Associate Professor Mark Waterland

Associate Professor Mark Waterland

Associate Investigator

Phone: 06 356 9099 extension 84644

Postal Address:

Institute of Fundamental Sciences
Massey University
Private Bag 11 222
Palmerston North 4442



Research Interests

Mark’s research is driven by an interest in the development and properties of optical materials, both molecular and nanostructured. He has interests in the fundamental properties of optical materials and especially the dynamics and properties of excited-states of molecules and carbon nanostructures. Mark’s long term goal is the development of new approaches to energy conversion and storage, new display technologies and optical sensing. Our group has expertise in vibrational spectroscopy and especially Raman spectroscopy of various types.

Graphene Nanoribbons
In collaboration with Prof Vikas Berry at Kansas State University we are using Raman spectroscopy to analyse the structures of graphene nanoribbons produced by mechanical fracturing of graphite blocks (produced using the nanotomy process developed by the Berry group). We are investigating if polarised Raman microscopy can be used to analyse the edge type (zig zag or arm-chair) produced by the mechanical fracturing process.
We are interested in using chemical modification of the graphene nanoribbons to control the self-assembly of nanoribbons and molecular materials into functional materials with useful electronic and optical properties. Raman microscopy will be a key technique in the analysis of these self-assembled nanostructures.

Excited-State Dynamics
We use Raman spectroscopy as a probe of both molecular structure and dynamics. Most recently, we have demonstrated, using resonance Raman spectroscopy, that the excited-state dynamics of phenyl-substituted dipyrrin compounds are controlled by the free rotation of the phenyl substituent. We have also demonstrated that the Raman cross-sections of dipyrrins are amongst the strongest known, making dipyrrins, with their distinct lack of fluorescence ideal candidates as Raman probes.

We have examined the femtosecond (fs) dynamics of Cu(I) bis-phenanthrolines excited-states using a time-domain wavepacket description of resonance Raman intensities. This work follows a number of detailed ultrafast dynamical studies using fluorescence techniques (Tahara et al). The resonance Raman studies provide the missing link between the earliest possible dynamics in the excited-state (i.e. dynamics in the Franck-Condon region) and the femtosecond dynamics probed by ultrafast techniques. Resonance Raman analysis shows that ligand reorganization occurs directly following photoexcitation, which suggests that ligand reorganization must occur either before or at least simultaneously with the well-documented dynamics associated with the change in geometry around the copper metal centre.

We have also used Raman spectroscopy to investigate the structure of room temperature ionic liquids. Ionic liquids have many interesting properties and they have improved the efficiencies of dye-sensitized solar cells. We are interested in the fundamental properties of RTILs as solvents and how they relax around molecular excited-states. We are currently using resonance Raman intensity analysis to develop a semi-quantitative scale of solvent reorganization energies for RTILs analogous to scales of polarity as developed by Reichardt and others.


Associated Content


Public Lecture Series: The Energy Revolution

The age of fossil fuels is coming to an end.  Global warming from their burning is undeniable.  But when will tomorrow begin? Will there be a long transition period, with a mish-mash of renewables while we learn to harness the sun’s energy efficiently, as plants have been doing for 3.5 billion years?  Is there even enough sunlight […]

New Company Registered

Synthodics Ltd was registered on 17 June 2011. This new spin-out company was formed to commercialise intellectual property arising from a research programme at Massey University led by Simon Hall. Since September 2009, Simon had been working withhis colleagues, Mark Waterland (MacDiarmid Institute Associate Investigator) and Gareth Rowlands, on some new concepts for use in […]