Chris Perrella

Dr Chris Perrella

University Postdoctoral Fellow

School of Physical Sciences

Faculty of Sciences

Eligible to supervise Masters and PhD - email supervisor to discuss availability.


My research aims to push the limits of precision measurement for both fundamental and applied research by exploiting high-resolution atomic spectroscopy, implementation of new experimental techniques, and a detailed understanding of light-atom interactions. Liaising with industry and defence has made my research have real-world impact through development of measurement devices for use outside the laboratory. I have supervised the development of a number of experiments: compact high-stability optical clock, an optical magnetometer, and high-resolution molecular spectroscopy, and atomic spectroscopy within hollow core fibre using both warm and laser cooled atomic vapours.

I was awarded my PhD almost in 2014 from the University of Western Australia. After submission of my thesis, I accepted a University Research Associate position at the University of Adelaide within the Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS).

Please see my research group's website.

Current projects include:

  • Compact High-Stability Optical Clock: We have developed an optical clock based on a two-photon transition within rubidium which is performing at the same level as the best commercially available frequency standard (the Hydrogen maser), while being 10-fold smaller and lighter. This is possible through a new laser interrogation scheme that we have pioneered using two different colour photons to excite the two-photon transition, leading to an increase excitation efficiency of a million-fold. This technology is breaking the nexus between size, weight and performance of optical clocks.
  • Optical Magnetometry: We are developing two optical magnetometers for defence and industry applications. We developed a novel measurement scheme using an electro-optic frequency comb which we used to simultaneously observe for the first time the Larmor precession of rubidium atoms in both the temporal and spectral domains. This allowed the first direct estimate of the relative density of polarized atoms in the vapor cell, as well as a measurement of the quality of the antirelaxation coating on the cell walls. We have pioneered techniques to greatly increase the bandwidth of DC atomic magnetometers broadening their practical applications.
  • High-Resolution Molecular Spectroscopy: We have been developing a trace gas spectrometer based on a laser frequency comb light source and high precision absorption measurement. We use novel techniques to measure the absorption of different comb modes using a Virtually Imaged Phase Array (VIPA) spectrometer which has demonstrated a measurement accuracy of 1% and a precision of 0.04% and analysis cycle of less than 1s for measurement of the number density of Carbon Dioxide. We demonstrated for the first time, precision measurement of 12C16O2 and 13C16O2, at 0.03% and 1.24% respectively. This measurement technique is also verified to be highly linear for concentrations ranging over three orders of magnitude. We are now using this novel technique and applying it to biological samples, such as Carbon Dioxide produced from yeast, leading up to measurements of biomarkers in exhaled breath for medical diagnostic applications.
  • Non-Linear Spectroscopy: I was the first to show strong light-light interactions within large-diameter hollow-core fibre, achieved through exciting a two-photon atomic transition of the atoms. To measure this effect, I developed a novel measurement technique that efficiently removed deleterious background signals that would otherwise obscure the measurements. I presented detailed characterisation of this interaction showing the efficiency of the interaction and the limits of operation. Such an investigation of operational conditions had not been presented before. This knowledge of non-linear atomic transitions was also applied to generation of metastable krypton (Kr) in the long-lived 1s5 state using two-photon laser excitation at 215nm in which a production efficiency of > 1% per laser pulse was demonstrated. This work yielded the only experimental measurement of the ground 2p6 cross section in Kr.
  • Detailed understanding of fibre effects on atomic spectroscopy: The confined geometry of a hollow-core fibre generates deleterious broadening mechanisms on the atomic transitions, thus reducing the effective strength of the desirable light-light interactions. I was the first to present high-resolution spectroscopy of broadened spectra and theoretical modelling explaining its origin in multiple hollow-core fibres. These broadening processes were further explored in the extreme case of excitation within evanescent fields from novel micro-structured fibre developed at IPAS, named Exposed Core Fibres. I presented for the first time detailed experimental measurement of the effect of transit-time broadening supported by theoretical modelling in this extreme situation.

Over the last 6 years, this now means that he has had 21 awarded grant applications worth $3.0M, with $757k as Lead Investigator and $2.2M as Co-Investigator.

Date Project Investigators Funding Body Amount

2020 – 2021

Demonstration of a Two-Photon Atomic Clock with Light Shift Suppression using Two-Colour Magic Wavelengths

C. Perrella, A.N. Luiten, S. Scholten, J. Ginges

Asian Office of Aerospace R&D, Air Force Office of Scientific Research

$131,081 

2020 – 2023

Prototyping a Low-Noise Scalar Magnetometer

R. Li, C. Perrella, A.N. Luiten

CSIRO - Science & Industry Endowment Fund, STEM+ Business Research Fellowship

$590,987

2020 – 2023

BreathELISA: Breath analysis for detection of disease

A.N. Luiten, C. Perrella, J. Verjans, R. Yazbek

Asian Office of Aerospace R&D, Air Force Office of Scientific Research

$102,324 

2019

Development of a low-noise scalar magnetometer

C. Perrella, R. Li

University Research Contract

$83,100

2019 – 2020  

Demonstrating a Magic Interrogation Approach for a Two-Photon Atomic Clock

A.N. Luiten, C. Perrella

Asian Office of Aerospace R&D, Air Force Office of Scientific Research

$138,187

2019 – 2021

Packaging a Quantum Magnetometer Array for Anti-Submarine Warfare

A.N. Luiten, C. Perrella, P. Light

Defence Science and Technology Group – NGTF - Quantum Technologies

$455,925

2019 – 2020

Quantum Simulations with Stationary Light in Hollow Fibres

B. Sparkes, A.N. Luiten, C. Perrella, P. Light, J. Hedger, P. Windpassinger, P. Islam, W. Li

Australia-Germany Joint Research Co-operation Scheme

$22,480

2019

Development of a low-noise magnetometer

A.N. Luiten, C. Perrella

Innovation Connections - Department of Industry, Innovation and Science

$100,000

2018

High-performance optical clock for next-generation precision timing

C. Perrella

Bridging Grant - Global Connections Fund

$50,000

2018

Advanced Fibre Optic Magnetometer for Anti-Submarine Warfare

A.N. Luiten, P. Light, C. Perrella

Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group

$100,000

2017

High-performance optical clock for next-generation precision timing

C. Perrella

Priming Grant - The Global Connections Fund

$7,000

2017

High-Performance Optical Clock for Local Time References and UAV applications

C. Perrella

Competitive Evaluation Research Agreement (CERA) - Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group's 

$100,000

2016

Advanced Fibre Optic Magnetometer for Anti-Submarine Warfare

A.N. Luiten, P. Light, C. Perrella

Defence Science and Technology (DST) Group

$100,000

2015

Demonstrating Spatially Resolved Corrosion Detection

C. Perrella, P. Light, R. Kostecki

IPAS Pilot Project - The Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS)

$13,350

2014

UV-guiding silica hollow-core fibre for biological sensing

P. Light, C. Perrella

IPAS Pilot Project - The Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS)

$15,000

2014

Micro-Machining Exposed Core Fibre: Taking Sensing to the Next Level

C. Perrella, C. Ironside, P. Light

IPAS Pilot Project - The Institute for Photonics and Advanced Sensing (IPAS)

$17,000

2013

High-Performance Portable Optical Clock

C. Perrella

Commercial Accelerator Scheme – Adelaide Research & Innovation

$100,000

2013

High-Performance Portable Optical Clock

C. Perrella

Dennis Harwood Grant – IPAS

$25,000

 

I am passionate about communicating the fun and excitement of science to the next generation of scientists. I strive to provide students with the best possible educational experience and outcome.

Recent teaching:

  • 2nd Year – Physics IIB – Optics (2020)
  • 3rd Year – Optics and Photonics III (2019 – 2020)
  • Honours Year – Non-Linear Optics (2020)
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  • Current Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 Principal Supervisor Quantum Magnetometry Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Part Time Miss Anna Louise Lykke
    2020 Principal Supervisor Using an Optical Frequency Comb to Perform Gas Spectroscopy Master of Philosophy Master Full Time Mr Joshua Whitaker-Lockwood
    2018 Co-Supervisor Quantum Optics in Hollow-Core Fibres Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Jed Anthony Rowland
    2017 Co-Supervisor Laser Analysis / Spectroscopic Measurements of Natural Gas Mixtures Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Mr Faisal Karim
  • Past Higher Degree by Research Supervision (University of Adelaide)

    Date Role Research Topic Program Degree Type Student Load Student Name
    2016 - 2019 Co-Supervisor High-Resolution Molecular Spectroscopy with an Optical Frequency Comb Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Sarah Katherine Scholten
    2015 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Nonlinear Magneto-Optical Rotation in Rubidium Vapour Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Nathanial Morgan Wilson
    2015 - 2020 Co-Supervisor Cold-Atom Loading of Hollow-Core Photonic Crystal Fibre for Quantum Technologies Doctor of Philosophy Doctorate Full Time Dr Ashby Hilton
  • Other Supervision Activities

    Date Role Research Topic Location Program Supervision Type Student Load Student Name
    2020 - 2020 Principal Supervisor High Bandwidth Optical Magnetometry University of Adelaide Physics Honours Full Time Kyle Netz
    2019 - 2019 Principal Supervisor Building and Characterising a Miniaturised Optical Magnetometer Sensor Head University of Adelaide Physics Honours Full Time Anna Louise Lykke
    2018 - 2018 Principal Supervisor Compact Two-Photon Rubidium Clock University of Adelaide Physics Honours Part Time Ben White
    2018 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Acquisition and Tracking using Dual Risley Prism Beam Steering University of Adelaide Mechanical Engineering Honours Full Time Jayden Inglis
    2018 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Acquisition and Tracking using Dual Risley Prism Beam Steering University of Adelaide Mechanical Engineering Honours Full Time Luke Heffernan
    2018 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Acquisition and Tracking using Dual Risley Prism Beam Steering University of Adelaide Mechanical Engineering Honours Full Time Zachary Holmes
    2018 - 2018 Co-Supervisor Acquisition and Tracking using Dual Risley Prism Beam Steering University of Adelaide Mechanical Engineering Honours Full Time Nathaniel Shearer
    2017 - 2017 Principal Supervisor Quantum Memories in Rubidium Filled Hollow-Core Photonic Crystal Fibre University of Adelaide Physics Honours Full Time Jed Rowland
    2016 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Determining Natural Gas Composition Using Frequency Comb Spectroscopy University of Adelaide Petroleum Engineering Honours Full Time Shayan Afshar
    2016 - 2016 Co-Supervisor Determining Natural Gas Composition Using Frequency Comb Spectroscopy University of Adelaide Petroleum Engineering Honours Full Time Gianraffaele Moffa
    2014 - 2014 Principal Supervisor Rubidium spectroscopy with exposed core fibre University of Adelaide Physics Honours Full Time Hannes Griesser
  • Position: University Postdoctoral Fellow
  • Phone: 83132323
  • Email: chris.perrella@adelaide.edu.au
  • Fax: 8313 4380
  • Campus: North Terrace
  • Building: The Braggs, floor 1
  • Room: 1 82
  • Org Unit: Physics

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