Prof Ralph Cooney

Surface and Materials Science

Ralph Cooney is a Professor of Chemistry with extensive research experience in the spectroscopy of surfaces and cross a wide range of materials types. He has over the past decade served as lead proposal author and Director of four major MBIE funded programmes, all of which involved novel approaches to strengthening dialogue between researchers and industry.


Research Expertise (1970-present): involving about 100 research students

  • Raman and Infrared molecular spectroscopy

  • Adsorption of organic adsorbates on porous oxides, zeolites and clays

  • Poly(acetylene) in zeolite channels: Resonance Raman spectra of molecular wires

  • Raman spectra of adsorbates on working electrodes

  • FTIR reflectance spectra of adsorbates on platinum working electrodes and colloids

  • Origin of Surface Enhanced Raman Spectroscopy (SERS) for silver and  gold electrodes

  • Conducting polymers in zeolites channels

  • Polyaniline as an anti-bacterial agent

  • Anchored quaternary ammonium salt biocides on surfaces: AFM and XPS studies

  • Controlled release biocides based on zeolites, clays and expanded Perlite

  • Expanded Perlite transformation into Ultra-high surface area silica

  • Self-cleaning of metal roofing


Track Record of External Research Funding (2004+): Lead Author and Founding Director

  • MBIE The Biocide Toolbox: $15M over 6 years

  • MBIE Hybrid Anti-Microbial Polymers: $8.3M over 6 years

  • MBIE Materials Accelerator: $9.6M over 4 years 

  • FRST Membranes & Micro-pumps: $5.6M over 4 years

Innovation and Entrepreneurship:

  • Survey of International Best Practice in University-Industry partnerships (2010 study leave): 8 countries, 43 agencies, 100 interviews

  • Campus Masterplan for Tamaki Innovation Campus (2000): Technology Foresighting themes, End-user clusters, International Innovation Campus models, National Science & Technology Park

  • Negotiations and engagement with 500 companies across 4 MBIE and FRST contracts and Callaghan Innovation