Mr Abi Thampi

BSc(H) Physics, MSc Physics

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Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy


I completed my BSc(Hons) in Physics from St.Stephen's College, Delhi, India and MSc Physics degree from the University College of Dublin, Ireland before undertaking a PhD in Physics at the University of Auckland.  My research involves integrated optical sensors to predict food quality. I joined the University of Auckland in February 2018 and work in collaboration with AgResearch and Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies.

In 2015, I went to a summer research program at the National Institute of Technology (NIT), Tiruchirapalli, India where I worked on magnetic nanoparticles for magnetic particle hyperthermia (MPH) applications and studied the heating characteristics of the nanoparticles for the treatment of hyperthermia in collaboration with researchers at IIT Madras. I gained good experience on X-Ray Diffractometer (XRD), Vibrating Sample Magnetometer (VSM), and Thermo-gravimetric Analysis (TGA).

In 2016, I completed my undergraduate studies at St Stephen’s College, which is ranked as the number one science college in India . After graduation, I joined University College of Dublin (UCD), Ireland  to pursue a Master in Physics specialising in Nano-Bio Science and earned an impressive 4.12 GPA out of 4.2 (1.1 Honours) and was awarded the V.V.Giri Global Excellence 100% Scholarship by UCD.

I was working on “Energy harvesting using peptide nanotubes” for my master’s research and introduced a promising new technique to prepare peptide nanotubes for energy harvesting applications by combining the wettability difference between a hydrophobic and hydrophilic surface along with applying voltage to align the physical and polarisation direction of peptide nanotubes. I studied the influence of UV light on peptide nanotube I-V performance and made a device to demonstrate the energy harvesting capabilities of peptide nanotubes . I gained experiences on Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), Piezo - response Force Microscopy (PFM), Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM), Raman Spectroscopy, Optical Microscopy, Optical Tensiometer system and Sputtering deposition of gold and chromium electrodes during my Masters research. 

Currently I am working as a Doctorate (PhD) Scholar at Department of Physics, University of Auckland researching how optical sensors predict meat quality under the supervision of Dr Frederique Vanholsbeeck and Dr Stephane Coen. I am also working in collaboration with Agresearch funded by Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum technologies. This project is funded by Ministry of Business, Innovation and Employment (MBIE), New Zealand.    

Research | Current

Food quality and safety are much discussed scientific disciplines in this 21st century which include handling, reparing and storage of food to prevent any food borne illness. It is imperative to have strict laws and standards for the quality of food. Apart from preventing food borne diseases, food quality has a great significance in expanding  global food trade as well. While studying the quality management of food products, the challenge faced by the industries is to reduce the time interval between the filling and the detection of food quality. Successful reduction in this time interval would allow the food companies to stop the production in case of any spoilage, limiting the damage to a small part of the entire batch which in turn helps the industries to have considerable savings in terms of product value, thereby avoiding the utilization of raw materials, packaging and above all strongly reducing the food waste.

The research frontier to over come is the fast subsurface sensing of food for the real time quality checking. A fusion of different sensor modalities will be required, to measure different dimensions of food product quality. My research seeks to generate new knowledge by elucidating how data from multiple sensors can be combined and evaluated to generate multidimensional food quality information. Out of all different optical techniques, optical coherence tomography (OCT) enables a fast, purely optical, non-invasive, contact less and high-resolution imaging of subsurface features at a level of only a few microns and can provide both quantitative and qualitative information. The studies are initially focussed on meat with an ambition to extrapolate to other food products. Investigations are performed to establish whether the different meat characteristics along with textural measures are linked with the optical information obtained. 


Teaching | Current

Physics 160 Lab Demonstration

Physics 120 Studio Support

Optom 263 Lab Demonstration 


2019 RHT Bates Postgraduate Scholarship from Royal Society of New Zealand Te Apārangi 

2018 PhD Scholarship from Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies

2016 V.V.Giri Global Excellence Scholarship by University College of Dublin (UCD), Ireland


Since 2019  Student representative at Department Equity Committe

Since 2019  PhD Representative of Department of Physics

Since 2019  Secretary of University of Auckland SPIE Student Chapter

Since 2019  Secretary of University of Auckland OSA Student Chapter

Since 2019  Postgraduate ambassador of SciSA

 2018-19     Treasurer of University of Auckland SPIE Student Chapter


Committees/Professional groups/Services


OSA (optical Society of America)

NZIFST (New Zealand Institute of Food and Science Technology Inc)

The Dodd-Walls Centre for Photonic and Quantum Technologies (DWC), New Zealand

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

As of 29 October 2020 there will be no automatic updating of 'selected publications and creative works' from Research Outputs. Please continue to keep your Research Outputs profile up to date.
  • Thampi, A., Hitchman, S., Coen, S., & Vanholsbeeck, F. (2019). Optical coherence tomography to predict the quality of meat. Paper presented at Conference on Optical Coherence Imaging Techniques and Imaging in Scattering Media III, Munich, GERMANY. 25 June - 27 June 2019. OPTICAL COHERENCE IMAGING TECHNIQUES AND IMAGING IN SCATTERING MEDIA III. (pp. 3). 10.1117/12.2526897
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Frederique Vanholsbeeck, Stephane Coen

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8.30 am to 6 pm

Primary office location

SCIENCE CENTRE 303 - Bldg 303
Level 5, Room 514
New Zealand

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