Research Programs

Fabrication of 3-D, Wavelength-Tuneable Photonic Crystals for Space-based mm-Wave, Terahertz, and Infrared Communications

Dynamic Payloads – RF & Spectral

Tuneable Photonic Crystals for the millimeter-wave, Terahertz, and Infrared regimes have important applications for satellite communications and remote sensing.

In this application, we are proposing the fabrication of a novel metamaterial for frequency-tuneable, photonic-crystal (PhC) bandpass filters in the 0.03-30 THz region; this corresponds to wavelengths in the 10 mm to 10 𝜇𝑚 regime–which encompass mm-wave, terahertz, and far- to mid-infrared communications. As the photonic crystal filters are dynamically tuneable, they will be used to modulate carrier waves in the 0.03-30 THz frequency band, e.g. to generate FM or AM modulated signals. These wavelengths are especially useful in space, as they can be used for communications between satellites and/or high-altitude balloons. The PhC filters can also be used to “tune into” specific frequencies which are amplified, as occurs in an RF receiver. Finally, where transmitters and receivers are modulated synchronously, the encoded information can be sent securely between satellites & balloons at useful rates.

The research fits best within the SmartSat “Dynamic Payloads for Communications and Earth Observations” and will provide SmartSat CRC with a key technological edge.


Project Leader:
Professor James Maxwell, La Trobe University


Spectrum Monitoring: Identifying Australia’s Needs and Opportunities

Cognitive Networks

The aim of this project is to identify areas of growth in satellite spectrum monitoring. It will provide advice on what technology capabilities can be developed within Australia and assess the market potential. The main outcome will be a report describing: potential users, the user requirements and a plan to meet those requirements.

The final report will also quantify the expected social and economic benefit to Australia of developing a sovereign space-based spectrum monitoring system.

The report will include a survey of relevant technologies that either already exist or can be developed in Australia. By matching the user requirements with available technologies, the report will provide advice on what research areas need to be focused on.


Project Leader:
Professor Sam Drake, Flinders University


Using Blockchain and DRBs to Orchestrate an IoT Network

Secure IoT

In space communications, authentication plays an important role as a security technique that verifies and validates satellite identity. Single authentication can be weak and compromised. This project will investigate a novel two-layered multifactor authentication (2L-MFA) accompanied by a decentralized blockchain-based Satellite and IoT environment. The first-level authentication is for IoT devices and considers the secret key, geographical location, and the physically unclonable function (PUF). For lightweight and low latency support, proof-of authentication (PoAh) and elliptic curve Diffie-Hellman are used. Second-level authentication is for Satellite users and is subcategorized into four factor levels, namely identity, password, and the Nonce code (Blockchain). Matrix-based password enrolment in level 1, Elliptic Curve Digital Signature (ECDSA) in level 2, ensure Satellite-level authentication. Fuzzy logic will be deployed to validate the authentication and make the system stronger. The proposed 2L-MFA is evaluated in terms of registration time, login time, authentication time and authentication success rate.


Project Leader:
Professor Naveen Chilamkurti, La Trobe University

PhD Student:
Zachary Auhl, La Trobe University