Magnetic resonance physics

Paul Callaghan (1947-2012) with members of the Magnetic Resonance Physics group.

We develop NMR methodologies to study molecular dynamics and molecular organisation in soft matter and porous materials research sometimes called 'squishy physics'. Our group is a mix of physicists and chemists and we research a wide variety of physical and biophysical systems.

Our measurements can test fundamental physical theories that relate to dynamics in microemulsions, liquid crystals and polymers. Methods involve Pulsed Gradient Spin Echo (PGSE) NMR, NMR microscopy, and NMR spectroscopy, supplemented by rheometry and light scattering.

The group is part of the School of Chemical and Physical Sciences and the MacDiarmid Institute for Advanced Materials and Nanotechnology. It was founded by Professor Sir Paul Callaghan when he was appointed to Massey University in 1975, and in July 2001 most of the group moved with Paul to Wellington.

We are also involved in the design and construction of NMR instrumentation and gradient coils. Magritek, our spin-off company, is licensed to commercialise some research and several ex-group members are now employed there.

Our group has a strong international presence and generally half of the research students are from overseas. We have regular visits from academic colleagues from around the world, including Slovenia, Israel, USA, UK, Portugal, Germany, Sweden, Mexico, France, Japan and Korea.


For more information please contact:

Associate Professor of Physics · Undergraduate Coordinator

Research projects

Using a 3-axis filed mapper to evaluate the NMR MOLE

We use magnetic resonance to understand molecular motions in soft matter and porous media, and link that understanding to current theories of complex fluid behaviour. Our group is known for developing some specialised techniques that have revealed new physical properties not seen before.

These techniques include:

  • Porous media research - new ways of measuring temporal and spatial correlations in dispersion
  • Rheology of soft matter - new velocimetry techniques and new ways of measuring molecular order and dynamics under deformational flow. Because NMR is a non-standard technique in soft matter research, we like to relate our research to independent measurements, including rheometry and light scattering.