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Professor Derek Abbott

Telephone +61 8 8313 5748
Position Professor
Fax +61 8 8313 4360
Building Ingkarni Wardli
Floor/Room 3 47
Campus North Terrace
Org Unit School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering

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Biography/ Background

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  • 1982 BSc (Hons) in Physics, Loughborough University of Technology (LUT), UK
  • 1995 PhD in Electrical & Electronic Engineering, University of Adelaide. Thesis: MESFET Photodetectors for Imaging Arrays, under Kamran Eshraghian and Bruce R. Davis

Teaching Interests

Current teaching activity

  • Supervision of PhD students
  • Communications IV
  • Optical Communications Engineering

Other teaching activity

  • 1998 Stephen Cole the Elder Prize
  • 2002 PGSA Supervisor of the Year Award
  • 2004 Member of DVCE’s working party on Recognition of Quality in Teaching
  • 2005 Member of SPIE (USA) International Scholarship Committee
  • 2013  Award for Excellence for Higher Degree by Research Supervision

Research Interests



  • Biomedical and bioinspired engineering
  • Optical/Infrared/mm-Wave/T-ray vision systems and sensors
  • Novel analog VLSI circuits
  • Game theory and information theory
  • Complex systems and quantum systems
  • Stochastic phenomena
  • Computational neuroscience



  • 1977 General Electric Company (GEC) Bursary, UK
  • 1998 Stephen Cole the Elder Prize
  • 2002 PGSA Supervisor of the Year Award
  • 2003 SPIE Scholarship Award for Optical Science and Engineering, USA
  • 2004 Tall Poppy Award for Science, Australia
  • 2004 SA Great Award for Science & Technology, Australia
  • 2012 ARC Future Fellow (Level 3)
  • 2013  Award for Excellence for Higher Degree by Research Supervision



  • Mark D. McDonnell, Nigel G. Stocks, Charles E. M. Pearce, and Derek Abbott, Stochastic Resonance, Cambridge University Press, 2008, ISBN 9780521882620.
  • Derek Abbott, Paul C. W. Davies, and Arun K. Pati (Eds.), with Foreword by Sir Roger Penrose, Quantum Aspects of Life, Imperial College Press, 2008, ISBN 9781848162532.
  • Xiaoxia Yin, Brian W.-H. Ng, and Derek Abbott, Terahertz Imaging for Biomedical Applications, Springer-Verlag, 2012, ISBN 1461418208

Selected journal publications

  • G. P. Harmer and D. Abbott, "Losing strategies can win by Parrondo's paradox," Nature (London), Vol. 402, No. 6764, p. 864, 1999.
  • J. M. R. Parrondo, G. P. Harmer and D. Abbott, "New paradoxical games based on Brownian ratchets," Physical Review Letters, Vol. 85, No. 24, pp. 5226-5229, 2000.
  • M. D. McDonnell, N. G. Stocks, and D. Abbott, "Optimal stimulus and noise distributions for information transmission via suprathreshold stochastic resonance," Phys. Rev. E, Vol. 75, No. 6, Art. No. 061105, 2007.
  • I. Jones, L. Ricciardi, L. Hall, H. Hansen, V. Varadan, C. Bertram, S. Maddocks, S. Enderling, D. Saint, S. Al-Sarawi, and D. Abbott, "Wireless RF communication in biomedical applications," Smart Materials and Structures, Vol. 17, Art. No. 015050, 2008.
  • W. Withayachumnankul, B. M. Fischer, and D. Abbott, "Material thickness optimization for transmission-mode terahertz time-domain spectroscopy," Optics Express, Vol. 16, No. 10, pp. 7382-7396, 2008.
  • A. P. Flitney and D. Abbott, "Quantum version of the Monty Hall problem," Physical Review A, Vol. 65, Art. No. 062318, 2002.
  • G. P. Harmer, B. R. Davis, and D. Abbott, "A review of stochastic resonance: circuits and measurement," IEEE Trans. Instrum. & Meas., Vol. 51, No. 2, pp. 299-309, Apr. 2002.
  • M. Baumert, N. Wessel, A. Schirdewan, A. Voss, and D. Abbott, "Scaling characteristics of heart rate time series before the onset of ventricular tachycardia," Annals of Biomedical Engineering, Vol. 35, No. 2, pp. 201-207, 2007.
  • D. Abbott, P. C. W. Davies, and C. R. Shalizi, "Order from disorder: the role of noise in creative processes," Fluctuation and Noise Letters, Vol. 2, No. 4, pp. C1-C12, 2002.
  • D. Abbott and X. C. Zhang, "T-ray imaging, sensing, and retection," Proceedings of the IEEE, Vol. 95, No. 8, pp. 1509-1513, 2007.
  • L. T. Hall, H. J. Hansen, B. R. Davis, and D. Abbott, "Performance analysis of a series transformer for complex impedance matching," Microwave & Optical Technology Lett., Vol. 45, No. 6, pp. 491-494, 2005.
  • W. Withayachumnankul, B. M. Fischer, and D. Abbott, "Uncertainty in terahertz time-domain spectroscopy measurement," JOSB, Vol. 25, No. 6, pp. 1059-1072, 2008.
  • Y. Lee, A. Allison, D. Abbott, and H. E. Stanley, "Minimal Brownian ratchet: an exactly solvable model," Physical Review Letters, Vol. 91, No. 22, 220601, 2003.
  • A. P. Flitney, D. Abbott, and N. F. Johnson, "Quantum walks with history dependence," J. Phys. A: Math. Gen., Vol. 37, pp. 7581-7591, 2004.
  • P. Amengual, A. Allison, R. Toral, and D. Abbott, "Discrete-time ratchets, the Fokker-Planck equation and Parrondo's paradox," Proc. Royal Society London A, Vol. 460, pp. 2269–2284, 2004.

Professional Associations

  • Fellow of the Institute of Electrical & Electronic Engineers (IEEE), USA
  • Fellow of the Institute of Physics (IOP), UK

Expertise for Media Contact

CategoriesScience & Technology, Mathematics & Statistics
ExpertiseT-rays; terahertz technology; lasers; biophtonics; biosensing; bioinformatics; platonism in science; nature of physics; quantum mechanics; game theory; puzzles; games of chance; probability; code cracking; authorship detection; what is scientific research?; problem solving; complex systems; biomedical engineering; vision systems; how to solve the world's energy needs?; order from randomness.

Entry last updated: Sunday, 24 Jan 2016

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