Professor Simon Brown

Principal Investigator

Phone: +64 3 364 2507

Postal Address:

Department of Physics & Astronomy
University of Canterbury
Private Bag 4800
Christchurch 8140

Professor Simon Brown is based at the University of Canterbury. Simon has a B. Sc (Hons) degree from Victoria University of Wellington and a Ph. D. from the University of Cambridge, UK. He has been on the faculty of the Department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Canterbury since 1998, and is currently a Professor in that Department. He was heavily involved in the formation of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology, and is a Principal Investigator and served as Deputy Director from 2011-2013

Simon has published more than 100 refereed papers in a variety of areas of nanotechnology, semiconductor and solid state physics. His current research interests focus on properties of devices fabricated from nanoparticles, as well as scanning probe investigations of nanoscale systems. Simon was founder of NZ’s first nanotechnology company, and has an ongoing interest in the wider ethical, social, environmental and health impacts of nanotechnology.


Associated Content

Computer chips that work like human brains may ease global energy problem

Professor Simon Brown, MacDiarmid Principal Investigator at the University of Canterbury, and his research regarding neuromorphic computer chips is featured on TVNZ and at the idealog.


MI Investigators successful in MBIE Endeavour Round 2016 & Smart Ideas

12 of our Investigators were successful in MBIE 2016 Endeavour Round.

MacDiarmid Investigators are involved in both ‘Smart Ideas’ and ‘Research Programmes’.


MacDiarmid Institute’s Seventh International Conference Huge Success

This past week we have been in Nelson hosting our seventh international conference, attended by over 500 delegates and superbly organised by our Principal Investigator Shane Telfer (Massey University) and his team. In addition to the hundreds of science presentations we have been involved in a range of outreach activities during the week. This tradition […]


Science meets art in nanophotography

A series of compelling photos of the nano-sized world hopes to raise the public’s fascination. The Small Matters event at Nelson’s Provincial Museum offers 50 works on the scale of a billionth of a meter in size, organiser Simon Brown said. “Giving people an insight into what really is a different world – the world […]


MacDiarmid Institute Refunded: Thank you and congratulations

With the news that we have been successful in gaining funding through to the end of 2020 I get to be a bit self-indulgent this week and focus on thanking people for their participation and support during the past year or so as we developed the strategy for the bid. Many people have played very […]


Ojas Mahapatra Appointed CEO

Dr  Ojas Mahapatra, who recently finished his doctorate in Physics at University of Canterbury, has been offered the role of the CEO of a Dunedin based company Photonic Innovations Ltd. He was supervised and mentored by Prof Simon Brown in his doctoral research. Photonic Innovations Ltd is a spin-out company from University of Otago that […]


The Christmas Wrap

We’ve had another big year. We welcomed two new Deputy Directors Profs David Williams (UoA) and Alison Downard (UoC) (Shaun Hendy stepping down at the end of last year and Simon Brown at mid year). We also welcomed six new Principal Investigators (Natalie Plank (VUW), Cather Simpson (UoA), John Kennedy (GNS), Duncan McGillivray (UoA), Bernd […]


The Bid is Gone – YAY – let the doing begin!

Eight months of living and breathing the MacDiarmid Institute Centre of Research Excellence funding proposal to come down to a click of the mouse. Where were the trumpets, the marching band, the ticker tape parade?! Shouldn’t such a momentous occasion be marked with an explosion of lights and fanfare rather than the soft snoring sound […]


Small Matters nanoart exhibition delights Nelson

SMALL MATTERS – ART FROM THE WORLD OF NANOTECHNOLOGY Nelson Provincial Museum 9 February to 8 March 2015 Nelsonians had the opportunity to see an astonishing range of novel images from the world of nanotechnology at the Nelson Provincial Museum, in an exhibition mounted by the Institute in association with the AMN7 Conference. In a […]

Alumni: Ojas Mahapatra – Photonic Innovations

Ojas Mahapatra is one of those enviable people who gets paid to do what he loves. In 2013, he became the CEO of Photonic Innovations, a spin-out company from the University of Otago which is commercialising gas detectors for industries where levels of potentially toxic gases need to be monitored. The technology was developed by Professor Andrew Wilson and uses […]

Collaborating On A (Very) Small Scale

    Casual conversations over conference tea-cups, chance meetings in stairwells, idle flicking through a journal – these may not sound like the stuff of which scientific endeavours are made, but they can provide a surprisingly significant role in the development of research projects and collaborations that span an organisation, a city, sometimes even the […]

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 […]

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 […]

A Culture of Commercialisation

In general, I see my role as being to facilitate commercialization activity in the Institute, and to build a culture of commercialisation.  I’m not going to be doing the commercialisation in the sense of starting companies and writing business plans but, hopefully, I can help put structures and networks in place to support people who want […]

Hot off the Press

  Physics World May 2011. An article on “Artificial Retinas” by Richard Taylor was featured on the cover of the May issue of Physics World.  The article is based on joint work with Simon Brown at University of Canterbury, and a joint patent application that was recently filed.         Angewandte Chemie International […]

Art of Nanotechnology

  Just like the explorers of the past could only reference the strange and wonderful flora and fauna they saw in the New World to the familiar sights of home, so too, the explorers of the nanoworld reference what they see down electron microscopes or scanning tunnelling microscopes to the visible objects in the everyday world. A recent […]