Study level

  • Master of Philosophy
  • Honours
  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Dr Nathan Boase
Senior Lecturer
Division / Faculty
Faculty of Science


Optoacoustic imaging is a relatively new medical imaging technique. It utilises laser light to excite an imaging agent, which in turn converts this light energy into heat. This heat is dissipated as a sound wave, which can be detected with an ultrasound receiver. This technique aims to overcome the minimal penetration depth of fluorescence imaging, and the lack of molecular specificity of ultrasound.

In this project we are aiming to develop and synthesize intelligent imaging agents for optoacoustics, which are able to switch their signal on and off according to a biological cue.

Research activities

As part of this research topic, you will be tasked with the following:

  • learn and gain experience in controlled chemical techniques to synthesise polymeric materials with defined composition and architecture
  • learn and gain experience in synthetic organic chemistry techniques, used to synthesise chromophores and radical molecules
  • have the opportunity to perform advanced analytical techniques and learn how to characterise the structure and properties of these materials.


This project will lead to new small molecule chromophores and/or polymeric materials that are able to switch their optoacoustic signal, in response to a biological cue. These molecules will be useful in developing new medical imaging agents for the detection and treatment of diseases, such as cancer.

Skills and experience

This project will suit students who have a passion and enthusiasm for chemistry. A foundation of at least first year undergraduate level chemistry will also be beneficial to the project.



Contact the supervisor for more information.