Home » The MacDiarmid Institute

The MacDiarmid Institute for
Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology

Tangata whakawhanake - to improve people's lives

We are a network of leading researchers united in a common goal: to create and explore innovative, sustainable materials that will improve the lives of people in Aotearoa and around the world.

We work together and partner with industry and government to address global challenges such as clean water, renewable energy and climate change.

Our research areas

Functional Nanostructures

Imagine what you could create by combining the natural genius of biology with the latest advances in technology? Think of nature-inspired nanobots seeking out and destroying disease, bone implants that grow themselves and handheld sensors that can instantly diagnose cancer.

Read more about Functional Nanostructures

Materials for Energy Capture and Utilisation

Our investigators are exploring novel ways to capture and store energy and to absorb greenhouse gas emissions. The goal is to take new energy solutions to the nation and the world to help create a more sustainable future.

Read more about Materials for Energy Capture and Utilisation

Tomorrow's Electronic Devices

This theme is about predicting what tomorrow’s devices might need in terms of research, then undertaking that research today. We also work with industry to enable them to adopt and adapt this latest research. The potential in New Zealand’s High Value Manufacturing (HVM) sector is vast and we are tapping into that potential.

Read more about Tomorrow's Electronic Devices

MacDiarmid Institute

New Zealand's best scientists, engineers and educators, unified for a common goal: to make, understand, and use new materials to improve people's lives.

February 20, 2019

Video transcript

The challenges facing New Zealand and the world today - clean water, renewable energy, climate change - will be solved by tomorrow's scientists and engineers - sitting in our classrooms right now, ready to be inspired. They need new materials and new technology based on those materials that haven't been discovered yet.

That's what the MacDiarmid Institute does. We are New Zealand's best scientists, engineers and educators, unified for a common goal: to make, understand, and use new materials to improve people's lives.

What is materials science

MacDiarmid Institute investigators discuss how materials science and nanotechnology can solve the big problems of our time.

May 8, 2019

Video transcript

Associate Professor Nicola Gaston: Can you imagine a future where electricity is practically free, where there's clean water available for everyone and a simple blood test taken at home can help diagnose some diseases?

The technology that can make each of those things possible is based on materials science. Materials are all around us; this coffee cup, this table, even this sugar I might put in the coffee. When we make things really small, as we do in nanotechnology, we create a material that has most of its substance at the surface. With sugar, that means it dissolves quickly. But in general what it means is that we can control the properties of that material with great precision. So we can take a material, any material - it could be a metal or it could be plastic - and we can play with the surface and give it new abilities. For example, we could make it anti-bacterial or we could make it absorb more light.

The MacDiarmid Institute is a network of New Zealand's best materials scientists. Materials science is the basis of all high-tech manufacturing, including sustainable environmental innovations such as new solar cells or carbon capture technologies for climate change mitigation. We work with existing industries and we also spinout new companies. In the past 15 years we have spun out 16 new companies.

Dr Ray Thomson: One of the really exciting things that the Investigators at MacDiarmid are working on is across this whole climate change area. Sequestering carbon dioxide, improving the efficiency of photovoltaic cells through to really advanced battery storage.

Associate Professor Nicola Gaston: If we want that future, a materially sustainable future, where everyone around the world can have clean water, personalised medicine, free electricity, we need materials technologies. In the MacDiarmid Institute we bring materials scientists together and we partner with industry to create intellectual property, jobs and wealth for New Zealand.

About us

We are a network of committed biologists, chemists, physicists and engineers who collaborate to develop innovations that will both solve big problems and boost the New Zealand economy.

What we do

Our research is creating new technologies to aid the transition to a more sustainable way of life and make our world a better place.

Our partnerships

We have ongoing partnerships with community groups, museums and other organisations to help us take science out of the lab to make it accessible, exciting and inspiring.

Check out our latest research

Porter, G. C., Tompkins, G. R., Schwass, D. R., Li, K. C., Waddell, J. N. & Meledandri, C. JAnti-biofilm activity of silver nanoparticle-containing glass ionomer cements. Dental Materials (2020). doi:10.1016/j.dental.2020.05. 001

Raoufi, F., Ranjbar, Z., Rategar, S., Nowak, E. & Nazari, B. Wettability study of super-hydrophobic silica aerogel powders. Progress in Color, Colorants and Coatings 13, 75–83 (2020).

Pike, M. D., Bose, S. K., Mallinson, J. B., Acharya, S. K., Shirai, S., Galli, E., Weddell, S. J., Bones, P. J., Arnold, M. D., & Brown, S. A. Atomic Scale Dynamics Drive Brain-like Avalanches in Percolating Nanostructured Networks. Nano Letters 20, 3935-3942 (2020).

Uhrig, D. M., Williams, G. V. M., Bioletti, G. & Chong, S. V. Residual oxygen responsible for universal superconducting phase diagram in annealed FeS1-xTex-Superconductor Science and Technology 33, 055006 (2020).

Boehme, S.C., ... Hodgkiss, J.M., ... & Infante, I. Phonon-Mediated and Weakly Size-Dependent Electron and Hole Cooling in CsPbBr3 Nanocrystals Revealed by Atomistic Simulations and Ultrafast Spectroscopy. Nano Letters (2020).

Read more about our latest research

Meet our people

Emeritus Professor Joe Trodahl

Emeritus Professor Joe Trodahl

Emeritus Investigator

The understanding of the physical world that follows from our focus does make us valuable beyond the immediate economic innovations.

Associate Professor Duncan McGillivray

Associate Professor Duncan McGillivray

Principal Investigator

Functional Nanostructures

I’m interested in the physical basis of biological interactions at surfaces.

Contact us

Postal address:
The MacDiarmid Institute
Victoria University of Wellington
PO Box 600
Wellington 6140
New Zealand

+64 4 463 6927

Email us:

Study with the MacDiarmid Institute

Working with our teams of leading scientists opens up a myriad of exciting opportunities for those who join us as students or as investigators.

These include involvement in vital international academic research, start-up companies, industry collaborations, local and central government projects, and, most importantly, developing innovations to improve people’s lives.

Find out more!