About Us

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, and ARC Future Fellow Dr. Christopher Hall. 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.

Added ultrafast laser capabilities:

We have recently installed a new femtosecond laser system, funded by grants from the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP) Infrastructure Funds and the Australian Research Council Linkage Infrastructure, Equipment and Facilities (LIEF) schemes.

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.

We are also supported through activities of the Australian Centre for Advanced Photovoltaics (ACAP)

Melbourne/Monash-Bayreuth OPTEXC International research Training Group:

The University of Melbourne, Universität Bayreuth and Monash University have created a new International Research Training Group (IRTG) in “Optical excitations in organic and inorganic semiconductors (OPTEXC).  UML is a part of this initiative. This link provides for a 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.

News and events:

  • 20/05/24: Stella has also been announced as the Science Faculty’s Graduate Medal winner for the 2023 academic year. This is awarded to the highest-scoring Science Graduate student.  Congratulations Stella!
  • Xinyue Xu (Stella), who completed her MSc in UML at the end of 2023 has been awarded the Andrew Kirby Award for Research Excellence 2023. “This award is given to high achieving student(s) in a research project in Chemistry within the Bachelor of Science (Honours) or the Master of Science (Chemistry)”.
  • 03/24: Ryuzi Katoh from Nihon University visiting UML in March 2024
  • 5/2/24: Rees Hughes joins us from UToronto
  • 4-6 December 2023: We helped organise the inaugural International Conference on Quantum Energy(ICQE) 2023 at Pullman on the Park.
  • 28/11-1/12, 2023: We hosted the12th Asian Photochemistry Conference in Melbourne
  • 6/11/23: Dr. Jack Muir has joined the UML group working on a quantum energy project with CSIRO and RMIT
  • 11/10/23: Daniel Kröh awarded the Dr. Jim Desmarchelier Scholarship at the School of Chemistry awards night
  • 18/04/23: Subhajit Chakraborty finally arrives from IIT Kanpur as a MIPA student.
  • 17/04/23: Nina Novikova joins UML from Auckland
  • 13/02/23: Chris, Jamie, Rohan and Trevor attended the NZ-Australia Ultrafast Spectroscopy Symposium in Wellington, NZ 13-14 Feb., 2023.
  • Daniel Kroh joins the group as a joint PhD student with University of Bayreuth (Anna Köhler).
  • Stella has been awarded the prestigious Wyselaskie Scholarship in Natural Science. Congratulations!
  • Xinyue Xu (Stella) has joined the group as a Masters student. Welcome!
  • Elham and Pria discuss how ultrafast spectroscopy can be used to study photoactive materials in Exciton Science explanatory video.
  • Jamie’s lockdown project featured in The Age newspaper and highlighted in Exciton Science news short video.
  • UML was well represented at the Royal Australian Chemical Institute National Congress 2022 in Brisbane with Pria, Elham, Rohan and Chris in attendance.
  • Chris Hall has been awarded the Selby Award for the project titled ‘Probing drug-target interactions under physiological conditions.’
  • Rohan Hudson joins the group from Tak Kee’s lab (Jan. 22) as an ACEx Postdoctoral Research Fellow. Welcome!
  • Pria Ramkissoon and Elham Gholizadeh join the group as ACEx Postdoctoral Research Fellows.
  • New Light Conversion dual Pharos-SP amplified ultrafast laser system installed. Read about it here. Installation photos here.
  • Chris Hall has been awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Future Fellowship to develop new tools to study photochemical systems
  • Siobhan Bradley recently left the group to take up a position with the Victorian Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning (DELWP)
  • Kyra Schwarz recently left the group joining Deloitte, where where she will work on renewable energy strategic advice for Deloitte customers
  • New Masters student Siqi Jin joins the group.
  • New PhD student Subhajit Chakraborty joins the group, currently based in IIT Kanpur.
  • Chris and Trevor’s work appeared in Pursuit Magazine.
  • Kyra Schwarz recently rejoined the group after a post-doc. position at Princeton
  • Saghar Masoomi-godarzi completed her PhD and has started in the group as an ACAP Post-doc. Fellow. Congratulations!
  • New Masters students Sakuya Mori and Fangfang Yuan join the group. Welcome!
  • Visiting researcher Assoc. Prof. Susan Quinn from University College Dublin joins the group for March 2020.
  • Ultrafast Laser Spectroscopy Mini-Symposium:
    • We ran a mini-symposium 10-11th February, 2020 at Swinburne University of Technology that brought together the ultrafast laser spectroscopy community from Australia and New Zealand. We had ~48 registered attendees including speakers from Princeton, New Zealand, Canada, as well as local and interstate.

      Photo courtesy: Ben Xinzi Zhang (Princeton University)

  • 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 visited UML for 2019
  • 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


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