An Alumnus Returns

Attending this year’s symposium was MacDiarmid graduate Simon Granville, who has been living in Lausanne, Switzerland for the past four years. He’s been there researching fundamental magnetism and spintronics for his post-doc at the École Polytechnique Fédérale deLausanne (EPFL).

During his time there, his research has centred mainly on spin valves – magnetic nanostructures that have been developed over the past

20 years for their potential applications in data storage devices. Spin valves sandwich two magnetic layers around a non-magnetic metal, and can be used to control the spin of electrons passing through. Applications for data storage would use spin orientation to store information, with less power and more permanence than current technology. It’s the culmination of more than two decades of research, and Simon has been working with the scientists who pioneered it.

After four years overseas, he’s returning to New Zealand in January to take up a new job at Industrial Research Limited (IRL) in the superconductor research group. With his post-doc completed, he felt a strong urge to seek work outside the university setting. Motivation from deadlines, a more formal working environment and the different mentality involved in developing useful, commercial applications are what he says attracted him to want to experience the “other side of research.”

Word that Simon was in the market for a position outside academia filtered back through his MacDiarmid connections, leading IRL to contact him about the job opportunity. In his new role, he hopes to build on the spintronics work he’s done in Switzerland, by incorporating superconducting elements into these magnetic devices. He’s excited for the opportunity to contribute to long-term research and pursue innovative applications that build on his experience in fundamental science.