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Congratulations DWC PhD student Harpreet Kaur

20 november 2017

Congratulations to Harpreet Kaur, supervised by DWC Investigator Rainer Kunnemeyer, who has won the 3MT (Three minute thesis) competition at Waikato University.   Harpreet won the competition describing the PhD work she is doing on fruit quality sensing.   Harpreet also took out the People’s Choice Award. 

On 29 September, Harpreet presented at the 3MT Asia-Pacific Competition in Brisbane and was one of fifteen participants chosen for the Editor's choice award which will be published in leading scientific magazine COSMOS.   The video link of Harpreet’s 3MT presentation can be viewed here


Congratulations DWC Investigator Blair Blakie & Summer Students Nanako Shitara and Shreya Bir

17 november 2017

Congratulations to DWC Investigator Blair Blakie’s Summer Students Nanako Shitara and Shreya Bir on the publication of their video abstract “Domain percolation in a quenched ferromagnetic spinor condensate” in the Institute of Physics New Journal of Physics.   This is an incredible achievement for two very young and bright students!  You can view the video and read the abstract here


Congratulations DWC Investigator Stephane Coen

25 OCTOBER 2017

Congratulations to DWC Investigator Stephane Coen who has been awarded a James Cook Fellowship to work on a “Widely tunable optical fibre frequency comb”.    You can read more about Stephane’s research project here and the James Cook Fellowship Award here 


RSNZ Award to DWC PhD student Ryan Thomas

17 OCTOBER 2017

Congratulations to DWC PhD student Ryan Thomas on winning the Hatherton Award at the RSNZ Awards Dinner on 9 October.   The Hatherton Award is for the best scientific paper by a PhD student at any NZ university in the fields of chemical sciences, physical sciences, mathematical and information sciences. 

Our congratulations also go to Associate Professor Niels Kjaergaard, Ryan’s PhD Supervisor.  Read more about Ryan’s award here


Postgrads valued at DWC!

Postgrads valued at Dodd-Walls Centre

04 September 2017

DWC Director Prof David Hutchinson, features in an article in the latest edition of the Otago Post.   This article highlights the value of our postgrad students and the wealth of opportunity for involvement as part of the DWC.

You can read the full article by going to www.otago.ac.nz/postgraduate/otagopost/otago654008.html



Congratulations DWC Prof Blair Blakie!

Congratulations DWC Prof Blair Blakie!

11 August 2017

DWC Professor Blair Blakie became an official Visiting Fellow of the Institute of Quantum Optics and Quantum Information (IQOQI) last week at the Austrian Academy of Sciences, Innsbruck. Congratulations to Blair on this honour! The last appointee was Professor Crispin Gardiner (formerly Director of the DWC), so New Zealand represents 50% of their four visiting fellows so far. 


Ag at Otago/DWC Enterprise & Innovation Workshop

10 August 2017

Ag at Otago and Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonics and Quantum Technologies collaborate to host a two day workshop on Enterprise and Innovation for University of Otago postgraduate students.

The workshop, led by Dr Chris Kirk, Univentures Ltd and who has considerable expertise in this area, commenced yesterday and will re-convene on 16 August 2017.  The workshop will identify ways scientific discoveries and ideas can be translated into practical outcomes.  You can read the full article here


Science educators off to Chathams

22 July 2017

Full ODT story here

Chatham Islanders could be forgiven for believing they are living largely alone, in the most easterly part of New Zealand, more than 800km from the South Island.

But some visitors will be arriving there next week — a high-powered team of science outreach educators from the Otago Museum and University of Otago.

The "mini-expedition" will include museum director, physicist and astronomer Dr Ian Griffin,  Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonics and Quantum Technologies director Prof David Hutchinson and museum science presentation co-ordinator Amadeo Enriquez-Ballestero.

They will fly to the remote islands from Wellington on Monday  and return late next week.

Prof Hutchinson and Mr Enriquez-Ballestero said they were excited about  undertaking the "Extreme Science" project trip, backed by the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment’s Unlocking Curious Minds funding.

They aimed to inspire young school pupils on the Chathams with what science and technology could already tell them about their world, and potential employment prospects.

Museum science engagement director Dr Craig Grant said he also hoped the wider Chathams community "might see how new technologies can help offset some of the challenges of their remoteness, and enable them to take advantage of their unique location", such as linking the science of astronomy with night sky watching and "astrophotography" tourism.

Prof Hutchinson, of Otago University, stressed the expedition aimed "to build a relationship", and the funding included support for one of the teachers on the Chathams "to visit us back here at the university".

A telescope and seismometer would be taken to the Chathams and left behind with other science equipment.

The legacy was important, he said.

The team viewed this "as the start of a long relationship, not a one-off visit that is then forgotten".



Greatest Science Show Ever in the History of the Chathams

31 July 2017

As part of the Education Outreach programme, Otago Museum and DWC members took science out to Chatham Islands children last week during a week of stargazing, exploring quantum physics and blowing stuff up!   

Amadeo Enriquez Ballestero, Discovery World Co-ordinator at Otago Museum spoke with Jesse Mulligan from RNZ - you can listen to the interview here 


Interview with "Physics Girl" Dianna Cowern

24 July 2017

DWC members recently had the pleasure of meeting Dianna Cowern, more commonly known as "Physics Girl" who was in NZ for a number of invited events.  Dianna's passion for Physics (especially quantum mechanics) and her clever and fun Youtube videos have resulted in a massive worldwide following.

While in New Zealand, Dianna kindly took time out from her busy schedule for an interview with Graeme Hill from Radio Live - you can listen to the interview here 


Enterprise & Innovation Workshop (9th and 16th August)

22 June 2017

Ag@Otago in collaboration with The Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonics and Quantum Technologies will host a two day workshop on Enterprise and Innovation for Postgraduate students at the University of Otago, on Wed 09 & 16  August. The workshop will be led by Dr Chris Kirk, Univentures Ltd, who has considerable expertise in this area.

Six places are available for Postgraduate students, whose research is aligned with the Ag@Otago Research Theme. Anybody who is interested in attending these workshops should contact Emeritus Professor Frank Griffin, Director Ag@Otago: frank.griffin@otago.ac.nz for further details.

The workshop will identify ways that your scientific discoveries and ideas can be translated into practical outcomes.

Details of the overall structure of an Enterprise and Innovation workshop programme will be made available to interested participants on request.

 Frank Griffin  (Director Ag@Otago)


Time stretch and its applications

02 June 2017

Photonic Time Stretch

Observing non-repetitive and statistically rare signals that occur on short timescales requires fast real-time measurements that exceed the speed, precision and record length of conventional digitizers.  

DWC Principal Investigator Neil Broderick and collaborators have written a paper on Time Stretch and its applications in Nature Photonics - click here to see it 


DWC Scientists Team up with New Zealand Industry

24 May 2017

To view the DWC Interface Challenge video click here 

The Dodd-Walls Centre and the MacDiarmid Institute connected their top scientists with some of New Zealand’s most innovative companies to showcase what they could do for them.  The Interface Industry Challenge was launched late last year asking companies to come up with commercial problems they couldn't solve within their own technological capability, which the Centres of Research Excellence (CoREs) would help solve for free.   

The CoREs are virtual institutions that draw on the talent of top scientists from anywhere in the country in a particular research area.  The Dodd-Walls Centre specialises in photonic and quantum technologies while the MacDiarmid Institute focuses on materials science and nanotechnology.  Having signed non-disclosure agreements, the two CoREs are working on proofs of concept to solve problems for seven companies they’ve matched to various scientists.  The scientists are now starting to produce some solutions the companies can use as a competitive advantage, and in some cases may even lead to new intellectual property.

The directors of both institutes, Professor David Hutchinson from the DWC and MacDiarmid’s Professor Thomas Nann say New Zealand industry needs to keep innovating to stay ahead.   The challenge was a fun way of letting companies know what scientific help they could tap into, and both CoREs hope funding the initial research now will benefit them with longer-term research partnerships.   The seven companies involved range from larger companies such as Fisher & Paykel Healthcare and Buckley Systems to start-ups Avertana, Lanaco, Aquafortus Technologies and Invisi Shield.  

Andy West, a director on the boards of Aquafortus and Lanaco, says it is unusual to get free research from CoREs and that’s helpful for both companies he's helping govern which are still at the stage of “burning capital and are yet to enter full revenue profitability,” although Lanaco is close.  Lanaco is a materials science company that uses fine wood blended with synthetic fibres to produce what it dubs as the world's most breathable air filter, while Aquafortus Technologies is developing water extraction technology involving organic chemistry which could potentially extract water from liquid waste materials and help desalination.   “We have access to some extremely clever people across a range of universities as CoREs are not normally in just one site – they draw the best people from around the country in any given field. And we have access to really expensive scientific equipment we couldn’t afford ourselves,“ Dr West says.


DWC Associate Investigator Dr Justin Hodgkiss recently talked to Kathryn Ryan at Radio New Zealand about the Interface Challenge and the benefits to New Zealand when scientists and businesses collaborate - click here to listen to the interview.   


Scientists discover extreme geothermal activity in South Island

19 May 2017

Extreme hydrothermal conditions at an active plate-bounding fault

DWC Investigator, Professor Neil Broderick, is among a group of scientists who have recently had their paper published in "Nature"


Extremely high temperatures and fluid pressures have been measured in a borehole in the Alpine Fault in New Zealand, a Nature paper reports. The fault is expected to rupture in a magnitude-8 earthquake in the next few decades and the study could have broad implications for understanding earthquakes and fault zone geology.
The Alpine Fault is a major plate boundary fault that runs most of the length of New Zealand’s South Island. The fault produces large earthquakes approximately every 300 years, and it last ruptured in 1717. Rupert Sutherland and colleagues drilled a scientific borehole into the fault to examine the hydrothermal conditions therein.
They collected comprehensive rock, mud and seismological observations and found that temperatures and fluid pressures in the borehole were much higher than expected, particularly in the ‘hanging wall’ above the fault, where the average temperature gradient reached around 125 degrees Celsius per kilometre of depth. Values above 80 degrees Celsius per kilometre tend to be associated with volcanic regions, but there is no evidence for volcanism near this site. The authors conclude that these extreme hydrothermal conditions result from rapid fault movement, which transports rock and heat from greater depths, and fluid movement through fractured rocks, which concentrates heat into valleys. 

The full article can be accessed here 


19 May 2017

 Congratulations DWC Associate Investigator Harald Schwefel!

The Dodd-Walls Centre is thrilled to announce that Harald Schwefel was awarded winner of the Quantel Laser: Bright Ideas Competition at the 2017 CLEO Laser Science to Photonic Applications event in San Jose.  Having reached the final round of four entrants, Harald presented to the Panel at CLEO, and was delighted to win the competition and receive US$30,000 of laser equipment.   Congratulations Harald!  More information about the competition can be found here


Collective strong coupling of cold atoms to an all-fiber ring cavity

19 May 2017

DWC Investigator Dr Maarten Hoogerland was a contributing author of the following article recently published in Optica.  


Large-scale quantum networks could allow a wide variety of applications in quantum computing and simulation. We have demonstrated the operation of a single node for use in such a network. A fiber ring cavity contains a nanofiber section, which mediates atom–light interactions through the evanescent field. We observe collective enhancement of the coupling rate between the ensemble of atoms and the light in the fiber.  This work, published in “Optica”, represents an important step toward implementing such a large-scale all-fiber quantum network.   The full article can be sourced here


 15 March 2017

NZ physicists collide ultracold atoms to observe a key quantum principle

DWC Physicists Neils Kjaergaard and Ryan Thomas were recently interviewed by ABC Australia.  For more information or to hear the interview, click here

What can we learn about quantum physics from bacteria?

23 February 2017

DWC Director, David Hutchinson, talks to Radio New Zealand about what we can learn about quantum physics from bacteria.  To listen to the interview click here


DWC scientists control atom

DWC scientists control atom

9 March 2017

The equipment Dr Mikkel Andersen and fellow researchers have developed to control individual atoms looks like the stuff of historic science fiction. There are seven lasers and a host of other scientific apparatus in a large machine, and when one researcher let a wire fall in front of a powerful laser it promptly began to smoke in a slightly alarming manner. But the equipment in a lab in a University of Otago science block has helped Dr Andersen and his team do what has not been done before; control individual atoms, making them appear wherever they want them to. Read the full story here


What can we learn about quantum physics from bacteria?

23 February 2017

DWC Director, David Hutchinson, talks to Radio New Zealand about what we can learn about quantum physics from bacteria.  To listen to the interview click here


3 April 2017

PDNOC-2 Tandem workshop on pattern dynamics in nonlinear optical cavities

The workshop PDNOC-2 is the second part of a tandem workshop on Pattern Dynamics in Nonlinear Optical Cavities organised by the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden in collaboration with the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonics and Quantum Technologies (DWC) and the New Zealand Institute for Advanced Study (NZIAS). PDNOC-2, which will take place in Auckland in the period 6-16 June 2017, will focus on the dynamics of patterns in different semiconductor cavities, in fiber laser setups and in materials with nonlinear optical properties. For further information, please see the conference web site https://www.math.auckland.ac.nz/en/about/pdnoc-2-workshop.html


New gas sensing using photonic technology

13 February 2017

Dunedin-based Photonic Innovations has acquired complementary gas detection technology that makes workplaces such as meat processing companies and cool stores safer.  The technology was acquired from Auckland company Southern Photonics. Both companies use lasers for detecting gases instead of chemical sensors, which were part of the safety problem at Pike River mine. Photonic Innovation chief executive Dr Ojas Mahapatra​ said lasers are more reliable and cheaper to operate.

Read full story here
Gas detection firm averting tragedy

Source of putrid gas smell narrowed down to two sites


Otago Museum to celebrate Women and Girls in Science

9 February 2017

Otago Museum to celebrate Women and Girls in Science

To celebrate the annual United Nations International Day of Women and Girls in Science, Otago Museum, in collaboration with the Dodd Walls Centre of Research Excellence, is hosting a group of Year 11 Otago students this Friday 10 February for a behind-the-scene visit at the Museum.

The student’s tour will include a visit to the Museum’s Collection and Conservation labs, Discovery World Tropical Forest, and will finish with a Women in Science panel discussion and question and answer session.

The panel will consist of female staff members from both the Museum and the University of Otago who trained in science and are now involved in a wide range of activities, from researching climate change in Antarctica, to taxidermy, to caring for thousands of butterflies in Australasia’s only three-level live butterfly house.  This includes Bianca Sawyer (Physics), Alison Heather (Physiology), Lisa Craw (Geology) and Nysa Mildwaters (Otago Museum).

Nathalie Wierdak, Otago Museum Outreach Coordinator, is pleased that the Museum and the Dodd Wall Centre are be able to offer this event to female students in the region.

“This week’s event is an exciting one – not only does it mark a significant date in our science calendar, it once again highlights the importance of encouraging females of all ages to pursue a career in science,” says Wierdak.


Former DWC student, wins Woolf Fisher Fellowship Award

3 February 2017

Matthew McGoverin moved on after completing his PhD in Science under DWC Investigator, Dr Mikkel Andersen to be come a teacher at Havelock North High School. Matthew has won the presitigious Woolf Fisher Fellowship Award. Congratulations on such a wonderful achievement Matthew from all of us here at the Dodd Walls Centre! For the full story please click here.

New Zealand Can Play a Key Role in Developing Quantum Technology - DWC

1 February 2017

Nobel Laureate, Professor Bill Philips, Professor Ian Walmsley and University of Otago and Dodd-Walls Centre PhD student, Bianca Sawyer were interviewed by TVNZ whilst attending the 10th Annual Symposium of the Dodd Walls Centre.  Please see full interview here


Nobel Prize Winner, Professor Bill Philips interviewed by Channel 39

1 February 2017

The news that Nobel prize winner, Professor Bill Philips was in Dunedin to attend the DWC Symposium caught the eye of local Dunedin Television Channel 39, please click the link to watch the piece


Quantum Technology is Changing the world

1st February 2017

Professor Ian Walmsley of Oxford University was interviewed by Radio NZ National Afternoons whilst attending the Dodd Walls 2017 Symposium, for full interview click here


DWC Excellence in Research Outputs

6 October 2016

The DWC was recently ranked 10th in in New Zealand for research outputs in a Nature review article. The Nature Index covers a suite of prestigious journals across the globe. The graph shows the main areas of DWC publications were in Physics and Earth & Environmental Sciences.


The top ten institutions in New Zealand, based on research output included in the 2015 Nature Index, May 1 2015–April 30 2016, shown as weighted fractional count (WFC), a measure of the relative contribution of an author to an article weighted to correct for imbalances between subjects. Bars are divided according to the proportion that each subject area contributes to the overall score.


DWC Member Associate Professor Coen Wins Hector Medal!

DWC Member Associate Professor Coen Wins Hector Medal!
Associate Professor Stephane Coen

24 November 2016


Dodd-Walls Investigator Stèphane Coen was awarded the Hector Medal at last night’s Royal Society Research Honours Awards held in Christchurch.  The Hector Medal is awarded for an outstanding advancement in the physical sciences and this was awarded to Stèphane for his research into optical phenomena in optical fibre and microresonators.  His speciality is temporal cavity solitons, which are pulses of laser light that can self-organise so as to travel indefinitely around a loop.

Associate Professor Coen and co-workers made the first experimental observation of these solitons in 2010, 30 years after they were predicted, using a loop of fibre optic cable, the same type of cable used for broadband internet and other applications.

Congratulations Stèphane from the Dodd-Walls Centre.  Read the full article here



Simon Poole wins Charles Todd Medal in Australia

13 December 2016


DWC Member, Simon Poole of New Business Ventures, Finisar Ltd Australia, is an engineer and an entrepreneur who recently received the Charles Todd Medal - the most prestigious award made by the Australian telecommunications industry.  Congratulations Simon! To hear the full interview at RadioNZ please click here

Dodd-Walls Centre members awardes with the New Zealand Mathematical Society Research Award and the Aitkens Prize

13 December 2016

At its award dinner this week, DWC PI Professor Bernd Krauskopf received the Research
Award of the New Zealand Mathematical Society for `outstanding contributions to
dynamical systems, especially bifurcation theory and its applications to diverse
physical phenomena'.

Moreover, Naomi Gendler, DWC Masters student with Professor Bernd Krauskopf and
Associate Professor Neil Broderick, received the NZMS Aitken Prize for best student presentation with
her talk `Pulse Dynamics of Fibre Lasers with Saturable Absorbers’.

Bernd Krauskopf was accredited as a  Fellow of the NZMS `in recognition of their contributions to
mathematics and their professional standing in the New Zealand
mathematical community'.

Congratulations from the Dodd-Walls Centre to Neil, Bernd and Naomi on such outstanding achievements!



Three DWC members win awards at the Science Divisional Awards ceremony

6 December 2016

On Friday 2 December the Vice Chancellor and Pro Vice Chancellor of Otago University hosted the Science Divisional Awards ceremony. The Dodd Walls Centre would like to congratulate 3 of its members for winning the following awards:



  • Special Award for Distinguished Service - awarded to Professor Rob Ballagh
  • Senior Teacher of the Year - awarded to Professor Niels Kjaergaard
  • Best Research Paper - awarded to Postgraduate Student, Ryan Thomas

Congratulations on such wonderful achievements!


From left:

Professor Rob Ballagh; Professor David Hutchinson; Associate Professor Niels Kjaegaard; Professor Blair Blakie; Ryan Thomas and Professor Craig Roger.



American physicist William D. Phillips a fellow of the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), a Distinguished Professor at the Joint Quantum Insitute, University of Maryland, and a member of the international advisory board of the Dodd-Walls Centre, a New Zealand Centre of Research Excellence. He shared the 1997 Nobel Prize with Steven Chu and Claude Cohen-Tannoudji for their work on the laser cooling of atoms, and will visit New Zealand to deliver the public lecture, Einstein, Time and Light, in Auckland (25 November), lecture at the student conference IONS KOALA 2015 in Auckland, and teach at the ANZSUP summer school in Dunedin.


Dodd Walls Centre Researcher's theory of gas droplets has been realised!

Dodd Walls Centre Researcher's theory of gas droplets has been realised!
Professor Blair Blakie and Dr Danny Ballie
11 November 2016
Dodd-Walls researchers Dr Danny Baillie and Prof. Blair Blakie, both at the University of Otago, have led a team that predicted how to produce a stable droplet out of an ultra-cold gas. This prediction was realised by an experiment in Germany.  Congratulations to Danny, Blair and the rest of their team! For full story read here



Lighthouse Platform Event

 5 December 2016 
During the latest Lighthouse Platform event, members of Industry came together to hear International guest speakers Simon Poole (New Business Ventures, Finisar Ltd, Australia) and Andy Brown (Global Business Development, SPIE, USA) at the Generator in Auckland's CBD. The topic was Ideas & Execution: The Yin and Yang of Innovation on 1st Dec 2016.
Read more here

New Zealand's Oldest Telescope Restoration

8 November 2016

The Dodd-Walls Centre is delighted to be involved in the restoration of New Zealand's oldest telescope used on Cook's voyage to observe the transit of Venus - perhaps the beginning of New Zealand's proud optics tradition.



DWC Investigator working on Ultra-sensitive fibre-optic sensors probe NZ's biggest quake threat along the Alpine Fault

7 November 2016

Professor Neil Broderick is leading team looking at ultra-sensitive fibre-optic sensors probe NZ's biggest quake threat along the Alpine Fault.



International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies

7 November 2016
The recent UNESCO Executive Board decision to ratify the proclamation of an annual and permanent legacy of IYL2015 in the form of an International Day of Light.   The International Day of Light will be officially proclaimed in November 2017 at the UNESCO General Conference, with the first date of celebration planned to be the 16 May 2018.   View further details:

Dodd-Walls Investigators Successful in 2016 Marsden Grants

4 November 2016

Professor neil broderick - New Optical Sensors for Geophysical applications - $830,000

We will develop new distributed optical fibre sensors capable of measuring temperature and vibration along kilometre lengths of optical fibres in hostile environments. These will be tested and used to monitor the Alpine Fault in the South Island using the DFDP-2 borehole. Our project will result in an improved understanding of the behaviour of the Alpine Fault and provide insight into newly discovered slow slip events that act to relieve stress on the plate boundary. The new generation of optical sensors  will have multiple applications in geophysics and seismic surveys as well as other applications in structural health monitoring. Finally we will explore the limits of optical sensing technology for geophysics looking at new modalities and new fibres and what is possible in the future.

Professor Joachim Brand -playing dice with fermi - full configuration interaction quantum monte carlo for fermionic superfluids - $870.000

Can a computer game of walkers who randomly die, give birth, and jump between locations help us understand the physics of ultra-cold atomic gases? A new Monte Carlo method (FCIQMC) has the potential to do just that. It has recently extended the applicability of exact numerical computations to larger and larger problems in quantum chemistry. In this project we will further develop the FCIQMC approach to study a new form of quantum matter - the strongly interacting Fermi gas.

Laser cooling fermionic atoms to temperatures near absolute zero creates a superfluid with universal properties. Yet these properties are poorly understood and seemingly intractable for theoretical physics. Strong interactions make approximate theories unreliable. Indeed, experiments have not been able to verify predictions for the simultaneous occurrence of superfluid flow and periodic order in space, akin to a crystal. FCIQMC has the potential to provide definitive answers to theoretical questions and guide experimental efforts. This NZ-led international collaboration will refine approximate theories based on numerical computations and experiments performed in parallel. Understanding the universal aspects of the strongly interacting Fermi gas will provide important insights into the properties of materials occurring in neutron stars, as well as exotic superconductors.

Dr Justin Hodgkiss - The origin of uv photoprotection in the brown skin pigment eumelanin $870,000

The natural brown skin pigment eumelanin protects us from UV light by intercepting photons and dissipating their energy before proteins and DNA are damaged. Eumelanin’s photoprotection mechanism is masked by its extreme chemical and physical complexity, which may in fact be essential to its function. In this project, we aim to understand how eumelanin so effectively dissipates UV energy by interrogating this process using timed sequences of extremely short laser pulses. We will use three complementary broadband ultrafast methods – ultrafast fluorescence, ultrafast transient absorption, and femtosecond stimulated Raman spectroscopies – to elucidate the electronic and structural relaxation pathways in eumelanin. We will apply global data analysis to unify the results and establish whether disorder indeed plays a functional role, as well is interrogating the effects of delocalised excitonic states and excited state proton transfer. Drawing from approaches that we used to understand disordered semiconductor films, along with entirely novel spectroscopic methods, we have a unique opportunity to resolve this elusive problem in photobiology. This new knowledge may guide the design of new optical components and sunscreens, and the new tools developed may later be applied to a host of other biomaterials that undergo UV photochemistry.


DWC Member, Sam Hitchman poster receives high distinction

27 September 2016
DWC Member, Sam Hitchman had received a high distinction for his work in the University of Auckland postgraduate poster competition. What a great achievement, Well done Sam! For the full story click here

DWC Member, Jami Johnson wins poster competition

DWC Member, Jami Johnson wins poster competition
8 September 2016
DWC Member and Auckland University postgraduate, Jami Johnson won the student poster competition at the Excite Summer School in Zurich on Biomedical Imaging.  Jami was also a SPIE travel award recipient which helped facilitate her travel to the school. Congratulations Jami! Read the full story here

DWC Research highlighted in Asia/Pacific Newslettter

DWC Research highlighted in Asia/Pacific Newslettter
22 August 2016
Following on from the Nature Communications publication for DWC Member, Dr Niels Kjaergaard’s research group on“Multiple scattering dynamics of fermions at an isolated p-wave resonance”, their work has been highlighted in the latest Asia/Pacific Physics Newsletter, Volume 5, Number 3 on page 70. 

DWC member receives Doctoral runner up award in Auckland University Competition

DWC member receives Doctoral runner up award in Auckland University Competition

7 September 2016

Dodd-Walls Centre postgraduate student, Sam Hitchman has placed second in the University of Auckland's 'Three Minute Thesis' competition on presentation of his work on laser ultrasound on apples. Read the full story here.  Congratulations Sam!




2016 Todd Foundation Award Success

2016 Todd Foundation Award Success
July 2016
FoodSafe doctoral scholar Fang Ou (Rachel) has won a 2016 Todd Foundation Award for Excellence (Universities) valued at $5000.

These awards support projects that have a wide franchise and encourage the development of new concepts, technology or research that will benefit New Zealand. The award is assigned through Universities New Zealand and on top of the written application, the shortlisted applicants are invited to Wellington for an interview. The interview selection panel comprised of 6 representatives, from Universities NZ, Todd Foundation, Victoria University and the science industry sector. In granting the awards, the Selection Committee looked at the professional and academic ability of the candidates, their character and qualities of leadership, as well as their capacity for innovation and ability to strive for excellence. Congratulations Rachel!!


DWC Investigator, Dr Vanholsbeeck named Science Leader (NZ-FSSRC)

DWC Investigator, Dr Vanholsbeeck named Science Leader (NZ-FSSRC)

July 2016

Dr Vanholsbeeck has been named the science leader for The University of Auckland for The New Zealand Food Safety Science and Research Centre (NZ-FSSRC) and the New Zealand-China Food Protection Network project. The centre and the network include NZ partners from leading universities, Crown Research Institutes and the Cawthron Institute and will work alongside each other to promote, coordinate and deliver food safety science and research for New Zealand, an interest close to the FoodSafe programme.

DWC Researchers at Photonics West BIOS 2016

DWC Researchers at Photonics West BIOS 2016
Dr McGoverin and Dr Vanholsbeek

February 2016

DWC researchers and research were featured in a Nature Photonics editorial about Photonics West BIOS 2016 in San Francisco.  In February Dr McGoverin presented a talk at SPIE Photonics West 2016 titled “Near-real time monitoring of live to dead bacterial cell ratios”. This paper was one of the few research selected out of the 4800 BIOS  presentations.  Read full article here


DWC Director forges new collaboration with Institute of Physics (UK)

7 August 2016
The President of the New Zealand Institute of Physics returned to his academic roots in Exeter to forge a new collaboration with his UK counterpart - a University of Exeter physics professor. Professor David Hutchinson, who graduated from Exeter with a BSc in Mathematics and Theoretical Physics 20 years ago, was hosted at the Streatham campus by Professor Roy Sambles, President of the UK’s Institute of Physics and Professor of Experimental Physics in the College of Engineering, Mathematics and Physical Sciences.
The two professors made plans for the expansion of a student exchange programme. They also discussed the potential for joint working between their respective research centres and agreed to begin negotiations for more collaboration between the UK’s Institute of Physics and the New Zealand Institute of Physics. Read full article here
Dunedin Aurora
28 July 2016
For the past day or so, a minor stream of material from the sun has been buffeting Earth's magnetic field.  On July 25th, it caused a beautiful display of southern lights over New Zealand, which I managed to photograph from my home on the Otago Peninsula.
This stream of solar wind produced a lovely auroral display because magnetic fields in interplanetary space tilted south and linked up with Earth's magnetic field. This opened  a crack in our planet's magnetosphere. Solar wind poured in to fuel the  beautiful display.
Auroras can often be seen from Dunedin; this was the hundred and fifth aurora  display I have photographed in three years of living in this beautiful city.”

DWC and Otago Physicist observe key Quantum principle

DWC and Otago Physicist observe key Quantum principle
Associate Professor Niels Kjaergaard

14 July 2016

Dodd-Walls Centre and Otago Physicist, Associate Professor Niels Kjaergaard's research has observed a key quantum principle by using the collision of ultracold atoms. His research has been newly published in the prestigious journal Nature Communications   For the full story click here


DWC student wins Community Award at Science Festival

DWC student wins Community Award at Science Festival
Bianca Sawyer

Bianca Sawyer has been awarded the Post Graduate Student Award sponsored by AD Instruments as part of the Otago Daily Times community science awards. The award is in recognition of her outstanding contribution to science in the Otago community. This is a great recognition of her efforts and also reflects the huge amount of community outreach undertaken by our postgraduate students in the last few years.

read more


From Sensors to Sperm Sorting - Lighting up NZ’s Economy with Lasers

From Sensors to Sperm Sorting - Lighting up NZ’s Economy with Lasers

01 July 2016

Dodd-Walls Principal Investigator Cather Simpson has won the Supreme Award and the the Baldwins Researcher Entrepreneur Award at the KiwiNet Research Commercialisation Awards.Associate Professor Simpson is a physicist and chemist and the founder of the Photon Factory, a state-of-the-art pulsed laser research and teaching laboratory based at the University of Auckland.

Engender Technologies Ltd is a spin-off company commercialising the use of microfluidic and photonic technology to improve sorting of sperm by sex for the dairy industry. Cather is the founding scientist and chief science officer.

read more

see the video


Ministry of Primary Industry Champions

17 June 2016


Dodd-Walls Centre Principal Investigator becomes primary industries champion with Ministry. To learn more, read the press release from the New Zealand Government here and watch the two videos here (scroll down the page) to learn more. Agritech is a significant focus area for the DWC. If you want learn more about how photonic and quantum technologies can help in the agricultural sector contact us here

Engender Technologies wins AgTech section of World Cup Tech Challenge

10 June 2016
Dodd-Walls Centre Investigator Cather Simpson’s had success at today’s World Cup Tech Challenge in Silicon Valley.  Cather’s company “Engender” was the winner of the AgTech sector.  Engender’s win is the first win in this World Cup Tech Challenge by an Australasian company. This is a significant achievement and huge news for the New Zealand technology start-up sector.
Cather’s involvement in this competition was as a result of the Dodd-Walls Centre engagement at the Silicon Valley Forum held recently in San Francisco which was attended by Professor David Hutchinson and Professor John Harvey.  David and John joined NZTE and Callaghan Innovation to explore high-tech agriculture. Engender Technologies uses photonics to give dairy farmers the ability to reliably, cost-effectively choose their calves’ sex, and thereby enhance productivity and dramatically reduce numbers of unwanted bobby calves. 
NZ Herald covered the finalist story on Engender Technologies, read full article here
Cather Simpson interview with Kim Hill at RadioNZ, listen here

Governor visits the dodd-walls centre 

23 May 2016


Sir Jerry Mateparae has paid a visit to Dunedin to see the education, research and industry activities underway the Dodd-Walls Centre.

First up was a visit to the Otago Museum to see Lab In a Box, supported by Otago Museum and a range of other partners including the DWC.

It is a fully equipped science lab that folds away into a 20 foot shipping container allowing it to be transported around the country. 
Its mission is “taking science to the country” to encourage and inspire rural schools and communities to engage with science and technology.
Sir Mateparae also toured the new science engagement centre with its planetarium and Beautiful Science Gallery, the world’s first laser-activated digital gallery, and the DWC-supported Light Zone in Discovery World.

Next was a trip to the Physics Department where Dr Mikkel Anderson demonstrated the capture of individual atoms using laser light ‘optical tweezers’. Professor David Hutchinson, Director of the Dodd-Walls Centre, also showed Sir Mateparae the new offices located in the Physics department.

The visit was wrapped up with a trip to the new Dodd-Walls Development Centre in the University of Otago’s Centre for Innovation. Professor John Harvey and Dr Luke Taylor discussed the development of DWC research into prototypes and other commercial outcomes at the DWDC.


Lab in a Box visits Maheno School and East Otago High School

Lab in a Box visits Maheno School and East Otago High School

20 May 2016

On May 4th Lab in a Box visited Maheno School and delivered sessions on the Science of Light to Y1-Y8 students. Otago Museum Science Communicators prepared some demonstrations talking about visible light, reflection and refraction, lenses and concave and convex shapes, colored shadows, and Ultra Violet Light, and finally creating light with a chemical reaction using Hydrogen.

The following week LIAB stop at East Otago High School and continue the Science of Light sessions, this time for Y9-Y10 students. A big thank you goes to the University of Otago Physics Department for lending their light boxes sets, and promoting science engagement in rural communities!




The Night's Watch

10 May 2016

DWC Education Team member, Ian Griffin, talks to TVNZ Sunday program on the beauty of our nights sky, watch the full piece here


Dodd-Walls Centre partner scoops Museum Aotearoa awards

19 May 2016 
Otago Museum claimed several top honours, including two categories and a special award, in this year’s New Zealand Museum Awards held in Auckland last night (Wednesday 18 May).
The Museum’s new Beautiful Science Gallery, which allows visitors to explore the seasons, landscapes and skies of Otago using world-leading digital technology, was awarded the Metropolitan Science & Technology Award, while the recently closed Hakui: Women of Kai Tahu exhibition took home the Metropolitan Taonga Maori Award and the Perpetual Guardian Planetarium, the world’s southernmost planetarium, won the Philips Selecon special award.  The judging panel for the awards included University of Auckland’s Dr Michelle Dickinson, New Zealand Portrait Gallery acting director Helen Kedgley, Tauranga City Council’s Cultural Heritage Manager Dean Flavell and Dr Bronwyn Labrum, Head of New Zealand and Pacific Cultures at Te Papa.
Dr Ian Griffin, Otago Museum Director, is thrilled with the Museum’s success at the awards. “I am delighted that we have come away with some of the top awards of the night,” says Griffin. “To be recognised, and congratulated by those within our industry is humbling and is reflective of the hard work and dedication put in by the team in delivering these projects. I couldn’t be more pleased for everyone involved. This really does go to show that we are offering our loyal visitors some of the best museum experiences that New Zealand has to offer”.  Graham Crombie, Otago Museum Trust Board Chairman, is equally pleased by last night’s announcements. “The Otago Museum Trust Board would like to congratulate the staff involved in bringing each of these award-winning projects to life,” says Crombie. “It is extremely rewarding to see these initiatives, which allow our visitors to engage with science, nature and culture in new ways, succeed on a national stage.”
The awards were announced during the inaugural Museums Australasia Conference held in Auckland from 15-19 May.

Aurora Australis: the lights you only see in the Dark

March 8 2016

Watch the spectacular on our southern night skies, the Aurora Australis. TVNZ programme, Story interview Ian Griffin about Dunedin's southern sky in a piece called, Aurora Australis: the lights you only see in the Dark, watch here


Otago Museum celebrate International Women in Science Day

12 February 2016

Otago Museum celebrated the International Day for Women in Science yesterday, read the full article covered by the Otago Daily Times here

UNESCO Celebrates International Day for Women and Girls in Science

11 February 2016
Unesco celebrate an International Day for Women's contribution to and in Science.  See the full article here  For more information on International Women and Girls in Science Day read here

DWC Members Honoured

12 November 2015
 Two Dodd-Walls Centre members were honoured at the Prime Ministers Science Prizes Award Ceremony held at Te Papa and the 2015 Royal Society Research Honours Dinner in Auckland.

Member of the DWC Education Team and Director of the Otago Museum, Dr Ian Griffin was awarded the Prime Minister's Science Media Communication Prize.


In addition, DWC Associate Investigator Professor Richard Blaikie was awarded the Royal Society of New Zealand's Thomson Medal for Science Leadership.


 All in all, a week of wonderful recognition for the outstanding efforts of members of the Centre.


Success for Dodd-Walls Investigators with Marsden Grants securing a total of over $3M in new research funding.

Four Dodd-Walls Centre Investigators were successful in the latest Marsden Grant round.

Dr Jevon Longdell, Physics, University of Otago - $790,000
Remarkable progress has been made towards quantum computing in recent years, and in the future such computers will be able to solve problems considerably quickly than any classical computer.
Quantum computers are unique in that binary numbers are stored in “qubits”, a unit of information that can store not only zeroes and ones but also combinations of both. One of the most promising qubit technologies are based on nanoscopic circuits made with superconducting metals.
However, these “superconducting qubits” currently have two major weaknesses; they are unable to store information for a useful length of time, and they lack a mechanism for long distance communication. In an attempt to resolve these issues qubits have been coupled to other devices, but with minimal success.
Dr Jevon Longdell, from the University of Otago, with world-leading researchers from Japan and Australia, will study crystals doped with rare earth elements, such as europium and erbium, to add long term memory to qubits. The rare earth elements introduce magnetism to the crystal, which will be investigated in various ways to enhance memory, and to allow qubits to communicate with each other over large distances.  This topic is very timely and has high scientific interest given the enormous effort world-wide that is aimed at building a superconducting, qubit-based, quantum computer.
Professor Blair Blakie, Physics, University of Otago - $790,000
A dilute supersolid of polar molecules

A supersolid is an almost mythical phase of matter, existing in a confused state that combines the ubiquitous properties of a solid, with the surreal features of a superfluid. In this project we leverage a recent development in the field of polar molecules to propose a pathway to producing a novel dilute supersolid -- almost a billion times more dilute than an ordinary solid. Our work will provide a comprehensive theory for this exotic system, elucidating its fundamental properties, structure and phase diagram, paving the way for its production in the next generation of experiments.
Dr Frederique Vanholsbeeck, Physics, University of Auckland - $800,000
In Western societies, the two leading causes of blindness are age-related macular degeneration and diabetic retinopathy. Both diseases are associated with thinning of the choroid, a vascular layer at the back of the eye. Early diagnosis of this thinning would be highly beneficial to patients.
Similar to ultrasound, a technique called optical coherence tomography (OCT) is now widely used to provide 3D structural imaging of the eye. But it lacks discrimination in key areas, having a limited imaging range and providing low contrast between different tissue types.
Dr Frederique Vanholsbeeck from the University of Auckland’s Physics Department has received Marsden funding to develop new differentiation tools in OCT, which will greatly improve image contrast. By combining sophisticated data analysis techniques with a new optical laser, Dr Vanholsbeeck’s multinational team will monitor chromatic dispersion and tissue stiffness.  Chromatic dispersion (the wavelength-dependence of light speed) usually blurs the contours in OCT images. But the flexibility of the new analysis techniques will allow clearer and more concise measurements giving information about tissue changes induced by disease. Tissue stiffness is altered by disease, so being able to measure it accurately will improve diagnostic options. The use of these new non-invasive techniques will enable clinicians to look deep into the eye and gain accurate measurements of choroidal thickness. This research will greatly enhance the value of OCT imaging systems in ophthalmology, potentially leading to new therapeutic applications worldwide.
Dr Stuart Murdoch, Physics, University of Auckland - $760,000
Widely-tunable optical microresonator parametric oscillators
We propose a new class of ultra-compact tunable optical source capable of wide-band wavelength tunability. Using an optical microresonator, new optical frequencies can be generated at unprecedentedly low power levels through the nonlinear process of optical parametric oscillation. By harnessing techniques borrowed directly from nonlinear fiber optics, precise control over these new frequencies is possible. Our primary goal is the first experimental demonstration of a widely-tunable microresonator parametric oscillator. Further work will extend the operating range of these oscillators into the visible and critically important mid-IR molecular fingerprint region. Through experiment and theory we will explore the fundamental limits to the performance and tunability of these devices. To demonstrate the competitiveness of these sources in practical applications, trace-level gas detection of methane and carbon-dioxide will be demonstrated using a microresonator oscillator to directly interrogate their strong mid-IR resonances. With on-chip photonic integration of microresonator devices already a reality, this new type of widely tunable coherent light source has the potential to trigger an explosion of new applications in areas where the current day alternatives are simple too big and too expensive.


DWC Associate Investigator Awarded Rutherford Discovery Fellowship

DWC Associate Investigator Awarded Rutherford Discovery Fellowship
Dr Miro Erkintalo

17 September 2015

DWC researcher Dr Miro Erkintalo has received one of twelve Rutherford Discovery Fellowships for 2015, awarded to New Zealand’s most talented early- to mid-career researchers.

The Fellowships foster the development of future research leaders by providing funding of up to $800,000 each over five years to cover salary and research costs. The funding is administered by the Royal Society of New Zealand on behalf of the Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment. The selection decision was informed by an independent panel, following a two stage assessment process.

Dr Erkintalo's research is entitled: “Lighting up New Zealand: Next-generation laser sources for scientific and industrial applications”.

Read more here


Pattern Dynamics in Nonlinear Optical Cavities

Pattern Dynamics in Nonlinear Optical Cavities
DWC members Bernd Krauskopf, Stéphane Coen, Stuart Murdoch, Neil Broderick (L to R) and Joachim Brand (not pictured)

25 September 2015

A Tandem Workshop grant has been awarded by the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems (mpipks) in Dresden to DWC researchers Bernd Krauskopf (UoA Mathematics), Neil Broderick, Stéphane Coen, Stuart Murdoch (UoA Physics) and Joachim Brand (Massey University), and Kathy Lüdge from TU Berlin. The Tandem Workshops "Pattern Dynamics in Nonlinear Optical Cavities" will bring together leading experimentalists, theoretical physicists and applied mathematicians to foster an improved understanding of fundamental processes and phenomena in lasers and more general optical cavities. This in turn is expected to lead to smaller, faster and more energy-efficient optical devices that are capable of generating signals, storing them and even processing them.

The grant provides funding and logistic support from the mpipks (valued at about $70,000) for a kick-off workshop of 80 participants in Dresden in August 2016. It will be followed by a smaller follow-on two-week workshop and seminar to take place in Auckland in June 2017, which will focus on a range of sub-topics identified as the most promising during the Dresden workshop. The Auckland event will be sponsored jointly by the DWC and the New Zealand Institute of Advanced Study. The programmes of the Tandem Workshops will be designed specifically to ensure that they benefit the current generation of PhD students and Postdocs.


Future's bright for Dodd-Walls Centre PhD graduates

Future's bright for Dodd-Walls Centre PhD graduates
Antoine Runge, Xinjie Song and Jae Jang (L to R)

14 September 2015

Columbia University in New York and Southampton University in the UK among next steps for new grads.

For a trio of PhD students completing their physics degrees, there is perhaps no more salubrious a time to graduate than 2015 - the International Year of Light.

Jae Jang (27), Antoine Runge (28) and Xinjie Song (29) have each recently completed their doctoral degrees and will soon be putting their knowledge and research skills of light and optical technologies to work addressing a range of challenges with global impact. Based at the University of Auckland, and affiliated with the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies hosted by the University of Otago, the students have considered numerous opportunities worldwide since completing their four-year programs.

South Korean-born Mr Jang, whose PhD research, supervised by Dr Stephane Coen, focused on temporal cavity solitons, will continue his research as a post-doctoral research scientist at Columbia University, conducting research in the field of Kerr frequency comb generation. “Photonics have literally revolutionized our lives and it will continue to do so for many decades to come,” says Mr Jang, who will be joining Columbia research team in September. “I am definitely excited because Kerr frequency comb generation in microresonators has attracted considerable interest in the scientific community and (the group I will be working with) is one of the world's leading research teams in this aspect.”

Mr Runge, whose research pertains to mode-locked fibre lasers – work which has potential applications in micromachining, bio-medical imaging, and other sectors – will soon be taking up a postdoctoral fellowship at the Optoelectronic Research Centre (ORC) at the University of Southampton in the UK. Originally from France, Mr Runge came to study in New Zealand because he wanted to study overseas and found a good fit in the New Zealand physics community. “The facilities here are very good and the research group is not too big, so there is a strong connection between students and research staff,” says Mr Runge, who hopes to maintain ties and collaborate with his New Zealand colleagues and contacts, including PhD supervisor Dr Neil Broderick and Prof John Harvey, in the future.

Ms Song’s research, meanwhile, supervised by Dr Leonhardt Rainer, addresses the design and fabrication of a polymer electro-optic modulator – a device that converts an electrical signal to an optical signal and is used in broadband communications. “My PhD research is not only about physics, but also covers knowledge of chemistry, materials science and engineering,” says Ms Song who is considering careers in academics and industry in New Zealand, her native China and elsewhere. “My research helped me gain comprehensive knowledge and experience in these areas.”

“The DWC is funded by the Tertiary Education Commission, and its central aim is the development of our graduate students and young researchers,” says Dodd-Walls Centre director Prof David Hutchinson. “We celebrate the success of these three wonderful students, are very proud of their achievements, and look forward to their future impact with keen interest.”

The Dodd-Walls Centre is a world-class collaborative research network building on New Zealand’s strength in the fields of quantum optics, photonics and precision atomic physics. The Centre, which has existed as collaboration between Otago and the University of Auckland since 2008, was designated as one of New Zealand’s 10 Centre of Research Excellence in 2015.



Luminescence Talks

27 September 2015

Find out more about how light works - listen to recent talks from University of Otago researchers, given as part of the International Year of Light.

The Lightbenders: How black holes influence light

Peeking and poking at atoms using laser light

Discovering other worlds



DWC supports NIWA Science Fair, Auckland

DWC supports NIWA Science Fair, Auckland
Winners Michael Hiddleston, Sharon Hung, and Saakshi Hedge (L to R)

21 September 2015

DWC are pleased to support the NIWA Science Fair and congratulations to the Dodd-Walls Centre prize winners. 

  • Michael Hiddleston from St Kentigern Boys’ School for his project entitled “Seeing in the Sea”. This project looked at how ultraviolet light is affected by fish lenses.
  • Sharon Hung from Diocesan School for Girls with her project entitled “Coloured Delights”. This project analysed the thin film interference generated by bubbles.
  • Saakshi Hegde from Mt Roskill Grammar School for her project entitled “Bubbles and Rainbows”. This was also a project which analysed the thin film interference patterns on bubbles and how it’s affected by thickness of the lenses.



Science programme shines light on bright future for kiwi kids

Science programme shines light on bright future for kiwi kids
Associate Professor Cather Simpson

19 September 2015

Illuminating NZ Te Koanga events are taking place over the next week and schools will receieve nearly 5000 special science kits including light-based experiments, brain teasers and a small coded beacon that, when activated, will light up a map of the country on the programme's offcial website. DWC Principal Investigator Cather Simpson is helping to organise the programme which includes events taking place in Museums across NZ.

Read more here


Illuminating NZ – Te Koanga

18 September 2015

Family Science Gala Day - Otago Museum, Dunedin

See the first stars be born in the Let there be light! science show, get hands on with light experiments and take home a 'light-matters' kit as Illuminating NZ – Te Koanga closes with a big bang!

Check out the latest light-based technologies and hear from some of the University of Otago's brightest researchers at this celebration of UNESCO's International Year of Light. 

Suitable for all ages. See the full schedule   From 11.30am–5pm, Sunday 27 September in Atrium Level 1 and Barclay Theatre, Otago Museum.


Unlocking Curious Minds Grants Awarded to DWC Members

13 June 2015


Associate Professor Cather Simpson from the Department of Physics and School of Chemical Sciences, University of Auckland and Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies has been awarded $134,464 as part of the government’s Unlocking Curious Minds Contestable fund, announced by Science and Innovation Minister Steven Joyce on Thursday 28 May 2015.

Cather’s project entitled Illuminating New Zealand, celebrates 2015 as the International Year of Light and Light-based Technologies in New Zealand. Cather and her colleagues will bring New Zealand’s museums and its top photonics researchers together to increase New Zealanders understanding of how phototonics – the science and technology of light – is revolutionizing our future.  “The 21st century is shaping up to be the age of the science and technology of light, much in the same way that electronics transformed our lives in the 20th century," says Cather.

Two major gala events are planned to be held in museums across New Zealand at Matariki and the Vernal Equinox – important cultural celebrations of light.  These will feature demonstrations by New Zealand’s leading researchers, hands-on science experiments for children and their families, and engaging talks by top science teachers and communicators.

'Light Matters' kits with photonics experiments will be distributed for curious minds to investigate the science and technology of light in their homes and schools. These will be linked to an interactive website where the children can enter photos and their data, give feedback, discuss their Light Matters experiments together and find instructions for refilling their kits to keep exploring!

 “For Kiwi’s to lead in the photonics future, we must actively engage, impassion and train the children who are now in our primary and intermediate schools,” says Cather, co-Chair of the New Zealand National Committee for the UNESCO International Year of Light.  “We must also inform and inspire their parents and teachers about the importance of photonics innovations and the value of science and technology as a possible career path for all.”

The project is supported by the University of Auckland, the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies and museums across New Zealand, particularly the Otago Museum in Dunedin.  Professor David Hutchinson, Director to the Dodd-Walls Centre and a member of the NZ - International Year of Light team is an Associate Investigator of the project.  Dodd-Walls staff and students will be involved in doing demos at museums, developing "light matters" kits, and interacting with kids and parents.


Dr Frederique Vanholsbeeck

Dr Frederique Vanholsbeeck from the Department of Physics, University of Auckland and Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies has been awarded $20,000 as part of a partnership between the physics department at the University of Auckland, Auckland Live and the Auckland University of Technology. The partners will produce an "interactive playground" incorporating interactive digital technologies installed for a three week period in Auckland's Aotea Square during the Summer in the Square festival in December 2015. This will be supplemented by an education programme, linked to the installation, tailored for preschool, primary, secondary and tertiary students. It will also create public workshops and events led by students and expert mentors to attract community groups that have a low level of participation and understanding of science.  This project is also supported by the Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies.


Otago collaborates in breakthrough for quantum hard drive

Otago collaborates in breakthrough for quantum hard drive
Dr Jevon Longdell

9 January 2015

A team of Australian and New Zealand physicists have extended the storage time for a prototype quantum super-computer optical hard drive by over one hundred times. Dr Longdell of the Dodd-Walls Centre, University of Otago, says that in the future scientists hope there will be quantum or super-fast computers that can solve difficult problems which current computers cannot solve. “Our long term storage of quantum states would be helpful to achieve this,” he says. The team is also excited about the fundamental tests of quantum mechanics that a quantum optical hard drive will enable.

Read more

TVNZ News Item

Journal Article


Laser goes skin deep for 3D picture

Read more


23 November 2015

NZ Association of Scientists Research Medal for 2015 - Associate Professor Stephane Coen

The Research Medal is awarded for outstanding fundamental or applied research in the physical, natural or social sciences published by a scientist under the age of 40, during the year of the award or the preceding three calendar years. This year’s medal is awarded to Associate Professor Stéphane Coen of the Physics Department at University of Auckland. Stéphane undertakes fundamental and applied studies of nonlinear optical phenomena in optical fibres with the aim to develop new light sources and new all-optical devices. In particular, he is researching temporal cavity solitons – pulses of laser light that can be maintained indefinitely around a closed loop – which has revealed fascinating physics for seemingly simple objects, and could also lead to revolutionary applications in fields ranging from telecommunications to ultra-accurate clocks. Stéphane’s first observation of these solitons, 30 years after their prediction, led to a landmark publication and subsequent research confirmed temporal cavity solitons as one of the few new fundamental concepts in nonlinear optics in recent years.

Raman Spectroscopy Identifies Scrimshaw Collaboration between the Otago Museum and DWC Investigators to identify Sperm Whale Tooth

Collaboration between Otago Museum and DWC Investigators to identify Sperm Whale Tooth


Dodd-Walls Centre to become a Centre of Research Excellence

Dodd-Walls Centre to become a Centre of Research Excellence
Professor Harlene Hayne (UoO Vice Chancellor), Professor David Hutchinson (DWC Director), and Professor Richard Blaikie (UoO Deputy Vice Chancellor, Research and Enterprise)

8 May 2014

The Tertiary Education Commission has announced that the Dodd Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies, led by Director Associate Professor David Hutchinson (University of Otago) and Deputy Director Associate Professor Neil Broderick (University of Auckland), will become a new national Centre of Research Excellence.

The award of the Centre of Research Excellence will provide funding and resources to allow researchers from five Universities to collaborate and focus their efforts on the exciting fundamental questions of quantum physics and photonics, and on technological spinoffs. The Dodd Walls Centre was established seven years ago, as a joint venture between the Jack Dodd Centre at the University of Otago and the Dan Walls Centre at the University of Auckland, and expanded recently to include members from Canterbury, Massey and Victoria Universities.

TEC press release


MQS2016: Matariki Workshop on Quantum Science, 19-23 March, 2016

Matariki Workshop


The Night's Watch

DWC Education Team member, Ian Griffin talks to TVNZ Sunday about the importance and beauty of our nights sky, Watch the full interview on our news and events page