TMOS PhD student Shaban Sulejman awarded the prestigious SPIE Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship

Shaban Sulejman has been awarded a 2023 Optics and Photonics Education Scholarship by SPIE, the international society for optics and photonics, for his potential contributions to the field of optics, photonics, or related field.

Sulejman is a PhD student with the University of Melbourne team of TMOS, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems. He is contributing to research that furthers the development of metasurfaces for use in remote medical diagnostics. Specifically, his PhD project investigates the design and application of nanotechnology to detect transparent biological samples, such as diseases and cancer cells. He has developed methods that can also determine the sizes and material composition of the samples directly from the images obtained with the devices. 

Sulejman says, “This research is significant because transparent biological samples often require complicated detection methods, such as the use of chemicals or expensive equipment that are only available in certain laboratories. On the other hand, these devices have the potential to be integrated into smart phones to provide medical-grade images at an instant, which could significantly increase the accessibility of biomedical tests for low socio-economic communities”.

Sulejman is supervised by Chief Investigators Ann Roberts, Kenneth Crozier and Andrey Sukhorukov as well as Research Fellow Lukas Wesemann. Roberts says “I am delighted to see Shaban’s work recognized by a global optics organisation. He has an enormous amount of potential and his contributions to the team’s research are significant. I look forward to seeing the results of his talent and hard work come to fruition.”

Sulejman’s path to research began in a regional town in Victoria, where opportunities to explore science research careers were thin, as were real-life examples of scientists. It was through scholarships such as this one that he was able to move to study in Melbourne while still maintaining the commitments he had to his family and the community in Shepparton. Sulejman says, “Coming from a regional town and having faced difficult circumstances, this scholarship has a significant impact on my professional and personal life.”

Keen to give back, Sulejman has been a leading figure in the Centre’s Outreach Program developing optics workshops for schools and libraries, which he has delivered 11 times in the past year, including in his hometown. “Outreach is important to me as I know first-hand the impact that difficult circumstances can have on people, which can make the pursuit of goals and dreams seemingly unachievable. The awareness and support offered through outreach can have an ever-lasting effect on people who may have never had the opportunity otherwise”.

In 2023, the Society is awarding $293,000 in education scholarships to 72 outstanding SPIE Student Members, based on their potential contribution to optics and photonics, or a related discipline. Award-winning applicants were evaluated, selected, and approved by the SPIE Scholarship Committee, chaired by SPIE Senior Member Brian Primeau.

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About the author/s

Samara Thorn

As the Engagement Manager at TMOS, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Transformative Meta-Optical Systems, my role is to help researchers communicate their science and help businesses understand how the new field of meta-optics will transform their industry and where future opportunities for growth li ... more

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