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PhD scholarship: Quantum Enhanced Biosensing

Apply now Job No:513833
Area:Faculty of Science
Salary (FTE):UQ Scholarship (RTP Rate)NON-BANDED ($28,597.00 - $28,597.00)
Work type:Full Time - Scholarship
Location: St Lucia

Research Environment

UQ ranks in the top 50 as measured by the Performance Ranking of Scientific Papers for World Universities. The University also ranks 46 in the QS World University Rankings, 42 in the US News Best Global Universities Rankings, 66 in the Times Higher Education World University Rankings and 54 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities.

Queensland Quantum Optics Lab

The Queensland Quantum Optics Lab undertakes research in quantum physics and technology, exploiting micro- and nano-scale optical devices. Our mission is to test fundamental physics, and develop applications in metrology, communication, and biomedical imaging. Much of our research is based on optical architectures integrated on silicon chips, and is compatible with present-day fibre optical systems.

Our research fellows and PhD students work closely together. Our team members come from many technical and personal backgrounds, allowing for plenty of cross-pollination of ideas.

We are affiliated with the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS).

The award

Supervisor – Professor Warwick Bowen

Our research aims to translate the precision sensing techniques from quantum optics to biological measurements. This philosophy has recently been successful applied in kilometres large scales for astronomy, allowing the LIGO collaboration to detect the first gravitational waves.

Using similar techniques but at microscopic scales, we have developed the first biosensor free of all source of technical noise making our sensor only limited by the fundamental quantization of the light. This allow us to detect and track single proteins down to 3.5 nanometres in size and track them with 100 measurements per second. Notably this is achieved using only a tiny fraction of power compared to other sensors, and thereby greatly reduces photodamage dealt by detection. We aim to use this sensor to uncover biophysical phenomena never directly seen before, such as the rotational steps of single motor molecules. Moreover our sensing technique can be used for the development of new rapid detection platform for medical diagnostics such as early stage cancer detection.

Your work will consist in further develop this technology and apply it to explore biophysical phenomena alongside our precision sensing team. This can involve design, characterisation, modelling, and proof-of-concept deployment of precision sensors. 

A working knowledge of optics/photonics, signal processing, RF electronics and scientific programming (e.g. MATLAB, Python, C++ or similar) for data analysis would be of benefit to someone working on this project.

Selection criteria

To be eligible to apply, you must also meet the entry requirements for Higher Degrees by Research at UQ.

This scholarship is open to Australian citizens, permanent residents and International students who are currently in Australia at the time of application and commencement.

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the applicant’s previous academic record, publication record, honours and awards, and employment history.

A background or knowledge of basic physics, optics/photonics and basic data analysis is highly desirable.


The 2021 Research Training Program (RTP) living allowance stipend rate is AUD$28,597 per annum (indexed annually), which is tax-free for three years with two possible extensions of up to 6 months each in approved circumstances (conditions apply). A top-up of AUD$6,000 per annum is also available.


For further information, please contact Professor Warwick Bowen at +61 7 3346 9425

How to apply

To apply for admission and scholarship, follow this link. There is no separate application for scholarship because you will have the opportunity to request scholarship consideration on the application for admission.

Before submitting an application you should:

When you apply, please ensure that under the scholarships and collaborative study section you:

  1. Select ‘My higher degree is not collaborative’
  2. Select 'I am applying for, or have been awarded a scholarship or sponsorship'.
  3. Select ‘Other’, then ‘Research Project Scholarship’ and type in ‘BIOSENSING-BOWEN’ in the 'Name of scholarship' field.

See an example of what you have to do

Learn more about applying for a higher degree by research at UQ

Applications close: 31 December 2021 (11:00 PM) E. Australia Standard Time

Applications close: E. Australia Standard Time

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