About Us

Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy Mini-Symposium:

We are running a mini-symposium to bring together the ultrafast laser spectroscopy community from Australia and New Zealand. It will be held 10-11th February at Swinburne University of Technology. Please see here for details and registration.

Welcome to the Ultrafast and Microspectroscopy Laboratories (UML)

The Ultrafast and Microspectroscopy Laboratories in the School of Chemistry at the University of Melbourne house the research groups of Profs.Trevor Smith and Ken Ghiggino. The laboratories comprise a comprehensive set of ultrafast laser spectroscopy and advanced optical microscopy instrumentation with which we carry out collaborative research on many areas of photochemistry and photophysics.  The instrumentation can also used for studying some biological systems, but this is not a current research direction.

Our research group comprises several post-doctoral researchers and PhD and MSc students, in addition to frequent international visitors.

Members of the UML participate in a number of collaborative research initiatives, including:


UML is a key player in the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science (ACEx).  We are seeking potential PhD, MSc and BSc(Hons) students as part of this initiative.

Melbourne-Bayreuth joint PhD opportunity:

The Universities of Melbourne and Bayreuth have created a new, joint PhD program. Candidates from each University spend a minimum of 12 months at the partner University and submit a PhD thesis at each location. Candidates need to be Australian residents and have an undergraduate mark equivalent to those required for an APA.


The 29th International Conference on Photochemistry was held recently in Boulder, CO and several UML members (Siobhan, Chris, Fei, Trevor and Ken), and ACEx colleagues (Paul Mulvaney, Tim Schmidt and Greg Scholes) attended.


The most recent Indian National Workshop on Fluorescence and Raman Spectroscopy series (commonly known as the FCS series) was organised by the School of Physical Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi and Department of Chemistry, Indian Institute of Technology Delhi (IITD), supported by Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR) Mumbai and Fluorescence Society. It was held in JNU, November 12 – 17, 2018. The FCS 20XX series of workshops was conceived as a unique way to teach and provide hands-on training on the most complex modern instrumentations in the area of Fluorescence and Raman Spectroscopy to the practicing scientists and Ph.D. students in India. The original workshop was started with funding from the Govt. of India (Department of Electronics and Information Technology) in 2009, through a grant to Prof. Sudipta Maiti, Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, India.

UoM-Tohoku University activities:

The University of Melbourne recently hosted a delegation from our colleagues at Tohoku University, Sendai, Japan.  Shunya Ito, Yuki Fujita and Yutaka Shibata spent some time in our lab.

ACAP activities:

We have two ACAP-supported projects in collaboration with Greg Scholes’ lab at Princeton (singlet fission) and Garry Rumbles (NREL/Boulder University) on time-resolved microwave conductivity and long-time transient absorption.  As part of these projects we have undertaken the following activities:

Ken Ghiggino, Trevor Smith and Siobhan Bradley visited the Scholes lab at Princeton, 16/17 August, 2018.

We hosted a symposium at which several eminent US and British colleagues, and a few locals, spoke.


  • Trevor Smith, Kyra Schwarz and David Jones visited Prof. Greg Scholes’ lab in Princeton (September 2016) as part of our ACAP activities.
  • Trevor Smith visited Garry Rumbles’ lab at NREL (August 2016) as part of our ACAP activities.

IRRTF activities:

The University of Melbourne has supported the formation of two collaborative networks with colleagues in China and India through the International Research and Research Training Fund (IRRTF).

We established the IRRTF Asian Research Network for Characterising Semi-Conducting Materials – A collaboration between the University of Melbourne and key institutions in China and India. Please see the webpage.  Through this initiative we have been involved in the following activities:

The concluding workshop for this Network will be held in the Woodward Centre at the University of Melbourne from June 12-14, 2019.

Ken Ghiggino, Trevor Smith, Jonathan White, Ashokkumar, Paul Mulvaney, Ann Roberts, Chris Hall and Andrew Tilley visited Shandong University and Xi’an for IRRTF-related workshops (Oct. 2018).

Ken Ghiggino, Trevor Smith, Jonathan White, Dave Dunstan, John Sader and Ashokkumar visited laboratories at Shandong, Xi’an and Changchun, and presented at several workshops during September, 2017.

We have also established the International Research Network for Development of Antibiotic Peptides (IRNDAP). See the webpage. We recently held a workshop attended by several of our colleagues from India, Prof. Amit Chattopadhyay from CCMB, Prof. Sudipta Maiti from TIFR, Mumbai, and A/Prof. Samrat Mukhopadhyay from IISER Mohali.

News and events:

  • Yang Xu and Trevor Smith visited Peter Dedecker’s group at KUL in Leuven, Belgium and the Rainer Heintzmann’s group at Leibniz Institute of Photonic Technology in Jena, Germany to discuss structured illumination microscopy

Yang with Carl Zeiss, and Yang & Trevor with Abbe’s diffraction law monument

  • Weilong Xu from Changzhou Institute of Technology, Changzhou, Jiangsu, China is visiting UML for 2019
  • Trevor Smith, Ken Ghiggino, Chris Hall and Siobhan Bradley presented at APC2018 in Taipei, Taiwan.
  • Fei Zheng joins UML as an ACEx post-doc
  • Yuki Fujita from Tohoku University, Japan visited UML 12/6/18-11/09/18 as part of his Masters course research.
  • Ken Ghiggino, Trevor Smith and Siobhan Bradley visited the Scholes group at Princeton Aug. 2018.
  • Ken Ghiggino and Trevor Smith visited Kashgar, China for the Thin Films Workshop on Interdisciplinary Technologies (TFIW2018) from 1/6/18-4/6/18.
  • Simli Dey from TIFR, Mumbai visiting UML
  • Pengqing Bi from Shandong University, China visited UML 15/4-15/5/18
  • Shunya Ito from Tohoku University visited in February
  • Siobhan Bradley, Chris Hall and Carolina Rendon Barraza have joined as Exciton Science Post-docs.
  • Annabel Romijn from Eindhoven University of Technology completed her MSc internship with us setting up and applying the technique of Phosphorescence Lifetime Imaging (PLIM)
  • Peng Zeng is visiting Konstanz University again as part of the UA-DAAD grant activities
  • Matthew Burton completed his PhD and began a post-doc position at the Laboratory of Biophotonics and Pharmacology, Strasburg.
  • Daniel Kelly and Mohammed Jameel completed their M.Sc. projects in 2016
  • Amit Chattopadhyay from CCMB visited UML Nov. 2016 as part of the IRRTF activities.
  • Klaus Boldt and Florian Enders from Konstanz University recently visited UML as part of the UA-DAAD grant activities.
  • Ken Ghiggino and Trevor Smith joined Paul Mulvaney, Wallace Wong and Ashok (Chemistry), Dave Dunstan (Engineering) and Ann Roberts (Physics) and our IRRTF collaborators at the “Photonics and Organic Electronics Interdisciplinary Workshop” in the School of Physics at Shandong University, organised by Xiaotao Hao.
  • Trevor Smith, Kyra Schwarz and David Jones visited Prof. Greg Scholes’ lab in Princeton (September 2016) as part of our ACAP activities.
  • Trevor Smith visited Garry Rumbles’ lab at NREL (August 2016) as part of our ACAP activities.
  • Peng Zeng visited Shandong University again (August 2016) to perform some fluorescence up conversion measurements under the IRRTF activities
  • Sreetama Pal from the CCMB, Hyderabad visited UML using our Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging and Evanescent Wave-Induced Fluorescence spectroscopy techniques in August, 2016 under our IRRTF activities
  • Peng Zeng recently visited Konstanz to prepare new alloyed semiconductor nanoparticles.
  • Parijat Sarkar from the CCMB, Hyderabad visited UML using our Fluorescence Lifetime Imaging and Evanescent Wave-Induced Fluorescencespectroscopy techniques


  • Peng Zeng won the Dalton Transactions sponsored poster prize at the XXVIth IUPAC Symposium on Photochemistry in Osaka, Japan for his poster “Shell Effects on Hole-Coupled Electron Transfer Dynamics in Quasi-Type II CdSe/CdS Quantum Dot-Methyl Vionlogen Complexes”.
  • PhD positions. We are involved in developing super-resolution optical imaging methods, ultrafast laser spectroscopy and time-resolved microscopy. We apply these techniques to study a range of materials from organic photovoltaic materials, semiconductor nanocrystals and some of biological and botanical interest.  Potential students have to apply and qualify through the University’s normal admissions process (see the Graduate School of Science), and are expected to be eligible for, and awarded an appropriate scholarship, which are highly competitive.
  • B.Sc. (Hons) and M.Sc. projects available for 2017

Other Links:

Members of UML also play roles in the following:

Asian and Oceanian Photochemistry Association:

Please see the APA website



UML plays a role in the IUPAC Sub-Committee on Photochemistry, which offers information relating to all aspects of photochemistry (e.g. the Gold Book).

Support for
projects contributing to the advancement of areas of photochemistry is available. See here for a flyer: Poster-IUPAC-Photochemistry-Sub-Committee.


Methods and Applications in Fluorescence:            ATT00001

Trevor Smith is on the editorial board of the IOP journal Methods and Applications in Fluorescence. Published quarterly, Methods and Applications in Fluorescence (MAF) is a new journal with a focus on new developments in (lifetime) spectroscopy, imaging (including microscopy), and probe design, as well as in nano materials (including beads and thin films), optoelectronic components, in data acquisition and processing. (see here for details).  MAF has recently received its first impact factor – it is 2.429.

Advanced Microscopy Facility:

The University of Melbourne’s Advanced Microscopy Facility maintains a state-of-the-art electron and optical microscope facility with the main nodes located at the Bio21 Institute, the School of Botany, the Department of Anatomy and cell Biology and associated specialised light microscopy facilities located at the departments of Anatomy and Cell Biology, Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and the Florey Neuroscience Institute.

These facilities are under the Biological Optical Microscopy Platform (BOMP). The Delta Vision OMX blaze v4 and the Leica SP5 live cells are now both up and running.


Images courtesy of Dr Paul McMillan