Nanoscience Laboratory

The Nanoscience Laboratory (NSL) at the University of Melbourne was the first nanoscience research laboratory in Australia, founded in 1996. The focus of the laboratory is the physics and chemistry of nanoscale systems, exploring how the properties of materials change with size.

The Laboratory has focussed on synthesis of nanoscale materials ranging from gold, silver, copper, thallium, tin, cadmium and lead nanoparticles through to semiconductors such as CdSe, CdS, ZnO, ZnSe, and CdTe. Synthesis focusses on shape  control as well as core-shell strucutures and hybrid materials. 

The Laboratory has a strong competency in single nanoparticle spectroscopy and uses dark-field microscopy to study single metal nanocrystals and confocal microscopy to examine fluorescent nanocrystals. In addition, the Laboratory pioneered the use of AFM to study nanoparticles in the 1990s. 

The Nanoscience Laboratory partners with engineering, maths and physics groups at the University, working on NV centres in diamond, nanomechanics, and biolabelling. 

Recent directions include high pressure nanocrystal spectroscopy, synchrotron studies of nanocrystal growth and ultracentrifugation studies of nanocrystal sedimentation. 

In 2018, the NSL moves into new laboratories in the School of Chemistry after 12 years at Bio21 Institute.

ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science 2017-2023

ACEx logo

From 2017, the Nanoscience Laboratory has been a part of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Exciton Science.  Professor Paul Mulvaney is the Centre Director.

The Centre brings together researchers from chemistry, physics, maths, and materials science to create new materials for advanced optical and energy applications, including next generation solar cells, LEDs, sensors and responsive optical materials.

The Centre has nodes at University of Melbourne, RMIT University, Monash University, UNSW and the University of Sydney. Partners include the Reserve Bank of Australia, CSIRO and Defence Science Technology Group (DSTG).

The Centre has funding for up to 7 years, with ARC funding of $31.8m and a further $8m from partner organisations.

For information on the Centre and its activities please visit