The Inside Story of the MacDiarmid Institute

    Not long before he passed away, Sir Paul Callaghan shared his memories of how the MacDiarmid Institute came to be. It all began in 2001 when Paul met the great Kiwi chemist Alan MacDiarmid. At age 53, Paul Callaghan was a world-renowned experimental physicist having pioneered a new field in NMR Spectroscopy at […]

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A Risky Undertaking Pays Off

The Transit of Venus Forum was a high risk undertaking from the outset. The national forum about science and the economy, environment and people, initiated by Sir Paul Callaghan and the MacDiarmid Institute, was to be held in Tolaga Bay and Gisborne in mid-winter 2012, in association with the rare occurrence of the Transit of […]

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The Long, Winding Road that is Commercialisation

  It’s long been a given that New Zealand needs to pay close attention to the commercialisation of research in order to build successful, innovative companies that can take resulting products and services to the world. However, it’s a lot easier to say that, than to do it. Looking back over the past 10 years […]

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Commercialisation – The Next Generation

To paraphrase an ancient adage: “Teach a student how to do research, and you get research. Teach a student how to commercialise that research, and you could get a whole new industry.” At least that’s the aim of the MacDiarmid Institute Research Commercialisation Fellowships which encourage research students and post-docs to look at their research […]

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Long Life In Battery Development

  The humble battery may seem a bit prosaic for an organisation called the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, but research into battery technology, and the underlying science, has been a part of the MacDiarmid Institute since its founding. Before it’s founding, in fact, as Alan MacDiarmid himself gained a Nobel Prize in […]

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From Molecules to the Market

Taking single molecules and tethering them to a surface to produce highly controllable functions as the basis for precision sensors, medical diagnostic tools or even lighting arrays may sound like the stuff of science fiction, but the groundwork is being tackled in the University of Canterbury lab of Dr Alison Downard. The MacDiarmid Institute Principal […]

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Experimenting with Theory – Rare Earth Nitrides

  Dr Ben Ruck and Joe Trodahl were already working on metallic nitrides when they came across a paper predicting that related compounds—the rare earth nitrides—would not only have interesting electronic properties, but magnetic properties as well. “That gave us the impetus to start making and measuring them. Our first and perhaps our most significant […]

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Still Fun After All These Years

  For MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator David Williams, twenty years of taking his lab-based research to the market in various forms hasn’t dimmed the excitement of being a part of such development. “Good science leads to good technology, and if you’ve got good technology you can commercialise it,” he says. “It’s great.” It’s a familiar […]

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From Competition to Collaboration

  In the mind of former MacDiarmid Institute Director, Richard Blaikie, the beginnings of the MacDiarmid Institute will always be framed in time by a world-changing event that took place on the other side of the globe. When the call came ten years ago for expressions of interest to set up Centres of Research Excellence […]

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Raman Spectroscopy

  Being able to detect a Raman signal from a single molecule illuminated with laser light has exciting applications in new materials research and analytical chemistry.  However, the team that developed the technique is also using it to find out more about the molecules themselves.  Improving the sensitivity of the detecting technique is a key […]

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Brooker’s Bunch

  It may be 25 years since Sally Brooker received her BSc(Hons) First Class from Canterbury University, but she hasn’t lost her connection to students. The MacDiarmid Institute Principal Investigator and Professor of Chemistry at Otago University maintains a strong research group of Honours students, PhD students and postdoctoral fellows, fondly referred to as “Brooker’s […]

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The Buzz of Business

  Eight years ago, PhD student Sam Yu was inspired by a seminar on entrepreneurship organised by Bill Swallow as part of the Growth Industry Pilot Initiative to build enterprise culture in Lincoln University and the University of Canterbury. “It really made me feel passionate about doing the hands-on aspects of science,” Yu recalls. This […]

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The MacDiarmid Impact

Figure 1: The figure compares the citation impact of the MacDiarmid Institute with that of other prominent international institutions that work in advanced materials and nanotechnology.  The MacDiarmid Institute’s impact has grown considerably and is now closing in on that of MIT.  Sometime this year, the MacDiarmid Institute’s 1000th paper will be indexed by the […]

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Portals into Other Worlds

  Sometimes truth is stranger than fiction. Hidden in six locations around New Zealand are over twenty portals into other worlds. Unlike Narnia or Middle Earth, these worlds are real, although you would have to shrink around a hundred million times to enter them. At this scale, an orange would loom the size of a […]

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