Calculated based on number of publications stored in Pure and citations from Scopus
1989 …2022

Research activity per year

Personal profile


I am the Deputy Dean Research and Innovation in the Faculty of Science and Engineeringa. From 2016-2018 I was the Director of the MQ Photonics Research Centre. From 2009 to 2012 I was Head of the Department of Physics and Astronomy. I am a member of the Optical Society of America and the Australian Optical Society. I was previously a Macquarie University Research Fellow (1992 to 1994), then spent eight years in the department of Atomic and Laser Physics, University of Oxford first as a Postdoctoral Research Associate (1995-1999) and then as an EPSRC Advanced Research Fellow (1999-2003) before returning to Macquarie in 2003.

I have taught units in core physics, photonics, optical physics, atomic physics, planetary science, molecular spectroscopy and nonlinear optics. I also taught a general interest Planet unit: Big Ideas in Science. I have supervised 14 completed PhD students, 12 completed MPhys/Honours students and I am currently supervisor/associate supervisor for a further 5 PhD students.

If you are propsective PhD student and find any of my research areas below of interest, please email me. 

Research interests

Laser Development

My research interests include laser device development, nonlinear frequency conversion and applications of optics and lasers. Laser systems developed include high beam quality pulsed metal vapour lasers (including frequency doubled systems), tunable cerium solid-state lasers, Ti:sapphire lasers, liquid and solid-dye lasers; applications include materials processing, laser micromachining, laser based high speed imaging and biophotonics. Recent work focuses on developing all-solid state cerium UV lasers including nanosecond, ultrafast and continuous wave systems, and their applications to biophotonics sensing; and plasmonics.

 I also like to have fun with high power lasers:

Laser projection in the sky

Lasers in the night sky, under direction of air traffic control.


Research interests

Vortex Beams

My research on optical vortex beams focuses on high orbital angular momentum beams, their generation and propagation in optical fibres and free space and techniques for characterising and visualising these beams. I also explore mode coupling effects of these beams in multimode optical fibres. 

Visualisation of a high orbital angular momentum vortex beam


Research interests


My research on astrophotonics includes developing spectrographs and calibrators for spectrographs for precision radial velocity measurement for exoplanet detection and characterisation. I also explore beam propagation effects in the fibres used to couple light from the telescope to the spectrograph. For example, exploring the effects of microbends in multimode optical fibres:

Simulation of the effect of a microbend on the far-field output of a multimode optical fibre with off-axis input. 

Research interests

Research Capabilities

I have research expertise in the following areas:

  • Laser Development
  • Optical Fibres
  • Laser Applications
  • Astronomical Instrumentation


External positions

ARC College of Experts

2020Dec 2022


Dive into the research topics where David W. Coutts is active. These topic labels come from the works of this person. Together they form a unique fingerprint.
  • 1 Similar Profiles

Collaborations and top research areas from the last five years

Recent external collaboration on country/territory level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots or