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The Astrophotonics Group is focused on designing, building, and testing advanced photonic systems with applications in radio astronomy, optical astronomy, and space science. Our group combines research expertise from people with a broad range of backgrounds including astronomy, physics and engineering. The group’s core technological capability is the long-distance transfer of stabilised optical-frequency signals, and microwave-frequency signals, and timing signals, transmitted across optical fibre networks and free-space laser links.

Our primary project is working with the international Signal and Data Transport (SADT) consortium to develop an optical fibre-based phase-synchronisation system for the Square Kilometre Array (SKA) telescope. This work includes laboratory-based experimental investigations, field deployments with existing telescopes, and engineering to develop hardware for the SKA telescope. We are also investigating the applicability of this technology for future facilities, such as the next-generation Very Large Array (ngVLA).

Another key research area is the development of ultra-precise laser timing links to support the next-generation of pioneering space missions. This includes upgrading the world’s most productive satellite laser ranging facility to support of ESA’s Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space (ACES) mission. The project also involves establishing a multi-kilometre, phase-stabilised free-space laser link test facility at UWA.

Currently, addition research projects include the development of an advanced optical phased array for near-lightspeed interstellar travel; building the world’s first multi-kilometre baseline optical interferometric telescope; and testing of an optical fibre-based distributed acoustic sensing system.

We are a growing group and are always looking for new research collaborators, industry partners, and eager students to help us continue our goal of having fun developing advanced photonic systems.