National Youth Science Forum Visit

On Jan. 05, SPIE and OSA ANU student chapters organised lecturers on “polarisation” and “diffraction” for bright students interested in pursuing a bachelors degree in science in their visit to the Research School of Physics and Engineering, ANU (as the National Youth Science Forum program).





Students were eager to apply what they learned in the lecturers, so they took a photo when a diffraction grating was placed in front of the camera too!


SPIE 2017 visiting lectures by Prof. Christodoulides and A/Prof. Khajavikhan

On Dec. 14 the SPIE ANU student chapter organized the visiting lectures for 2017 given by Prof. Christodoulides and A/Prof. Khajavikhan from CREOL, University of Central Florida, US.

Prof. Christodoulides gave a highly exciting lecture on two topics: Parity-Time Symmetry in Optics and Photonics and Airy beams.


Prof. Christodoulides giving the first lecture


After a short afternoon tea, A/Prof.  Khajavikhan gave a fascinating lecture on Coherence and Collective Properties of Metallic Nanolasers.

A/Prof. Khajavikhan giving the second lecure


After the two SPIE lectures, the student chapter also organized a special socializing event for students to have an opportunity meeting the SPIE visiting lectures.


SPIE visiting lecturer program is a primary benefit of Membership in SPIE, which offers the opportunity to interact with world-class scientists and engineers at the leading edge of technological advances in optics and photonics.

More information about SPIE visiting lecturer program, see:



SPIE 2017 Visiting Lectures


Parity-Time Symmetry in Optics and Photonics

Professor Demetrios Christodoulides
CREOL, University of Central Florida, USA

The prospect of judiciously utilizing both optical gain and loss has been recently suggested as a means to control the flow of light. This proposition makes use of some newly developed concepts based on non-Hermiticity and parity-time (PT) symmetry-ideas first conceived within quantum field theories. By harnessing such notions, recent works indicate that novel synthetic structures and devices with counter-intuitive properties can be realized – potentially enabling new possibilities in the field of optics and integrated photonics. Non-Hermitian degeneracies, also known as exceptional points (EPs), have also emerged as a new paradigm for engineering the response of optical systems. In this talk, we provide an overview of recent developments in this newly emerging field. The use of other type symmetries in photonics will be also discussed.

Demetri Christodoulides is a Pegasus and Cobb Family Endowed Chair Professor at CREOL-the College of Optics and Photonics of the University of Central Florida. He received his Ph.D. degree from Johns Hopkins University in 1986 and he subsequently joined Bellcore as a post-doctoral fellow at Murray Hill. Between 1988 and 2002 he was with the faculty of the Department of Electrical Engineering at Lehigh University. His research interests include linear and nonlinear optical beam interactions, synthetic optical materials, optical solitons, and quantum electronics. He has authored and co-authored more than 325 papers. He is a Fellow of the Optical Society of America and the American Physical Society. In 2011 he received the R.W. Wood Prize of OSA.


Coherence and Collective Properties of Metallic Nanolasers

Assistant Professor Mercedeh Khajavikhan
CREOL, University of Central Florida, USA

Nanolasers, a family of light sources with dimensions smaller than the wavelength of light are one of the latest additions to the laser family. The application of such sources ranges from on-chip optical communication to high-resolution and high-throughput imaging, sensing and spectroscopy. This has fueled interest in developing the ‘ultimate’ nanolaser: a scalable, low-threshold source of radiation that operates at room temperature and occupies a small volume on a chip. However, progress towards realizing this ultimate nano-laser has been hindered by the lack of a systematic approach to scaling down the size of the laser cavity without significantly increasing the threshold power required for lasing. In other words, the miniaturization of laser resonators using dielectric or metallic structures, across all previously proposed solutions, faces two challenges; First, the (eigen) mode scalability, implying the existence of a self-sustained electromagnetic field regardless of the cavity size. Second, the disproportionate reduction of optical gain and cavity losses, which results in a large and/or unattainable lasing threshold as the volume of the resonator is reduced. In this talk, I present our results about lasing in the newly introduced nanoscale, sub-wavelength in all three dimensions, coaxial cavities that potentially solve the resonator scalability challenge by the choice of geometry and metal composition. In particular, I present the design, fabrication, characterization, and analysis that resulted in the smallest, room-temperature, continuous wave, telecommunication wavelength laser to date. Furthermore, by utilizing the unique properties of the coaxial cavities, which may have a single non-degenerate mode, I discuss the possibility of thresholdless lasing that provides a scalable solution to overcome the metal losses. I will then explain how to measure the second order coherence function for such light sources in order to verify if they are indeed capable of generating coherent radiation. At the end, I will discuss the possibility of collective behaviors in arrays of nanoscale lasers.


OSA ANU student chapter travelling lecturer– Prof. Mikhail Belkin

On the 15th September the ANU student chapter of the OSA hosted Prof. Mikhail Belkin, from the University of Texas at Austin, as an OSA travelling lecturer.  In his talk on “Photonic devices based on quantum-engineered nonlinear metamaterials” he described how his group uses inter-sub-band transition semiconductor heterostructures to make practical photonic devices.

These devices have functionalities not available with any other technology.  For example, he described how they developed terahertz semiconductor laser sources based on efficient intra-cavity nonlinear frequency mixing in quantum cascade lasers.  He also discussed their ultrathin highly-nonlinear metasurfaces that can provide broadband focal-plane frequency up- and down-conversion in the near-mid-far-infrared with only mW-level of optical pumping.  His talk attracted a broad interest across the school and generated many discussions.

Prof. Mikail Belkin (3rd from right) with chapter officers and Prof. Yuri Kivshar after the lecture.
Prof. Belkin on a tour of our laboratories.


Prof. Mikail Belkin and Prof. Roland Schiek, visiting from Regensburg, at lunch with the OSA officers.
Prof. Belkin with Prof. Dragomir Neshev, Prof. Schiek and some of the doctoral students from the Nonlinear Physics Centre having dinner at The Fellows Bar.

  The OSA Traveling Lecturer Program provides funding for OSA Student Chapters and Local Sections to host a guest speaker annually. More information of this program can be found at:

More information on Prof. Belkin can be found at:

National Youth Science Forum 2017

The National Youth Science Forum is an organisation that runs programs to encourage young people in their passion for science. On 6th and 19th January, RSPE hosted a group of outstanding high school students to encourage them to consider STEM careers. The visit included laboratory tours and optics demonstrations. Members from the OSA and SPIE student chapter organized the optics demonstrations using the OSA and SPIE kits.