International workshop strengthens and expands collaboration


Thanks to generous two year funding from the inaugural France/New Zealand Dumont d’Urville Science and Technology support programme, a successful workshop has been held at the Universite de Provence over the week of 26th to 29th June.

The workshop brought together four MacDiarmid Institute PIs (Joe Trodahl, Tony Bittar, Grant Williams and Ben Ruck) and a student from the Wellington group (Simon Granville) and fi fteen of their existing and potential collaborators from French laboratories in Marseille and Paris to discuss current activities and plan the following year. The Theme of the workshop – “semiconductor/ spintronics nanoscience” – covered topics relating to existing programmes in the MacDiarmid Institute’s Theme II. In two days of intensive work, broken only by one evening’s adjournment to a bar for the France-Spain World Cup quarterfi nal, we discussed the growth, structure, electronic and magnetic properties, and the annealing behaviour within the following programmes:

1. Nano-structured gallium nitride and oxynitride, gallium manganese nitride and oxynitride;

2. Rare earth nitrides

3. Double perovskite and Heusler alloys, half metals for spintronics.

The existing collaborations on which the D’Urville support was based include the Wellington group (IRL, VUW), France’s Institut des NanoSciences de Paris (INSP) and the Marseille groups centred at MADIREL at Universite de Provence, the pulsed laser deposition laboratory at Universite de Mediteranee and the Electron Microscopy laboratory from Universite de Provence II.

We were joined by Cristiana Grigorescu from INOE in Romania, whose work within the Wellington and Marseille laboratories has been central in developing the Wellington-Marseille collaboration. There were in addition, attendees from French laboratories not yet involved in the collaboration; a pleasant surprise was the level of interest shown by researchers not previously involved, despite that the workshop was not at all advertised.

The workshop was organised by Tony Bittar in Wellington, Jurgen von Bardeleben in Paris, Laurence Tortet and Odile Monnereau in Marseille. They and we all are grateful to the French Ambassador in New Zealand and staff at the French Embassy in Wellington for their invaluable support during the organising of this year’s workshop. We are hoping for continued strong support from MORST and the French Government for an equally successful follow-up workshop in Wellington during 2007.

Dumont d’Urville, for whom the funding programme was named, visited New Zealnd three times.  The purpose of his second visit in 1826 was to chart the coatstline of New Zealand as d’Urville considered that Cook’s charts were incomplete and it was on this visit that “D’Urville Island” and the channel in which it lies “Passe des Francais” or “French Pass” were named.