The German Research Foundation (DFG) and ANU have announced a joint International Research Training Group IRTG 2675 Tailored Metasurfaces – Generating, Programming and Detecting Light (META‐ACTIVE). META-ACTIVE will be a partnership between ANU and Friedrich Schiller University, Jena, Germany designed to provide the highest possible training for PhD students in the field of optics and photonics. With €5 million funding from the DFG and additional guaranteed financial support provided by ANU, the training group will operate until 2026.
The Doctoral Candidates (18 from ANU and 21 from FSU funded by the DFG) will have the opportunity and financial support to study in person at both universities and may receive a dual PhD degree issued by both universities. This program will provide students with a unique, globally competitive and comprehensive package of scientific research and professional development. Researchers will share complementary expertise, curricula, and training facilities.
Friedrich Schiller University Jena and ANU are two leading research organizations in the meta-optics fields, with ANU the headquarters of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems (TMOS). Each investigates different approaches to achieving the same end. As a result, this collaboration has the potential to fast-track research outcomes as students return from their international placements with new skills and knowledge that they can then pass on to their colleagues. In some cases, students will become the teachers and senior researches will be their students.
The students will be investigating the development of active metasurfaces, which emit, detect and dynamically manipulate light. These new types of devices will revolutionise optical systems by making them smaller, smarter and more functional. As an example, metasurfaces could remove the need for traditional lenses in your smartphone making it thinner, lighter and able to produce holograms.
TMOS Centre Director, Dragomir Neshev says, “This partnership acknowledges 20 years of photonics collaboration between our universities. Friedrich Schiller University has an excellent research program and Jena, where the university is located, is considered the ‘City of Photonics’ in Europe with more than 200 photonics-related companies based there. We’re excited to be able to give our students exposure to the industry in such an impactful way and are incredibly excited about what will come from this collaboration.
ACP principal scientist Isabelle Staude, who was recently appointed as a full professor at the Institute for Solid State Physics, says “This partnership is going to open up wonderful opportunities for our PhD students and will bring new knowledge and skills to both organisations. Throughout history, incredible achievements have been the result of close collaboration between scientists and we’re confident that continuing this tradition is going to lead to some remarkable breakthroughs in the field of nanophotonics.”
The ANU team includes researchers from Physics: D-Y. Choi, L. Fu, C. Jagadish, P. Kluth, P.K. Lam, D. Neshev (ANU Spokesman), E. Ostrovskaya, I. Shadrivov, A. Sukhorukov, and H.H. Tan; Engineering: F. Beck and K. Catchpole, Y. Lu; and Chemistry: Z. Yin.