Natalie Plank

Dr Natalie Plank

Principal Investigator

Phone: 04 463 5031

Postal Address:

School of Chemical and Physical Sciences
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600
Wellington 6140


Natalie Plank and Students in the cleanroom

Natalie Plank and PhD student Hannah Zhang with students from The Discovery Awards, 2015.

Dr Natalie Plank is a Lecturer in Physics in the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences at Victoria University of Wellington.  Natalie completed a BSc (Hons) in Astrophysics at The University of Edinburgh before doing an MSc in Microelectronics.   She then completed her PhD on the functionalisation of carbon nanotubes for molecular electronics with Rebecca Cheung also at The University of Edinburgh.

After arriving in New Zealand she has been a Foundation for Science Research and Technology (FRST) postdoctoral fellow and has established the cleanroom fabrication facility at Victoria.  Since becoming a MacDiarmid Institute she has been actively involved in the role of emerging scientists in New Zealand and was the founder and inaugural chair of MESA.

Natalie’s research interests are in the area of nanomaterial device fabrication and the characterisation of novel materials.  Her current work focuses on nanomaterial device platforms for sensing technology.  She is interested in carbon nanotubes and ZnO nanowires for nanowire transistor applications and in particular the ability to functionalise the nanomaterial channels with specific biomarkers.   Natalie’s core interests are in low cost fabrication techniques which allow for high throughput of devices whilst maintaining the particular material properties of the unique nanowire system.  This has been particularly important for device fabrication for both carbon nanotubes and ZnO nanowire transistors, where flexible electronics have huge potential. See the full publications list for more details.



Associated Content


Tell me about your Thesis

MacDiarmid Institute PhD student Leo Browning manipulates nano-wires to make neural networks that behave like living neurons. His thesis focuses on the production of nanowire based neural networks and methods for their application in sensor and logic devices, and integrating networks to tune their behaviour.The long-term goal for this research is to explore electronics that […]


Electronic devices assembled by protein building blocks

Electronic devices assembled by protein building blocks Hodgkiss, Gerrard, Plank, et al Natural proteins have evolved amino acid sequences that adhere to each other with exceptional strength and specificity. In a highlight publication this month,1 a team of biologists, chemists, and physicists exploited such sequences to encode the assembly of electronic devices from hybrid materials. […]


Nanocamp 2014 in Review

By Associate Professor Michele Governale From the 15th to the 17th of January SCPS hosted the 6th edition of Nanocamp, a week-long science camp sponsored by The MacDiarmid Institute for students starting their last year of high school in 2014. The selection process to be admitted to Nanocamp is extremely competitive, with the best science students in the country […]


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 […]


Building collaborations and partnerships and defining our future

The Forum is a partnership between the MacDiarmid Institute, Victoria University of Wellington, the Royal Society of New Zealand and Te Aitanga a Hauiti iwi and the East Coast community of Tolaga Bay. Sir Paul Callaghan conceived the idea of the Forum and drove it. He envisioned an event in which collectively we considered New […]


Last thoughts for 2011

We have had a large number of successes this year, starting with Professor Sir Paul Callaghan (VUW) being named New Zealander of the Year which led straight into our biennial International conference.  This year the conference was held in Wellington and it was the largest of the five that we have held, bringing several hundred […]


MacDiarmid Emerging Scientists Association 2012

A new Emerging Scientists Group was formed at the Student and PostDoc Symposium. You can visit the MESA website here. The committee is chaired by Natalie Plank, Back, left to right: James “Elf” Eldridge (IRL Gracefield) BenMallett (IRL Gracefield) Andrew Gross (Canterbury) Ojas Mahapatra (Canterbury) Franck Natali (VUW) Cosmin Laslau (Auckland Front, left to […]


Videos – Meet our scientists

During AMN-7 the Science Media Centre “SAVVY Express” team offered our Investigators and students targeted 15 minute sessions to practice speaking about their research on-camera, with feedback and training from a professional interviewer. The result is a series of seventeen interesting 90 second videos all of which are now available to watch via SMC’s Youtube channel, or you can […]

Tackling the Science

  Natalie Plank’s vision is to develop a research platform focused on nanomaterial-based electronic devices for biosensors. Plank believes nanomaterials have enormous practical potential in
the field of medical diagnostics and mass screening techniques, but are also unpredictable – and for that reason, fascinating. Natalie took up her job as lecturer
in the School of Chemical and […]