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PhD scholarship: Quantum Enhanced Biosensing

Enrolment status
Future UQ student
Student type
Domestic, International
Study level
Postgraduate research (HDR)
Study area
Science and Mathematics
Scholarship focus
Academic excellence
Funding type
Living stipend, Top-up, Tuition fees
Scholarship value
$28,854 per annum (2022 rate), indexed annually. A top-up of $6,000 per annum is also available.
Scholarship duration
3.5 years with the possibility of 1 extension in line with UQ and RTP Scholarship Policy
Number awarded
May vary
Applications open
13 January 2022
Applications close
14 February 2022

About this scholarship

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. 

Research environment

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).


You're eligible if you meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

How to apply

Before submitting an application you should:

You apply for this scholarship when you submit an application for a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD). You don't need to submit a separate scholarship application.

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.

Selection criteria

Applications will be judged on a competitive basis taking into account the your:

  • previous academic record,
  • publication record,
  • honours and awards, and
  • employment history.

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.

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


A domestic part-time student with carer’s responsibilities, a medical condition or a disability, which prevents them from studying full time may be eligible for scholarship consideration, on a case by case basis.


Professor Warwick Bowen