Mark Waterland was born and raised in Christchurch, and obtained both BSc(Hons) and PhD degrees in chemistry from the University of Otago in 1995 and 1998 respectively. After postdoctoral work at the University of Rochester, in Rochester, NY (home of Kodak and Xerox) and Kansas State University, Mark held a position as a staff scientist at Industrial Research Limited in Lower Hutt from 2001 – 2003 before moving to his current position at Massey University where he is now an Associate Professor in the Institute of Fundamental Sciences. He introduced nanoscience as a major in the BSc programme at Massey in 2009, and is currently chemistry major leader. He is a past president of the New Zealand Institute of Chemistry and is the current New Zealand representative for the Pacifichem Congress.

Dr Waterland’s research is driven by an interest in applying methods in physical and analytical chemistry to nanoscale and biological systems. His research group uses controlled assembly of silver nanostructures to produce highly sensitive substrates for bioanalyte detection, and is investigating the structures and chemistry two-dimensional nanomaterials such as MoS2 and applications of these materials as solar fuel catalysts.

The group has expertise in Raman spectroscopy including resonance Raman spectroscopy, theory of Raman intensities, surface and plasmon-enhanced Raman and has recently built a low-frequency Raman microscopy system. The group has developed expertise in chemometrics using vibrational spectroscopy and has applied these skills to the analysis of feed stocks in animal production systems. The group is currently investigating (with Prof Bill Williams) the application of microfluidics for collecting Raman spectra of emulsions and other micro- and nanoscale systems.

Area of Expertise

1) Omniphobic surfaces as substrates for surface-enhanced Raman spectroscopy

Omniphobic surfaces (e.g. liquid-infused porous surfaces) can be used to control the drying of microdroplets of solutions containing analyte species and metal nanoparticles. The controlled drying produces highly concentrated aggregates of metallic nanostructures with a high density of analyte molecules that give extremely sensitive detection by Raman spectroscopy. We have demonstrated single-molecule detection of rodenticides in aqueous solution and picomolar concentrations of rodenticides in milk samples.


2) Chemometrics of animal feed supplies

Mid-infrared spectroscopy provides detailed information on chemical functional groups and composition. Complex mixtures such as animal feed supplies give complicated IR spectra and multi-variate chemometric methods are required to produce regression models that can be used to predict animal feed composition from the IR spectrum of the feed sample. We have demonstrated that careful data pre-treatment avoids many of the issues associated with interference from water signal in mid-IR chemometric analysis of animal feedstocks.