Department of Physics

Meet our students

Our students have different research interests and follow varied and exciting career paths after graduation. Meet some of our current students and graduates and find out their hopes for the future.

Noelle Balbas: BTech specialising in Medical Physics and Imaging Technology

Noelle Balbas conducting an experiment

"One of the things I love about my degree is the way it bridges the gap between technology and biology. It's particularly useful as developments are leading to more technological processes in medicine.

I'm intending to complete a Masters Degree in medical Physics to qualify to become a hospital physicist. Currently I am involved in a project involving optimisation of dye and mounting properties and their effects on the rate of reversible photobleaching in localisation microscopy.

The University of Auckland is an enjoyable place to study. The lecturers are approachable and friendly, while at the same time, circumstances allow for independence which serves as a learning experience once I join the work force."

Arif Ullah: PhD Physics (pursuing), MPhil Physics, BSc Physics

Alif Ullah conducting an experiement

"During my undergraduate studies, I was fascinated with the beauty of quantum mechanics and the way it explains how the world works at the atomic level. I therefore decided to choose ultra cold atoms research as a career, which provides the opportunity to study the microscopic world using the laws of quantum mechanics.

After completing my Master of Philosophy (M.Phil) in Physics from Quaid-I-Azam University, Islamabad, I joined the research group of ultra cold atoms headed by Dr Maarten Hoogerland at The University of Auckland Department of Physics. Particularly for my PhD studies, I choose this place because of the quality of research and the great facilities they have in various research groups.

The field of quantum gases or ultra cold atoms is one of the fastest expanding and interdisciplinary fields in physics today. At extremely low temperature, bosons (particles with integer spin) can all pile together in a single quantum state of ultra cold atoms known as Bose Einstein Condensate (BEC). The beauty about this condensate is that the quantum effects are hugely magnified and we can do experiments with ease."

Sairam Iyer: PhD Physics (pursuing), MSc Physics, BTech Optoelectronics

Sairam Iyer conducting an experiment

"I have always asked questions underlying how the physical world around us functions. This curiosity coupled with a passion for optics shaped my research interest towards the field of photonics and encouraged my decision to continue postgraduate studies in experimental laser physics.

I completed an MSc in nonlinear fiber optics, where I got to study the dynamics of certain energy exchanges occurring at various frequencies in optical fibers. This was exciting, but I couldn’t answer the question, “what would it be used for?”

Applied research began to interest me more as I wanted to see the light at the end of the tunnel, that is, where my work would ultimately be useful. I opted to do a PhD in the field of biophotonics, where we use lasers and optics to solve biological problems. My PhD involves building an imaging system known as optical coherence tomography, which uses light to image microscopic biological tissues, non-invasively. Utilizing my strong background in fiber optics we set about trying to make an all-fiber system that would be compact, portable and cost-effective.

By pursuing research, I have gained a sound knowledge of photonics theory with a broad set of experimental skills. It has also provided the opportunity to share my scientific research with the wider community. Further, it has given me the opportunity to travel to Australia, Europe, America, several times over, which has been a real bonus. Overall, it has been a great experience."

Anna Yang: MSc Physics (pursuing), BTech Medical Physics and Imaging Technology

Anna Yang steering a boat

I have found physics the most mesmerising of all interests. It intimately relates the fundamental principles of the universe to the everyday technology we use.

I was excited to discover the Department of Physics is coordinating the multidisciplinary Medical Physics and Imaging Technology programme for the Bachelor of Technology. Research has made me realize there were other ways of “seeing”. When I considered the direct impact on human health this has, the decision was made pretty easily.

Intellectual stimulation and cross -pollination from various disciplines changed my way of thinking.

I appreciate the support from the physics department and awesome friends I’ve made here. It was a rewarding experience.

I am continuing pursuing my studies in optical coherence tomography, an emerging biomedical imaging technique. I am also a tutor/mentor in the Tuākana program.