Biological systems are incredibly efficient at recycling. We use nature as an inspiration for next-generation sustainable materials, creating self-regulating, self-repairing systems and developing new materials that are recyclable or reconfigurable.
Our research will support New Zealand's goal for 'net zero' carbon emissions by 2050. We will explore new materials that will catch CO2 from air and waste streams. We'll also design new catalysts that will turn CO2 into green fuels.
The data centres worldwide that support our digital lifestyles use almost ten times as much electricity per year as the whole of NZ. We will develop computing materials that process information more like a brain, and that use far less energy than conventional electronics.
Crosscutting these Research Programmes sits our Mātauranga Māori Research Programme. This programme provides a platform for the other three research programmes, intersecting with the theme of sustainability. We will explore old and new knowledge to grow innovative approaches and techniques based on Mātauranga Māori.
We will develop the capability and capacity of Māori and Pacific peoples in the sciences. We'll also develop the capability of scientists within the MacDiarmid Institute to engage with Maori communities. In so doing, we will contribute to the growth of Mātauranga.
May 14, 2021
Our new research programmes will address some of the greatest challenges facing New Zealand today.
February 20, 2019
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.
May 8, 2019
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.
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.
Our research is creating new technologies to aid the transition to a more sustainable way of life and make our world a better place.
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.
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Lao, J., Xu, W., Jiang, C., Zhong, N., Tian, B., Lin, H., Luo, C., Travas-Sejdic, J., Peng, H. & Duan, C-G. Air-stable Artificial Synapse Based on Lead-free Double Perovskite Cs2AgBiBr6 Film for Neuromorphic Computing. Journal of Materials Chemistry C 9, 5706-5712 (2021).
Li, Z., Liu, J., Shi, R., Waterhouse, G. I. N., Wen, X.-D. & Zhang, T. Fe-Based Catalysts for the Direct Photohydrogenation of CO2 to Value-Added Hydrocarbons. Advanced Energy Materials 11, 2002783 (2021).
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I’m passionate about materials science and engineering. My particular interest is in interfacial phenomena and how they affect microstructures and thus properties.