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Advanced materials and nanotechnology

10 August 2023

Specialist UC researchers work on nanotechnology and condensed matter, natural fibres and biocomposites, and more. Check out our research on advanced materials and nanotechnology.


UC’s nanotechnology researchers are working at the forefront of much modern engineering and science research is at the scale of the smallest devices currently possible - in the range of nanometres right down to the scale where the quantum behaviour of atoms becomes important. Also, advanced materials science underpins high-tech manufacturing. 

Our natural fibres and biocomposites researchers are engaged in research into environmentally sustainable materials that aim to reduce New Zealand’s reliance on materials derived from petrochemicals.

Our energy and fuel systems researchers work on biofuel and biomass conversion technologies to find innovations that reduce fossil energy consumption.

Research strengths


Nanotechnology and condensed matter

Areas of current research in nanotechnology and condensed matter include:

  • Materials for high-value technologies
  • Materials for energy capture and utilisation
  • Functional nanostructures
  • Solar cells fabrication and texturing, surface modifications using nanoparticles and nanostructures
  • Metal oxide wide band gap semiconductors
  • Microfluidic device fabrication technologies
  • Building electronic devices with nanoparticle building blocks
  • Exploring novel atomic structures and electronic states in self-assembled nanostructures


Research centres and groups


Researchers and supervisors

Staff actively working in these areas are:

Natural fibres and biocomposites

Areas of current research in Natural fibres and biocomposites include:

  • All-cellulose composites
  • Cellulose-based biofoams
  • Protein-based materials
  • Bio-based nanocomposites
  • Interfacial properties in biocomposites
  • Recycled wood fibre-recycled polymer composites
  • Environmental performance of biocomposites


Research centres and groups


Researchers and supervisors

Staff actively working in these areas are:

Energy and fuel systems

Areas of current research in Energy and fuel systems include:

  • Characterising liquid biofuel feedstock resources including woody biomass; biomass from agriculture sector; biosolid wastes; algae; purpose grown crops 
  • Development of biomass conversion technologies and feasibility studies
  • Biofuel analysis 
  • Sustainability analysis of the biofuel processing chain 
  • Strategic analysis of complex energy and environmental systems
  • Improving the efficiency and reducing the impact of energy conversion 
  • Renewable energy systems including wind, solar and geothermal
  • Energy use in transport and planning for the post-peak oil urban form re-development
  • Energy use in freight movements and planning for the post-peak oil circumstances
  • Electricity use in the residential sector and new ICT solutions to peak demand management
  • Hybrid energy-economic technology and demand transformation modelling
  • GIS-based active access assessment of urban forms
  • Adaptability of travel behaviour as a function of urban form and income level
  • Village scale energy auditing, electricity networks, demand side management and renewable energy integration
  • Transportation and building energy auditing
  • Enabling technology for PEM and SOFC fuel cell systems


Research centres and groups


Researchers and supervisors

Staff actively working in these areas are:

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