and around the World, such as Macquarie University, the Australian National University, Durham University, and the Université Joseph Fourier, and the University of Potsdam.

What is Astrophotonics?

Astrophotonics is the use of materials to manipulate light for the purpose of improving our understanding of the universe through astronomy and astrophysics using optical systems to collect and process light. It has many applications and new technologies are constantly being developed.

Astrophysics and astronomy are the fields of science dedicated to the study of, ultimately, the universe. Astronomy incorporates observational and theoretical components, and has many more specific areas of study. Astrophysics is the branch of physics regarding the physics and physical properties of celestial objects, such as their luminosity, age, and composition.

Photonics is the use of materials to manipulate light, involving emission, transmission, processing, and detection of light sources. The telecommunication and information technology revolution of recent decades is a direct result of advances in optics that have allowed higher bandwidths over longer distances. This in turn has ushered in the Information Age.

Astrophotonics is where these areas meet. And while the applications for astronomical equipment are many and varied, many of the devices developed through astrophotonics have applications in the wider world, in applications ranging from communications to medicine.


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