Ben Ruck

Associate Professor Ben Ruck

Principal Investigator

Phone: 04 463 5089

Postal Address:

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


Ben completed a PhD at Victoria University of Wellington before undertaking postdoctoral work at in the Molecular Beam Epitaxy Laboratory of Professor Tom Tiedje at the University of British Columbia. He returned to New Zealand on a FRST Postdoctoral Fellowship working with Professor Joe Trodahl before taking a position on the academic staff at Victoria University in 2003.

Ben’s area of research interest is experimental condensed matter physics, with a particular focus on growing thin films of novel materials and determining their atomic structure and electronic properties. This work involves collaboration with numerous students, postdocs, and academics at VUW and the MacDiarmid Institute, and at other institutions in New Zealand and around the world. Current research projects include investigating the electronic and magnetic properties of rare-earth nitrides, including their potential use in spintronics, and investigating the electronic structure of transition metal nitrides.


Associated Content


Peter Murmu talks about his experience with the MacDiarmid Institute

Dr Peter Murmu was an MSc student at the Indian Institute of Technology in Bombay when he was offered a PhD scholarship from GNS Science and Victoria University of Wellington. He says he was drawn to New Zealand in part because it was the birthplace of Ernest Rutherford. “I had heard about New Zealand before […]


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 […]


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 […]

Superconducting and spin-dependent properties of novel materials (Tallon, Williams, Trodahl, Ruck)

We have a high-profile programme investigating high-temperature superconductors (HTS) and related materials. We focus on achieving a thermodynamic understanding of HTS by determining the pressure-, temperature-, doping- and ion-size-dependence of all the important energy and length scales pertinent to superconductivity using NMR, specific heat, Raman and muon spin relaxation. We also continue the search for […]

Optoelectronic properties of nanoscale and advanced materials (Ruck, Trodahl, Reeves, LeRu, Metson, Williams)

Several members of the rare-earth nitride series are known to be magnetic semiconductors, and we will measure their electrical conductivity and photoconductivity at room temperature and in their low-temperature magnetic phase. The results will be interpreted in terms of modern band structure calculations, and in terms of models of the crystalline defects in the materials. […]


Ultra-High-Vacuum Deposition System

The new facility has already helped them secure two research grants from the NERF and Marsden funds to develop spintronic applications. About the Equipment: This Ultra-High Vacuum system is designed for growing pure crystalline films of just about any material. It includes an ionising gas source to introduce nitrogen or other gases into the chamber […]


Low Temperature ‘Mini-lab’ with Closed Cycle Cryostat

About the Equipment: “It’s just like a fridge,” says Ben. “you press a button and you can go down to 3.5K (-269.5°C)… The other neat thing is that you can hold the temperature steady anywhere in between.” As Ben explains, there are two types of measurements available. “One is temperature dependent resistivity – that’s fantastic […]


Harry Warring: Meet 2015’s MESA Chair

Story by Emma Timewell Harry Warring, The new Chair of the MacDiarmid Emerging Research Association (MESA) likes spin. Spintronics to be precise – the use of an electron’s spin as well as its charge for the development of new materials. Materials used in electronics rely on the charge of electrons within the material, but the […]


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 […]

The Inspiration of The Doctor

We can thank the Third Doctor for Simon Granville’s career choices. Simon always thought that he’d like to be a diplomat or a scientist —but watching Jon Pertwee play about with interesting gadgets and technology on Doctor Who swung his decision in science’s favour.  The exhaustive Wikipedia entry for the Third Doctor describes him as […]

Discovery Awards

The Discovery Awards scholarship opened me up to a whole new world of science and its real-life applications. When I applied I really didn’t know what to expect, but after some persistent persuasion by my lovely science teacher Amanda Gibbs, and some good old scientific curiosity, I sent in my form and was lucky enough to be accepted with nine […]

Experimenting with Theory – Rare Earth Nitrides

  Dr Ben Ruck and Joe Trodahl were already working on metallic nitrides when they came across a paper predicting that related compounds—the rare earth nitrides—would not only have interesting electronic properties, but magnetic properties as well. “That gave us the impetus to start making and measuring them. Our first and perhaps our most significant […]

Starting a Revolution

Dr Andrew Preston is ready for the next challenge – starting his own business. It’s a big idea; nothing less than revolutionising academic publishing. As he sees it, we’re still using 17th century scientific traditions. In particular, Andrew and his business partner, Daniel Johnston, want to modernise the whole peer review system. The pressure is on […]

The MacDiarmid Institute Discovery Awards

  The first five Discovery Awards pupils, Ben Jones, Kate Tartawhiti, Nikita Hunia, PJ Campbell and Jardin Rose, along with teachers and members of their families, were welcomed to the programme in December. Three of the pupils will be placed at the University of Canterbury and two at Victoria University of Wellington. These are pupils […]

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 […]