Emeritus Professor Joe Trodahl

Emeritus Investigator

Phone: 04 463 5964

Postal Address:

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

IMG_0022Joe is a Professor Emeritus in Physics at Victoria University, after retiring from a chair in 2002. He joined Victoria University in 1971, having completed a PhD from Michigan State University and a postdoctoral fellowship at the University of British Columbia. Current research includes the intrinsic ferromagnetic rare-earth nitride semiconductors, Raman scattering investigation of the ferroelectric phases of nanostructured perovskites, ferroelectric/ferromagnetic multiferroic structures and heat flow in sea ice. His contribution to the MacDiarmid Institute has been massive, and is demonstrated in the careers of the many scientists he has mentored, as much as in his scientific output. Having said that, he is also a fantastic advocate for the value of long term fundamental science, as captured in a recent article on ‘the most exciting thing he’s ever done’.



Research Interests

Growth, electronic and magnetic properties of ferromagnetic semiconductors; Raman investigation of structural phase transitions, especially nanostructured ferroelectrics Magneto-electric multiferroic devices; sea ice structure and properties  



Associated Content


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 […]


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 […]


Minister Joyce visits the MacDiarmid Institute in Wellington

This week we hosted Minister Joyce for the first time.  During his visit we introduced him to the range of activities that we undertake. In particular we provided the Minister with evidenced of our significant nation-wide collaboration network that has grown significantly over the 10 years since our establishment.  Our connectivity extends across all our […]

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. […]

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 […]


Joe Trodahl’s 70th!

oe completed his undergraduate degree at Moravian College in Bethlehem, PA in 1963.  After Moravian, he went to Michigan State University for his doctorate in Physics working with Frank J. Blatt (author of “Principles of Physics” among other tomes).  His thesis work was entitled “Quantum Oscillations in the Peltier Effect in Zinc”.  Joe was then […]

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 […]

OPINION: The Value of Science by Joe Trodahl

The question put to me is “What is the value of science and innovation in/ for New Zealand?” Is my impression correct; does the word “innovation”
 in that question focus on economic advancement? In reality, innovation is required to advance science as well as the economy, and most else as well, but to me the […]

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 […]

Joe’s Birthday Bash

  A special symposium entitled A Brief History of VUW Condensed Matter Physics was organised to mark Joe Trodahl’s approaching 70th birthday by Franck Natali, Ben Ruck and Natalie Plank, and on 9 December 2011 family and friends gathered to pay tribute to his long, productive and still extremely active, research career. The physicists took […]

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 […]

Getting the Blues

  Listening to music in the car is a simple pleasure that many of us enjoy. However, especially on long journeys, it can often seem like a startlingly short amount of time before the CD ends and needs to be changed. The problem is that there is simply a limited amount of information that can be […]