Higher Degree by Research Application Portal

TitleAdvanced vibration isolation and control for a large suspended optical cavity
SupervisorProf Li Ju
KeywordsGravitational wave detector instrumentation
Control system
Research areaPhysical Sciences
Project description

The gravitational wave interferometer detectors are the most sensitive instrument in the world.  They sense the position change of test masses due to the passing gravitational waves to the precision in the order of 10-20m!   The planned future detectors are aiming to improve the sensitivity 10-fold and broaden the sensitive frequency range.

Although the current detectors have achieved incredible sensitivity, there are many challenges ahead.  One crucial challenge is seismic vibration isolation.  Various vibration isolation systems have been built for gravitational wave detection.   At the University of Western Australia, we are operating a high optical power facility to develop techniques for current and future gravitational wave detectors.   This project focuses on the crucial task of achieving high levels of vibration isolation and control for the 80m suspended cavities.  

As part of our team, you will gain hands-on training with the most advanced real-time control system for LIGO detectors, the Control and Data System (CDS). Additionally, you will gain valuable experimental experience working with a diverse array of sensors and actuators, including shadow sensors, photodetectors, coil actuators, seismometers, and more. This multifaceted training will enhance your technical knowledge, broaden your horizons, and prepare you for a future at the forefront of scientific discovery.

Our UWA team is part of the LIGO Scientific Collaboration and contributed key technologies toward the first detection of gravitational waves.  We are looking for highly motivated students to join our research team. 

Opportunity statusOpen
Open date01 Sep 2023
Close date31 Aug 2024
SchoolSchool of Physics, Mathematics and Computing

Prof Li Ju - profile | email

Course typeDoctorates
Duration4 years


2024 Domestic and UWA International Graduates scholarship round is now open.

1 September 2023 – 31 October 2023

The International Scholarship round will be open in July 2024.

Other out of cycle scholarship schemes may be available.  

Students intending to undertake a dissertation or thesis as part of a Higher Degree by Research (HDR) course at The University of Western Australia, are required to have acquired adequate research preparation, prior to being admitted into a course.

The University's Adequate Research Preparation Policy (UP11/25) details this requirement.

The policy broadly states:

  • An applicant is normally considered to have fulfilled the requirements for admission to a HDR course if they can demonstrate that they have undertaken supervised individual research in which they have designed and conducted a scholarly investigation in the context of an existing body of knowledge.
  • In exceptional circumstances, consideration may be given to applicants whose qualifications do not meet the definitions of adequate research preparation outlined in the policy (clause 4.1), where the school/supervisor believes that the applicant is likely to succeed in the course. In these circumstances, admission may be granted to a Masters Degree by Research in the first instance. 

A PhD must be completed within 3 - 4 years.

Our PhD graduates have a wide range of career paths.

  • Academics in universities and gravitational wave observatories around the world
  • R & D team in industry and technology development companies
  • Consultants in financial companies