Professor Michael Tobar is a leading researcher in precision and quantum limited measurement and testing fundamental physics, which has been recognised by many awards both internationally and nationally as well as many invited talks at international conferences. He has many international collaborations, including current joint projects with Humboldt University Berlin, UC Berkeley, NIST Bolder, Saarland University, Warsaw University of Technology, FEMTO-ST Besancon, Paris Observatory France, Huazhong University of Science and Technology Wuhan, Washington University Seattle, XLIM Limoges France, with publications or presentations with all these groups in the last two years. Professor Tobar is the focal point of international space missions involving the highest precision clocks in space. He was appointed as the only non-European Science Coordinator of the European Space Agency's (ESA) Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space (ACES) mission on board the International Space Station (ISS).

Major funding support

Professor Tobar has had 65 peer-reviewed, collaborative,  research and commercialisation grants—from sources in Australia, Europe & Japan—with total career funding for fellowships and laboratory of $20 million.

Mentoring and research training

Professor Tobar has completed 60 supervisions, including PhD, Masters, Honours, Advanced Undergraduate and Vacation students. He is currently supervising seven PhD students and one honours student and mentoring 24 Postdoctoral Researchers. Professor Tobar has published widely with his students, early career researchers and his PhD students, with two winning the NMI prize from the National Measurement Institute. His mentoring has led to his students to publish in Physical Review Letters and receive academic jobs at a range of institutions, including Harvard, National Institute of Standards and Technology Bolder Colorado and Paris Observatory. If you are interested in working or studying with Professor Tobar, please contact him.

PhD, University of Western Australia, Australia (1993)
BSc (Hons), Monash University, Australia (1987)
BEng (Hons), Monash University, Australia (1987)
Coupling superconducting devices to sapphire resonators

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

An important goal of the UWA team is to develop a microwave optomechanical capability, using microwave cavity QED coupling of a Qubit with a high-Q resonator that will become a phonon counting readout to measure the ground state and a variety of Fock states of a mechanical oscillator. The UWA team will continue to work collaboratively with experts on qubits and will work towards achieving these goals in 2015.

Addressing spins in diamond with macroscopic microwave cavities

Grand challenge: Use nanoscale diamonds as ultra-sensitive probes of magnetic fields in industrial and biological environments.

This project is a joint effort between the groups of Dr Thomas Volz at Macquarie University Sydney and Professor Michael Tobar at the University of Western Australia. The project is geared towards a new method for addressing and manipulating solid-state spins using macroscopic microwave cavities both at liquid-helium and room temperature. Conventional methods for addressing diamond spins rely on on-chip solutions with the potential of generating too much dissipated heat, leading to drifts and undesirable heating of the sample to be investigated. The new approach is contactless and intrinsically requires much less drive power since the cavity provides a local enhancement of the circulated microwave power (approximately by the cavity Q-factor).

Hybrid high-Q oscillators / resonators

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

At The University of Western Australia, CI Michael Tobar leads a team seeking to engineer new high-Q mechanical and electrical systems based on low-loss crystalline materials and low temperature superconductors. Our efforts are broadly classed as relating to (i) quantum-limited cooling of mechanical systems for precision metrology and (ii) controlling impurity spin states in high-Q microwave resonators. We are investigating known high-Q acoustic and electrical materials such as Sapphire, Niobium and Quartz. Our investigations are targeting systems with the potential for efficient cooling to the
quantum mechanical ground state of motion. In 2014, we made further progress towards our investigation of dilute paramagnetic systems in low-loss crystals. 

Current Supervision

Doctor Philosophy - Principal Advisor

Doctor Philosophy - Principal Advisor

Doctor Philosophy - Principal Advisor

Doctor Philosophy - Principal Advisor

Honours project - Principal Advisor

Completed Supervision

Doctor Philosophy - Principal Advisor

W.G. Cady Award by the IEEE Society of Frequency Control


Clunies-Ross Award by the Australian Academy of Science and Technology and Engineering


Walsh Medal for significant contributions to industrial science by the Australian Institute of Physics


Australian Teaching and Learning Citation Award by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council


WA Scientist of the year, presented by the WA Department of Commerce


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Major funding support

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