Condensed Matter Physics and Nanotechnology
Research, Field Stations and International Collaborations
The condensed matter group is interested in the properties of materials from millimetre size right down to the scale where quantum behaviour of the atoms becomes important. At these small dimensions, on the scale of nanometres, materials take on new physical properties and thus present the opportunity for new science and applications. This is the field of Nanotechnology.
Our group has several primary directions in the field of nanotechnology. We have developed techniques where extremely small clusters of metal or semiconductor atoms can be produced and arranged to form conducting wires with sizes much smaller than are possible by conventional means. This technology was behind New Zealand’s first nanotechnology spin-off company, Nano-Cluster Devices. Our current focus is on novel switching behaviour (which might be useful in new memory devices) in these devices, and on fundamental issues related to superconductivity in these nanoscale systems.
Our group also has an active programme in the growth and characterisation of new semiconductor thin films. In particular we have a suite of optical spectroscopy facilities that allow photoluminescence, photoconductivity and Raman spectroscopy studies of many types of material, over a broad range of wavelengths. This work attempts to enlarge the range of materials that have applications in our high-tech opto-electronic industries.
The academic staff of the group are Principal Investigators in the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. Through this Institute, the researchers have access to very sophisticated characterisation facilities for their work.