The first two things that people think of when they hear the word ‘hologram’ are usually 1) Princess Leia, and 2) shiny stickers. But did you know that we can take holograms of things under the microscope? That means things like bacteria, red blood cells, and other tiny wonders can all be captured in holographic form.

What Students will do

This project will teach students how to use HoloPy, a Python-based package, to calculate holograms and analyse holograms. We will then apply this knowledge to answer questions such as how to identify the different components of complex fluids such as spit. This can help pave the way towards using holographic microscopy for diagnostics.


  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Biology

Areas of Student Interest

  • Imaging
  • Holograms
  • Optics and light
  • Diagnostics
  • Coding

Lead Academic: Dr Anna Wang - Scientia Lecturer, School of Chemistry 

Anna Wang

Anna is from Sydney and did her Bachelor of Science at the Univeristy of Sydney (2009), doing Honours research in optics and photonics with Dr. Maryanne Large. Her interest in how objects interact with light led to a PhD in Applied Physics at Harvard University (2016) with Prof. Vinothan N. Manoharan, using digital holographic microscopy - a fast, three-dimensional microscopy technique - to study the dynamics of colloidal systems including particles near oil-water interfaces, and swimming E.coli. During her PhD she was also fortunate enough to be involved with the Science and Cooking class and EdX program. Her PhD inspired a love for microscopy, and an appreciation of how thermal fluctuations and motion at the microscale can lead to self-assembled macroscopic structures. One system that captured her attention was how simple amphiphilic molecules self-assemble into cell membranes. To explore questions pertaining to membrane self-assembly during the origins of life (and the potential for cell-based life elsewhere in the universe), she did a postdoc with Prof. Jack W. Szostak at Massachusetts General Hospital as a NASA Postdoctoral Program Fellow in Astrobiology (Nov 2016-2018).