As a Centre of Excellence, our research spans many different disciplines of science, from earthquake monitoring to our internet, all the way to the fundamental physics of light.  

The story of our Centre began with the 2005 Nobel Prize in Physics, when the world’s most precise measurement tool was made.

It was called the optical frequency comb. 

Optical frequency combs have transformed the measurement of time enabling the world’s most accurate clocks.  These are crucial for GPS, allowing our transport networks and Google Maps on our smart phones.   

Yet, 20 years after its invention, the impact of the optical frequency combs on society has been surprisingly limited 

What is an optical frequency comb?


A device capable of translating electronic signals into light waves.

It was first invented at the end of the 20th century and enabled the most precise measurement the world had ever seen, allowing research that transformed satellite global positioning, and the exploration of distant suns.

The story of integration

Optical Frequency Comb

The Optical Frequency Comb still remains at $1M, the size of a entire laboratory bench, and needs constant attention by trained experts.

It remains trapped in specialist laboratories around the world.


In 2010, our research team introduced the first miniaturised optical frequency comb that could be mass manufactured as cheaply as consumer electronics – we called these microcombs.   

The microcomb chip is smaller than an Australian $2 coin, and the component producing the frequency comb is less than 1mm across.

Our research areas

Microcomb Science and Technology

Understand new optical physics for generating combs, structures and materials

Spectroscopy and Microscopy

Better understand living organisms and complex gases

Information and Intelligence

Advance record-breaking internet transmission for rapid brain-like machine learning

Sensing and Measurement

Create compact robust atomic clocks for structural monitoring and mapping of geological features


Deliver new calibration standards for astronomical spectrographs to search for planets in other solar systems

Featured case studies

Connecting internet superhighways to keep up with data demands

A team of researchers from Monash, RMIT, University of Adelaide and the Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications have created a fingernail-sized chip to more efficiently route our internet’s data to its destination.

Observing the tiny wobble of a star more accurately to find earth-like planets

Making the world’s most accurate ruler smaller and more robust will bring us one step closer to finding habitable planets like our Earth.

Measuring our greenhouse gases more rapidly and accurately

Our team aims to miniaturise the current bulky gas sensing equipment and use it in remote areas like Australia’s outback.

Do you want to be a part of our Centre?
We are currently recruiting for PhD students
and Postdoctoral Researchers.