New Principal Investigators


Following the call for applications for new Principal Investigator positions in the MacDiarmid Institute 7 appointments were made to commence on 01 January 2010. They are:

Martin Allen

Martin in based at the University of Canterbury. His research interests are:

The physical properties and device applications of metal oxide semiconduc­tors (in particular the oxides of zinc, magnesium, indium, gallium, and their alloys). These are an emerging new class of semiconductor with unusual optical and electrical properties resulting from the highly polar nature of their bonding and strong internal electric fields. The fundamental behaviour of semicon­ductor interfaces in relation to defects, chemical bonding and virtual gap states. Research/education/intervention programmes in the areas of human erythemal UV exposure and vitamin D synthesis. 


Nicola Gaston

Nicola is based at Industrial Research Limited in Lower Hutt. Her research interests are:

Most aspects of theoretical chemistry and chemical physics. Materials modelling, in particular atomistic modelling of functional surfaces. Two current examples include trying to under­stand the superheating of small gallium clusters, which contradict our understanding of the physics of melting by melting at higher temperatures than the bulk metal, and modelling electrocatalytic surfaces for fuel cell applica­tions. I am particularly interested in understanding the complex changes in electronic structure that occur when you go from a simple pair of atoms, to larger clusters, and then finally all the way to the bulk. Even

Vladimir Golovko

Vadimir is based at the University of Canterbury. His research interests are:

Synthesis of metal clusters, metal and metal oxide colloids using solution-based methodology, with focus on control over morphology and chemical structure. Study of bio-molecule functionalized nanoparticles of metals and metal oxides as building blocks in hierarchical self-assembly. Use of nanopar­ticles as catalysts in fabrication of nanostructured materials and chemical catalytic processes under mild conditions.



Michele Governale

Michele is based at Victoria University of Wellington. Hist research interests are:

Theoretical condensed matter physics, theory and modelling of nanoscale systems, quantum transport in low-dimensional systems (Nanoelectronics), spin-dependent phenomena (Spintronics), time-dependent transport in nanodevices, hybrid normal-superconducting structures. In general, Michele is interested in the interplay of Coulomb interaction, quantum effects and non-equilibrium physics at the nanoscale.


Justin Hodgkiss

Justin is based at Victoria University of Wellington. His research interests are:

Photophysics and device physics of organic semiconductors for the develop­ment of printable devices including solar cells and electronic biosensors. Ultrafast optical spectroscopy is highlighted as a means probe the optoelectronic function­ality of such materials on femtosecond timescales and beyond. Other current research directions include biotemplated assembly of organic semiconductors and investigating coupling between electronic and ionic charge carriers in conjugated polyelectrolytes.



Eric LeRu

Eric is based at Victoria University of Wellington. His research interests are:

Various aspects, both theoretical and experimental, of nano-photonics, with a particular emphasis on nano-plasmon­ics; ie the study and applications of the optical properties of sub-wavelength metallic objects, and related applications in surface-enhanced spectroscopies (Raman and fluorescence). This work has resulted in over 40 publications since 2004 and was recently complemented by the publication of a book co-authored with Pablo Etchegoin on surface-enhanced Raman scattering.



Geoff Willmott

Geoff is based at Industrial Research Limited in Lower Hutt. His research Interests are:

Nanopores: resizable nanopores, including actuation, transport properties, sensing of translocations and integration with other technologies.

Experimental and theoretical aspects of micro- and nanofluidics: surface slip, quartz crystal oscillators, non-wetting capillaries, Janus particles, colloidal probe AFM.

Shock waves and diamond: crack initiation, high-speed photography, integrity of shocked crystals in a geological matrix, plate and Taylor impact.