The aim of this project is to take the first steps to develop a revolutionary new type of optical telescope. What if you had a telescope with the baseline length of radio interferometers, like the Square Kilometre Array (SKA), but with the resolving power of optical wavelengths?
This project will explore new technologies towards developing ultra-high angular resolution optical interferometers, with an ultimate goal to enable the detection of Earth-like extra-solar planets, probe the structure of active galactic nuclei, and reveal the formation mechanism of stars and planetary system. The student will work as part of the Astrophotonics Group at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) to investigate promising future technologies such as astronomical quantum interferometers, optical heterodyne interferometry, and digital intensity interferometers.
- Quantum telescope – quantum repeaters will form the basis of the future “quantum internet” but they also hold promise in building a long-baseline optical interferometer telescope with unparalleled resolution. Other techniques from quantum mechanics also allow much more information to be gleaned from photons arriving at the telescope than currently possible.
- Optical heterodyne interferometry – this takes techniques from radio astronomy and adapts them to optical frequencies with the aim of creating a long-baseline optical interferometer based on classical techniques.
- Digital intensity interferometry – intensity interferometry infers information about astronomical objects through correlation of amplitude information. This project will develop and extend the capabilities of this technique using modern digital processing.
The student will work as part of the Astrophotonics Group (www.icrar.org/astrophotonics) at the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR) with a multidisciplinary team to build a four-element interferometric optical telescope, with a baseline length of up to several hundred meters. This will be conducted in collaboration with the University of California at Berkeley, the University of Chile, and the European Southern Observatory.