About Professor David McKenzie

I am motivated by discovering new physical phenomena that can make a difference to the world.

Professor McKenzie holds a Chair in materials physics and has experience in materials for many applications (biological, medical, optical and renewable energy). He specialises in materials prepared in the form of thin layers or coatings and in methods for producing them that use plasmas.

Professor McKenzie has held a Personal Chair in Materials Physics since 1998. He has made many contributions to undergraduate and postgraduate teaching in the School of Physics. He has played an important role in the Talented Students Program over many years as coordinator in Physics and in supervising many research projects in the Program. He is a very experienced postgraduate supervisor, having supervised to completion more than 20 PhD and 5 Masters projects. Research outcomes have included selective surfaces and a sputtering technology for depositing them. This work resulted in a patented technology that has led to a large renewable energy industry based on evacuated tubular solar collectors in Japan and more recently in China. Professor McKenzie identified the form of amorphous carbon known as tetrahedral amorphous carbon that contains a large fraction of diamond like bonds and has many of the properties of diamond. It has found application as a wear resistant coating and is used commercially in hard drives. Professor McKenzie has developed materials for medical applications and has with his colleagues developed new dosimeters for radiotherapy and new surfaces for biosensing and medical diagnostics created from plasmas. Professor McKenzie is an ISI highly cited researcher and has received an awards for being one of the group of most highly cited researchers in Australia and being a citation ‘Laureate” in Materials Science in Australia.

Selected publications

  • AR Parker, RC McPhedran, DR McKenzie, LC Botten, NAP Nicorovici (2001) Photonic engineering – Aphrodite’s iridescence, Nature 409 (6816), 36-37. [a report of the occurrence in an animal of elegant ‘photonic engineering’ structures] {36 citations}
  • DR McKenzie (1996) Tetrahedral bonding in amorphous carbon. Reports on Progress in Physics 59 (12), 1611-1664. [ the first review of the field of tetrahedral amorphous carbon] {135 citations}
  • NA Marks, DR McKenzie, BA Pailthorpe, M Bernasconi, M Parrinello (1996) Microscopic structure of tetrahedral amorphous carbon. Physical Review Letters 76 (5), 768-771. [first accurate simulation of the tetrahedral structure of this material that identified strained sp3 bonding] {72 citations}
  • DR McKenzie, Y Yin, NA Marks, CA Davis, BA Pailthorpe, GAJ Amaratunga, VS Veerasamy (1994) Hydrogen-free amorphous-carbon preparation and properties. Diamond and Related Materials 3 (4-6), 353-360. [ a well cited study reporting new electronic properties of this material] {63 citations}
  • DR McKenzie, D McFall, WG Sainty, CA Davis, RE Collins (1993) Compressive stress-induced formation of cubic boron-nitride. Diamond and Related Materials 2 (5-7), 970-976. [presented a theory for the formation of this metastable phase] {218 citations}
  • DR McKenzie, CA Davis, DJH Cockayne, D Muller, AM Vassallo (1992) The structure of the C70 molecule. Nature 355 (6361), 622-624. [first structural study of the larger form of the “Bucky Ball”] {148 citations}
  • DR McKenzie, D Muller, BA Pailthorpe (1991) Compressive-stress-induced formation of thin-film tetrahedral amorphous-carbon. Physical Review Letters 67 (6), 773-776. [first report of existence of tetrahedral amorphous carbon, now recognised as a distinct carbon form and the subject of a major research field] {538 citations}
  • PH Gaskell, A Saeed, P Chieux, DR McKenzie (1991) Neutron-scattering studies of the structure of highly tetrahedral amorphous carbon. Physical Review Letters 67 (10): 1286-1289. [an accurate study of the structure of tetrahedral amorphous carbon that gave definitive coordination of the carbon atom] {112 citations}
  • SD Berger, DR McKenzie, J Martin  (1988) EELS analysis of vacuum arc-deposited diamond-like films, Philosophical Magazine Letters 57 (6), 285-290. [showed how to quantify the bonding of carbon using electron energy loss spectroscopy, now a widely used method] {308 citations}
  • DR McKenzie (1983) Properties and structure of hydrogenated amorphous carbon. Philosophical Magazine B 48, 341. [well cited study of the properties of this material] {111 citations}