Area/discipline of scienceNanotechnology
- PhD in Chemistry from Victoria University
My field of research is Nanotechnology which is the study of the very, very, VERY small. We manipulate and observe materials on the nanoscale. A nanometre is a billionth of a metre so the materials we are looking at are extremely tiny! When we get down to this length scale the materials start to behave in very unique and unexpected ways. It’s these new behaviours that we want to understand.
Nanotechnology is a special field to work in because, although we are chemists, we work very closely with physicists, biologists, engineers and medical professionals to answer the big questions. So on a typical day I can make some nanomaterials using some clever chemistry and then have them characterised by a physicist. If they look promising they can then be passed onto a medical professional for further testing. We’re making materials for applications as diverse as solar cells, industrial catalysts and for the early detection and destruction of cancer.
I got involved in science because I love the exactness of it. Then, the more you study, the more chemistry becomes a fascinating and surprising area. Some of the things I’ve learnt over the course of my PhD study have left me amazed. Fundamental research can be hard work, as things don’t always go as planned (otherwise it wouldn’t be research!) But then things fall into place and you discover something that nobody has ever seen or made before. And that’s an incredible feeling knowing you’re adding new knowledge to the world.