PROF Ampalavanapillai Nirmalathas

PROF Ampalavanapillai Nirmalathas


  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Communications,Internet, Broadband Access Networks, Optical networks, Transmission systems (Optical communications, Photonics, Microwave photonics, Terahertz photonics)
  • Entrepreneurship and Innovation



  • Professor Thas (Ampalavanapillai) Nirmalathas

    Professor Thas Nirmalathas is the Director of Melbourne Networked Society Institute which is an interdisciplinary research institutes focusing on challenges and opportunities arising from society's transition to a networked society. He also provides the academic leadership to the Melbourne Accelerator Programs (MAP) which he co-founded to support entrepreneurial activities of the University Community through business acceleration models.  

    Prof Nirmalathas obtained his BEng and PhD in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from the University of Melbourne in 1993 and 1998 respectively. Between 2000 and 2004, he was the Director of Photonics Research Laboratory (Melbourne Node of Australian Photonics CRC) and also the Program Leader of Telecommunications Technologies Program. From 2004 to 2006, he was the Program Leader for the Network Technologies Research Program in NICTA. He was also the acting Lab Director of VRL in 2007. Between 2006 and 2008, He was the Research Group Manager of the Networked Systems Group of Victoria Research Laboratory (VRL) at the National ICT Australia (NICTA), a premier Australian research centre of excellence in ICT. Between 2010 and 2012, he was the Head, Department of Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Melbourne

    He has written more than 400 technical articles and currently hold 2 active international patents and 1 provisional patent application in the process. His research interests include microwave photonics, optical-wireless network integration, broadband networks, and scalability of telecom and Internet services.

    He has serviced as chair of steering committees of Asia Pacific Microwave Photonics and IEEE Topical Meeting on Microwave Photonics Conference series in 2008/2009. He is also a member of the Steering Committee for the International Conference on Optical Internet (COIN). He was also Guest Editor f   


Member of

  • Optical Society of America (OSA). Member 2006 -
  • IEEE - Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers. SMIEEE 2003 -
  • Communications Society. Member 2001 -
  • IEEE Lasers and Electro-Optics Society (LEOS). Member 2001 -
  • Standards Activities Society (SA). Member 2001 -
  • Telecommunications Society of Australia. Member 2001 -
  • IEAUST - The Institution of Engineers Australia. Member and Fellow 2000 -
  • IEEE Microwave Techniques and Theory Society (MTTS). Life Member 2000 -


Selected publications


Investigator on

Additional Grant Information

  • 2012: A. Nirmalathas, 'Towards terabits-per-second transmission systems with spectral efficiencies of 10 bits/hertz/seconds at 100 Gb/s and beyond', Research Collaboration Grant, University of Melbourne, $19,500 
    2011-2013: C. Lim, A. Nirmalathas and A. KL Lee, ARC Discovery Project (DP110103066), $320K
    2004-2008: D. Novak, A. Nirmalathas, C. Lim and P. Gamage, ARC Discovery Project (DP0452223), $817,052
    2003-2005: A. Nirmalathas, C. Lim and T. Chae, ARC Discovery Project (DP0345939), $413,313
    2001: Office for Naval Research (ONR), USA, 60K

    Engagement with research excellence centres in Australia:
    2004-present: ARC Special Research Centre for Ultra-Broadband Information Networks (CUBIN)
    2004-2008 - National ICT Australia (NICTA)
    1998-2004 - Australian Photonics CRC (PRL)

    1. A. Mitchell, R.B. Waterhouse, A. Nirmalathas, D. Novak, 'Optical Modulator', US Patent, Application no 10/486,598, Pub No US2005/0063035, Filed 2002.
    2. E. Wong, A. Nirmalathas and C. Lim, 'Rapid Asynchronous Monitoring for BER Evaluation in Optical Networks', Australian Provisional Patent, Feb. 2003, International Patent filed Jul 2005.




Education and training

  • PhD, University of Melbourne 1998
  • BEng (Hons), University of Melbourne 1993

Awards and honors

  • Fellow of the Institution of Engineers of Australia, 2007



Available for supervision

  • Y

Supervision Statement

  • I am engaged in the following exciting research projects and seeking highly motivated and talented students interested in undertaking research higher degree studies at both Masters and PhD levels. (1) energy efficient of telecommunications and Internet networks and services (2) scalable and energy efficient content delivery networks (3) optical and wireless network integration including wireless backhaul, network optimisation and radio over fibre transmission schemes (4) electro-optic sampling and instrumentation towards applications in telecommunications, medicine and defence (5) ultra broadband interconnects and short-range communications technologies based on optical wireless transmission (6) ultra-broadband devices and systems extending in to the Tera-Hertz frequency bands by exploiting hybrid electronic and photonic systems. (7) Broadband networks and future GRID (8) Internet of Things and Future Broadband Mobile Networks