John McFerran

Dr, BSc BE GradDipSc PhD W.Aust.

  • The University of Western Australia (M013), 35 Stirling Highway,

    6009 Perth


  • 1036 Citations
  • 15 h-Index
1998 …2024
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Personal profile


John McFerran is a Chief Investigator in the ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS). Since completing his Ph.D. at UWA 2003 he has held research positions at the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Boulder, CO (in the Time and Frequency Division and Optoelectronics Divisions), LNE-SYRTE, Paris Observatory and XLIM, Limoges, France. His fields of research include optical frequency synthesis (fibre-laser and solid state-laser-based frequency combs), optical atomic clocks and laser spectroscopy. He was awarded an ARC Future fellowship in 2011 (commencing in 2012) and has developed a cold atom optical clock based on ytterbium at UWA.

Roles and responsibilities

Masters and PhD supervisor, lecturer, researcher and seminar convenor.

Future research

Testing the inverse square law of gravity at micron distance scales. Providing a time signal for the Atomic Clock Ensemble in Space mission (ACES).

Funding overview

Scientific Mobility (French) travel award 2013
ARC Centre of Excellence for Engineered Quantum Systems (EQUS): 2018-2024.

Previous positions

Chercheur Postdoctoral, Systèmes de Référence Temps-Espace, Observatoire de Paris, France.
Chercheur Postdoctoral, XLIM Institute, Université de Limoges, France.
Guest Researcher, National Institute of Standards & Technology, Boulder, USA.

Current projects

Developing an optical lattice clock with ultracold Yb atoms for a Time-and-Frequency ground station.

-Implementing lattice trapping in an optical atomic clock
-Implementing lasers for normalised population determination in ultracold atoms.
-Measuing isotope shifts and nuclear parameters in neutral ytterbium

Industrial relevance

Providing students with skills in electronics, computing, optics, and applied problem solving.

Teaching overview

PHYS3012 Frontiers of Modern Physics (Modern Optics & applied QM),,
PHYS2001 Electromagnetism

PHYS1030 Physics Bridging
PHYS3001 Atomic Physics


Optical atomic clocks.
Optical frequency synthesis.
Atomic spectroscopy.


Un peu de Francais.

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  • 4 Similar Profiles
clocks Physics & Astronomy
Optical lattices Engineering & Materials Science
fiber lasers Physics & Astronomy
traps Physics & Astronomy
Frequency stability Engineering & Materials Science
lasers Physics & Astronomy
Clocks Engineering & Materials Science
ytterbium Physics & Astronomy

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 1998 2019

Hyperfine constants and line separations for the S0 1 - P1 3 intercombination line in neutral ytterbium with sub-Doppler resolution

Atkinson, P. E., Schelfhout, J. S. & McFerran, J. J., 14 Oct 2019, In : Physical Review A. 100, 4, 042505.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

hydrogen masers
center of gravity
frequency measurement

Optical frequency stabilization with a synchronous frequency-to-voltage converter

Reynolds, F. C. & McFerran, J. J., 20 Apr 2019, In : Applied Optics. 58, 12, p. 3128-3132 5 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Continuous wave lasers
continuous wave lasers
4 Citations (Scopus)

Laser stabilization with a frequency-to-voltage chip for narrow-line laser cooling

McFerran, J. J., 1 Apr 2018, In : Optics Letters. 43, 7, p. 1475-1478 4 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

laser cooling
electric potential
6 Citations (Scopus)

Production of ultracold Cs∗Yb molecules by photoassociation

Guttridge, A., Hopkins, S. A., Frye, M. D., McFerran, J. J., Hutson, J. M. & Cornish, S. L., 19 Jun 2018, In : Physical Review A. 97, 6, 063414.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

diatomic molecules
hyperfine structure

Inverted crossover resonances with Δf=0 or 1 inverted crossover resonances with the intercombination line of 171Yb

McFerran, J. & De Clercq, E., 27 Oct 2017, 2017 Joint Conference of the European Frequency and Time Forum and IEEE International Frequency Control Symposium, EFTF/IFC 2017 - Proceedings. IEEE, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, p. 421-422 2 p. 8088910

Research output: Chapter in Book/Conference paperConference paper

Laser cooling
Atomic beams
laser cooling
Fluorescence spectroscopy

Projects 2004 2024



John McFerran

28/07/18 → …



John McFerran & Ian McArthur




John McFerran & Ian McArthur

27/02/18 → …



John McFerran & Darren Grasso

2/08/12 → …


Press / Media

Physics faces test of time

John McFerran


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Atomic clocks and GPS

John McFerran


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Pushing time accuracy to the limit

John McFerran


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Atomic clocks

John McFerran


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media

Optical atomic clocks

John McFerran


1 item of media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media