Victoria scientist receives national award

Dr Le Ru awarded Research Medal

Dr Eric Le Ru, from the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, received the Research Medal, awarded for outstanding research published by a scientist under the age of 40.

Associate Professor Dr Eric Le Ru was recognised with an award from the New Zealand Association of Scientists (NZAS) this week for his outstanding contribution to science.

The medal was presented by the Minister for Science and Innovation, Hon Steven Joyce, at a ceremony in Wellington on Tuesday evening.

Professor David Bibby, Pro Vice-Chancellor and Dean of the Faculty of Science at Victoria University, says he is delighted that the efforts of Dr Le Ru have been acknowledged by his peers.

The Research Medal is awarded for outstanding fundamental or applied research in the physical, natural or social sciences published by a scientist under the age of 40.

Dr Le Ru has made an enormous contribution to research in the multi-disciplinary fields of surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy (SERS) and nano-plasmonics.

In particular, his most recent work has had an exceptional international impact. It has resulted in the publication of a book and more than 50 papers, several of them appearing in the most prestigious journals in physics and chemistry.

SERS uses nanoscale metallic objects to boost the sensitivity of Raman spectroscopy. Although discovered 30 years ago, its potential applications are only coming of age now thanks to recent advances in nanotechnology. Once the difficulties in understanding and implementing it are overcome, this technique has the potential to revolutionise analytical chemistry.

Dr Le Ru has made seminal contributions to both the theoretical understanding of the physical mechanisms responsible for SERS and to the development of new experimental methods to study it. His work has been at the forefront of the international research effort toward applying SERS to single-molecule detection and identification, arguably the ultimate goal of analytical chemistry.Dr Eric Le Ru is an Associate Professor of Physics at Victoria, a Principal Investigator in the MacDiarmid Institute, and was awarded a Rutherford Discovery Fellowship in 2010.