Natalie Plank

Senior Lecturer - Physics School of Chemical and Physical Sciences


Teaching in 2017

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Research interests

My research interests are in the area of nanomaterial device fabrication and the characterisation of novel materials. I am currently a Foundation for Science Research and Technology (FRST) postdoctoral fellow and an Associate Investigator of the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology.

My current work focuses on nanomaterial device platforms for sensing technology and photovoltaics. I have previously worked extensively on CNTs and ZnO NWs for nanodevice applications.  I also have knowledge of thin film processing having worked with Ben Ruck and Joe Trodahl in the VUW Spintronics group, towards the design of rare earth nitride devices.

I am particularly interested in low cost fabrication techniques which allow for high throughput of devices whilst maintaining the particular material properties of the unique material system. This has been particularly important for device fabrication for both CNTs and ZnO NWs, where nanoscale effects are non-negligible.

I have also set up and run the cleanroom fabrication facility at SCPS.


Before arriving in New Zealand in 2009 Natalie spent 3 years as a postdoc in the group of Prof. Sir Mark Welland at the Cambridge University Nanoscience Centre. Her work there has focussed on the use of ZnO NWs for optoelectronic devices, largely in collaboration with the Cavendish Optoelectronics group.

Natalie completed her PhD on the functionalisation of carbon nanotubes for molecular electronics with Rebecca Cheung in 2006 at The University of Edinburgh. During this time she spent 4 months as an intern at NEC fundamental research laboratories in the group of Yudasaka and Iijima. Natalie completed her MSc by research in silicon carbide etching for MEMS structures, at the University of Edinburgh, also under the supervision of Prof Rebecca Cheung. During this time she was also a visiting student at DIMES, TU Delft in the Netherlands working in the group of Emile Van der Drift.

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