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 the feasibility of optical very-long baseline interferometry, by building on the University of California, Berkley’s Infrared Spatial Interferometer, and combining this with recent development in stabilised optical frequency transfer over 100’s of kilometres of optical fibre. This work could open the door for a telescope with spatial resolution 100’s of times greater than current best, revolutionising high surface brightness astronomy including the detection of Earth-like extra-solar planets, the structure of active galactic nuclei, the formation mechanism of stars and planetary systems, and more.
The student will work with a multidisciplinary team including astronomers and experimental physicists, to build a three-element interferometric optical telescope, with a baseline length of up to several kilometres using well-established optical techniques and standard laboratory components. This research will be conducted in collaboration with interstate Australian optical astronomers, the University of California, Berkley, and the International Centre for Radio Astronomy Research (ICRAR).