PhD scholarship: Quantum Enhanced Biosensing


Enrolment status New students
Student type Domestic students, International students
Level of study Higher Degree by Research
Study area Science and Mathematics
HDR funding type Living stipend scholarship, Top-up Scholarship
Scholarship value $28,597 per annum (2021 rate), indexed annually. A top-up of $6,000 per annum is also available.
Scholarship duration Three years with the possibility of two 6-month extensions
Opening date 10 June 2021
Closing date 10 August 2021


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.

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).


To be eligible, you must meet the entry requirements for a higher degree by research.

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

Before you get started

If this scholarship has rules, download and read them.

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

Selection criteria

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.


Professor Warwick Bowen
+61 7 3346 9425

Terms and conditions

Read the policy on UQ Research Scholarships.

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.