Information for prospective Ph.D. and Masters students

We are currently actively seeking candidates to apply for International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (IPRS) or Australian Postgraduate Award (APA) scholarships to join our group on one of two projects (see pdf flyer):

Project 1: This project is on the development of carbon nanotube transistors as real-time electronic sensors for biomolecular motors. Our goal is to use the nanotube as a 'tripwire' to electrically detect passing actin filaments in on-chip molecular motor assays. Possible applications include nanoscale cargo trafficking and read-out for maze-based biological computation. This is a collaborative project with Lund & Linnaeus Universities in Sweden. This project is suitable for students with a physics, chemistry, nanotech or engineering background (may suit biotech students with device exp. also).

Project 2: This project is on the quantum transport properties of III-V nanostructures grown by cutting-edge templated epitaxy techniques. Our goal is to develop a new approach to getting independent contact to strongly-coupled electron and hole quantum wires for studying excitonic superfluidity and topological insulator behaviour in the 1D limit. This is a collaborative project with the Australian National University. This project is suited to students with a background/interest in experimental solid state physics.

We are also open to ideas for other projects within the scope of our research interests, both at Ph.D. and Masters level. Broadly, our research focuses on drawing together materials from traditional hard semiconductors, e.g., III-V nanowires, and materials such as carbon nanotubes, and combining them with soft organic materials, e.g., polymer electrolytes, proteins, etc to make novel hybrid nanoscale electronic devices with interesting new functionalities. Around this, we also have interests in device operation spanning from the very basic, e.g., how quantum mechanical effects, spin and electron-electron interactions affect device operation, through to quite applied questions, e.g., how can we use nanoelectronic devices for practical applications such as biosensing or ion-to-electron signal transduction. Some idea of our current work can be found in the following honours project links -- Templated Semiconductor Membranes, Nanowire Wrap-gate Transistors, Polymer Electrolytes and Nanowires, Biosensing -- but our Ph.D./Masters level projects will be longer and more forward-focussed (i.e., working on ideas I'm not willing to openly share on the internet ;) ). Please contact me directly for more information on this if you are interested.

All of our projects involve significant hands-on work on device fabrication using high-tech equipment in UNSW's cleanroom facilities and high sensitivity electrical measurements of these devices at temperatures all the way from millikelvin up to room temperature, including on our new Attocube vector field variable temperature insert. The projects involve international and national collaborations (e.g., Lund University in Sweden, Australian National University, University of Queensland, etc).

Candidates will need to meet eligibility requirements and be competitive for obtaining their own scholarship funding, e.g., APA or IPRS. They will also ideally have a physics background, although we are happy to talk to engineering, nanotechnology or chemistry students with a keen interest in this area.

Interested students should see the UNSW Graduate Research School website for complete information on our higher degree programs

Applications are due by August 18 (IPRS) and October 13 (APA) for Semester 1 2017 starts. Application information can be found here. Scholarship opportunities can be found here.

If you are interested in working with us, please send A/Prof. Adam Micolich an email indicating your interest with a copy of your CV and academic transcript and some discussion of your research interests (e.g., why do you want to work with us in particular? what can you bring to our research effort?). If you have any of the following skills and experience, please mention them in your email and give details:

  • Undergraduate and/or graduate coursework in solid state physics, semiconductor devices, applied physics, quantum mechanics, or biophysics.
  • Previous project work related to the physics of electronic devices.
  • Research experience as an undergraduate or masters student.
  • Experience working in a cleanroom and with the fabrication of electronic devices, microfluidics, etc.
  • Experience with characterization and measurement of electronic devices, particularly at low temperatures or in a physics research environment.
  • Experience with theory and/or computational modeling and numerical simulation of electronic devices.
  • Scientific programming using tools such as Matlab or Labview (n.b. use of Word and Excel doesn't count).
  • Strong verbal and written English communication skills; teaching experience; leadership and teamwork experience

Applicants should have an undergraduate honours degree in physics, applied physics, chemistry, electrical engineering or a related area. A masters is required without honours, but is a plus otherwise. Candidates should be excellent team players willing to contribute to others' projects and have others contribute to theirs within our team, and be engaged with our collaborators outside UNSW. Candidates should have a strong work ethic but also a sensible attitude to work-life balance and interests outside science -- we like to work hard but not to death :).

For current students at UNSW: If you would like to discuss research opportunities, send A/Prof. Adam Micolich an email describing your interests with a copy of your CV, and we can arrange a time to meet for a chat.