Structured Matter Research

What is Structured Matter?

The structure of materials is central to a range of technological developments in the health, water, energy and communication fields associated with surfaces and particulates.

Nanotechnology and nanomanufacturing involves constructing tailored materials with nanoscale precision. This technology is expected to revolutionise manufacturing processes and the impact will be felt from the way we store and retrieve data to how we treat diseases and assist our bodies and minds to live longer and more productively.

Theme Leader

Professor Frank Caruso


The Structured Matter research theme has three major programs in the areas of:

Biomaterials and Bio-Systems

The development of smart, biocompatible materials for improving the efficiency of drug delivery and biomaterials for medical implants.

Materials for Sustainability

Important environmental issues, including alternative energy devices and areas related to the use of advanced materials in the minerals industry.

Small (Micro/Nanoscale) Systems

The role of advanced materials in computers, photonics and optics.


Melbourne School of Engineering hosts the ARC SRC Particulate Fluids Processing Centre, the Centre for Greenhouse Gas Technologies as well as specialist centres in polymer research and tissue engineering. These centres represent our core areas of excellence within the Structured Matter theme.

Leading groups are using nanoengineered particles for cardiovascular and Alzheimer’s disease diagnosis, and looking at the selective adsorption of chiral molecules, which is critical to the purification of drugs.

Interactions with industry are particularly strong in the areas of mining and mineral extraction and pharmaceutical industries. Our researchers are actively engaged with industry in solving complex environmental engineering problems and many are represented as editorial staff on key journals. For example, a team is studying the properties of advanced luminescent polymers to help Australian industries produce more efficient electronic circuits, memory devices and batteries. This theme also has two Federation Fellows and a winner of the Australian Prize for Science who are involved in leading research projects.

Some of our research strengths include:

  • Nanoparticle applications in diagnostics and therapeutics, including new drug delivery technologies, controlled drug release and new modes of bioassays
  • The development of macroporous networks for the production of tissue engineering scaffolds for hard and soft tissue replacement, including potential applications to the bionic eye
  • Development and application of new membrane and separation systems for the collection of carbon dioxide for gas streams and new clean coal technologies
  • Understanding and modelling of water recycling from concentrated particulate suspensions in a range of industries where waste reduction is critical to future profitability and sustainability
  • Development of zeolitic materials as separation substrates for proteins in the food industry, adsorption barriers in environmental cleanup and sustainable replacements to cement-based materials in construction.


Browse an alphabetical listing:

Structured Matter Projects

Engage Our Researchers

For information on how industry partners can collaborate with our researchers:

Engage Our Researchers

Research Degrees

For information on research degrees:

Graduate Research