Associate Professor Gabriel Molina-Terriza is an Australian Research Council Future Fellow. At Macquarie University, he is the group leader of QIRON (Quantum Interactions with Nanoparticles). His research focusses on the spatial properties of light and uses the spatial modes of light as a tool to probe the properties of nanostructures.

Major funding support
  • ARC Future Fellowship - $768,000
  • ARC Discovery Project - $320,000
Mentoring and research training

In his group, a team of six PhD students and two postdocs are exploiting engineered quantum states of light to better understand the interaction of light and matter at the nanosacale. Experimentally combining the techniques of quantum optics and the new methods available in nanophotoics allows for the design of innovative biosensing capabilities and new measuring techniques. If you are interested in working or studying with Associate Professor Molina-Terriza, please contact him.

Research Facilities: 
Plasmonics and nanooptics

Grand challenge: Realise new and otherwise inaccessible regimes of physics through the construction of hybrid quantum systems.

One of our most ambitious projects within the Centre is the achievement of Quantum Control of metallic nanostructures, such as spheres, holes in metallic surfaces, nanorods, etc. These kinds of structures are becoming more and more important for technology, and they are now being used in sensing applications, as optical transducers, etc. One key property that enables all this range of technologies is that these structures can present localized plasmon resonances. These resonances appear at optical frequencies and happen when the collective oscillations of the electrons in the metallic structure resonate with the driving optical field. One of our aims is to achieve an unprecedented control on the state of those electrons and their resonances, reaching the quantum limit.

In 2014, we published our experimental results in two Nature Publishing Group journals: Nature Communications and Light, Science and Applications.

Nanodiamond levitation

This project combines the expertise of CI Volz’s group on manipulating NV centres in nanodiamonds and cold-atom trapping with the expertise in Molina-Terriza’s group on the trapping and levitation of nanoparticles in order to study the influence of embedded “artificial atoms” on the motion of the crystal as a whole for near-resonant trapping lasers. The ultimate goal is twofold: on the one hand, we want to design novel optical tweezers with enhanced optical forces for manipulating ultrasmall nanodiamonds in liquid, and on the other hand, we want to exploit the optical forces from the NV centres to cool the centre-of-mass motion of a levitated nanodiamond as a whole.

Nanoparticles for sensing and bio imaging 

Grand challenge: Realise sub-cellular in vivo imaging in real time with microsecond time-resolution using biocompatible nanoparticles. 

Grand challenge: Use quantum mechanical coherence to produce enhanced sensing technologies with unrivaled performance. 

The group at Macquarie University has already demonstrated a method that can be used to accurately determine the position of nanoparticles. This will increase the sensitivity on the detection and imaging of nanoparticles such as the ones being developed at Sydney University. This method is based on exploiting the geometrical properties of such systems and the interactions of light and the nanoparticles. In collaboration with CI Brennen, we have extended this kind of measurement into a more general framework, which could be used for general metrology systems and to quantum measurements. 

As an extension of this project, the group led by CI Molina-Terriza has modified the position sensing technique to detect the presence of the bonding of a single molecule to a nanostructure. We are using functionalized gold nanospheres which are capable to adsorb selected kinds of biomolecules. The sensitivity of our measuring system is such that we expect to be able to detect the adhesion of a single biomolecule to the nano-sphere.

Current Supervision


Doctor Philosophy - Principal Advisor


Doctor Philosophy - Principal Advisor


Doctor Philosophy - Principal Advisor


Doctor Philosophy - Principal Advisor

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Major funding support

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