RESEARCH INTERESTS OF THE CENTRE FOR WAVES AND COMPLEX SYSTEMS
The research interests of this Centre span a wide range: understanding of brain dynamics, development of photonic crystals, study of bursty waves in space are a few of them. The primary descriptions are available at the web pages of the Complex Systems group, School of Physics.
The brain produces electrical signals while it works. Interpreting how they relate to behavior, and how they are generated by the networks of neurons in the brain are central issues in understanding brain function. A group engaged in the study of brain dynamics have developed a physiologically-based model of the propagation of electrical activity in the brain. The EEG model has been successfully applied to explain the detailed structure of normal EEG data in the relaxed and waking states, and excellent agreement has been found with independent physiological measures. To view papers written on this subject click here.
The waves observed in the so-called space plasmas are invariably bursty, with widely varying amplitudes that are typically (but not always) small compared with those at which nonlinear couplings between waves are expected to be significant. In addition, the unstable particle distributions driving these bursty waves tend to persist for much greater distances and times than predicted by standard plasma theory. To handle this problem a relatively new theory called Stochastic growth theory (SGT) has been developed by members of this Center. They have applied SGT in detail to two longstanding problems in space physics, type III solar radio bursts and plasma waves in the Earth's foreshock. Very good agreement with SGT has been obtained (Fig) thus far and efforts are onging to determine how widely applicable SGT is to wave growth in space plasmas.
A group is dedicated to working on problems related to a new kind of material, photonic crystals (also known as photonic band-gap materials). Photonic crystals are periodic dielectric structures that have a band gap that forbids propagation of a certain frequency range of light. This property enables one to control light with amazing facility and produce effects that are impossible with conventional optics. Much of the research however is directed at achieving a higher level of understanding of effects of disorder on photonic crystal properties.
Interests in optics include:
- Optical fibres and photonic devices
- Photonic crystals and other microstructured media
- Frequency Generation
- General Wave Theory including elastic and acoustic wave propagation
Work on plasma theory includes:
- Linear and Nonlinear wave theory
- Space physics
Other areas of interests are:
- Quantum optics
- Brain Dynamics and Computational Neuroscience
Individuals within the Centre have ongoing collaborations with others in the School, and with other local research groups, notably the Australian Photonics Cooperative Research Centre, the Brain Research Company (BRC), and Westmead Hospital. Individuals are also involved in a large number of Collaborations with international colleagues.