Dr Voon Hui Lai is a seismologist and is a Postdoctoral Fellow in the Geophysics group at ANU Research School of Earth Sciences.
Dr Lai is an expert in observational seismology and works on understanding the dynamics of natural hazards and fine-scale structures within the Earth.
Her current research combines seismology and photonics, where she uses the emerging distributed acoustic sensing (DAS) technique for natural resource management and resilience building against natural hazards. DAS converts telecommunication fibre optic cable into thousands of seismometers and uses light to detect how the ground moves – providing a cost-effective, non-invasive method to image and monitor Earth’s subsurface at very high spatial-temporal resolution for all terrains, from urban metropolitan to rough, geologically complex environments.
During her PhD at the California Institute of Technology, USA (Caltech), she developed unique observational and computational approaches to study a variety of seismic wave field propagation problems including volcanic eruption, debris flows, earthquake ground shaking in sedimentary basins, and earth-atmosphere coupling for planetary mission. She has extensive experience in combining different geophysical data sets including seismometers, fibre-optics (DAS), and infrasound.
Dr Lai has several outreach experience including contributing to The Canberra Times, and demonstrating seismology concepts at small lab tours, large public science outreach events, and a city parade.