Meet the VVC-21 Speakers

The Vacuum Society of Australia (VSA) is pleased to announce our invited and keynote speakers for VVC 21.  Our objective is to showcase talented scientists and invite open discussion, collaboration and debate with the Congress program.  We invite you to read more about our speakers below, and we look forward to you officially meeting them in August.

Learn more about the VSA

Prof. Kirrily Rule

Prof. Kirrily Rule

Instrument Scientist, ANSTO

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Biography

Kirrily Rule is a neutron scattering instrument scientist at ANSTO, operating the thermal triple axis spectrometer, TAIPAN. She is also an adjunct Associate Professor at the University of Wollongong and the national Honorary Secretary of the Australian Institute of Physics. Kirrily is also a partner investigator for the FLEET ARC Centre of Excellence, involved with researching novel materials for low-energy electronic devices. After obtaining her PhD from Monash University in Melbourne in 2004, she spent around eight years living and working in North America (McMaster University, Canada 2004-2005) and Europe (Helmholtz Zentrum Berlin, Germany 2006-20012) developing her science career and international reputation in neutron scattering.

Kirrily’s main scientific research focuses on understanding dynamics in materials using many of the instruments within the inelastic neutron scattering and spectroscopy suite at ANSTO and at overseas neutron scattering facilities. Rule has a diverse physics background with research in areas such as condensed matter physics, surface physics and thin films, solid-state physics and medical physics. Her main area of research involves understanding the magnetic interactions in novel, low dimensional quantum magnets.
Kirrily is currently a Principal Instrument Scientist at ANSTO and is co-responsible for the thermal-neutron triple axis spectrometer Taipan, and operates the user-program for both Taipan and Sika, the cold-neutron triple axis spectrometer.

Prof. Francesca Iacopi

Prof. Francesca Iacopi

Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Transformative Meta-Optical Systems

Biography

Francesca Iacopi received her MSc in Physics from Roma La Sapienza University, Italy (1996), PhD in E.E./Materials Science from the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Belgium (2004), and she is currently Professor of Nanoelectronics, in the Faculty of Engineering and IT of the University of Technology Sydney, and Chief Investigator of the ARC Centre of Excellence in Transformative Meta-Optical Systems (TMOS).

Iacopi has over 20 years’ R&D experience in semiconductor Industry and Academia. Her research focus is the translation of basic scientific advances in nanomaterials and novel device concepts into industrial processes. Her seminal work at IMEC on low-k dielectrics for on-chip interconnects over the 1999-2009 decade has informed the industrial uptake of porous dielectrics into modern semiconductor microprocessors. More recently, she invented a process to harness the properties of graphene on silicon for integrated micro-technologies. Major awards include a Gold Graduate Student Award from the Materials Research Society (2003), a Future Fellowship from the Australian Research Council (2012-2016), a Global Innovation Award (2014) and was listed among the 30 most innovative Australian engineers in 2018. Prof. Iacopi is a Fellow of the Institute of Engineers Australia, serves in the Board of Governors of IEEE EDS (2021-23), as well as in various standing committees for IEEE and the Materials Research Society.

Prof. Christine Charles

Prof. Christine Charles

Head of the Space Plasma, Power and Propulsion Laboratory, Australian National University

Biography

Christine Charles is Professor and Head of the Space Plasma, Power and Propulsion laboratory at the Australian National University. She works on experimental expanding plasmas applied to space science and space propulsion. She is the inventor of the Helicon Double Layer Thruster, a plasma thruster for space use, which lead to the development of the WOMBAT XL space simulation chamber at ANU and the development of the Pocket Rocket electrothermal plasma thruster tailored for nano-satellites. She was awarded the 2015 Women in Industry Excellence in Engineering and her research output has been recognised by her Fellowship of the American Physical Society in 2013 and her Fellowship of the Australian Academy of Science in 2015.

Prof. Catherine Stampfl

Prof. Catherine Stampfl

Professor, School of Physics at The University of Sydney

Biography

Catherine Stampfl FAA FRSN is a Professor in the School of Physics at The University of Sydney since 2003, and recipient of an ARC Federation Fellow. From 1990 to 1998 she worked at the Fritz-Haber-Institute of the Max-Planck Society, Berlin, Germany, with a year in 1997 working in the Electronic Materials Laboratory at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center, California USA. From 1999 she worked in the Department of Physics and Astronomy, Northwestern University, Evanston Chicago, USA as a Senior Research Associate, until 2002, and concurrently lectured at the Technical University in Berlin, receiving her Habilitation from the Technical University of Berlin in 2006. Her research field is theoretical and computational condensed matter physics where she uses first-principles quantum mechanical calculations to gain fundamental understanding into the behaviour of solids, their surfaces, interfaces, and nanostructures, to predict new and improved materials for future technological applications. She is the author of over two hundred and thirty publications.

Prof. Feng Wang

Prof. Feng Wang

Professor of Chemistry at Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, School of Science, Computing and Engineering Technologies at Swinburne University of Technology

Biography

Feng Wang is Professor of Chemistry at Department of Chemistry and Biotechnology, School of Science, Computing and Engineering Technologies at Swinburne University of Technology (SUT). Feng received her PhD degree in Theoretical and Computational Chemistry at the University of Newcastle (NSW, 1994). She was a recipient of NSERC Canada International Postdoctoral Fellowship Award at University of Waterloo (1994-1996). Feng relocated to School of Chemistry, The University of Melbourne (1996-2000) as a Research Fellow. After a short period at VPAC as a software engineer, she joined SUT in 2003. As a teaching and research academic staff, Feng teaches undergraduate students at all year levels and supervises postgraduate research projects. She also mentors early career researchers and served as Deputy Chair of the Department and Head of Chemistry (2016-2018). Feng’s research features strong link and collaboration with experiment including Synchrotron sourced spectroscopy (e.g., Australian Synchrotron and Elettra). She leads many theory-driven discoveries in a broad spectrum of applications in medicinal, biophysical, solar energy, material chemistry and molecular physics with nearly 200 peer reviewed articles. She has served many expert panels for research proposal assessment for international research funding agencies including Ireland, Portugal, Canada, Romania and Czech. She is an ARC College of Expert and Deputy Chair of the National Computational Merit Allocation Committee.

A/Prof. Jennifer MacLeod

A/Prof. Jennifer MacLeod

Head of School, School of Chemistry and Physics, Queensland University of Technology

Biography

Jennifer MacLeod has been working in surface science since 1999, when she joined Queen’s University (Kingston, Canada) to help design, build, commission and use an ultrahigh vacuum scanning tunnelling microscope. Her research focus at the time was on 1D nanostructures on semiconductors. She went on to join the Institute national de la researche scientifique (INRS) in Varennes, Quebec, where she expanded her research focus to self-assembled molecular architectures. After receiving a Natural Science and Engineering Research Council (NSERC) of Canada postdoctoral fellowship, she moved to the Universita degli Studi di Trieste, where she worked on instrumentation development for powder diffraction at Elettra Syncrotron. After returning to INRS for several years, in 2015 she joined QUT as a Senior Research Fellow in Surface Science. She was awarded an Australian Research Council (ARC) Discovery Early Career Research Award (DECRA) Fellowship in 2017, was promoted to Associate Professor in 2019, and in 2020 became the Head of School for Chemistry and Physics. Her current research interests include studying the chemical, structural, and electronic properties of molecular films, and controlling molecular reactions at surfaces.

Prof. Marcela Bilek

Prof. Marcela Bilek

Professor of Applied Physics and Surface Engineering, University of Sydney

Biography

Marcela Bilek is Professor of Applied Physics and Surface Engineering at the University of Sydney. Her research is encompasses both fundamental science and practical applications in materials physics and engineering, plasma deposition and processing, thin film materials, and cross-disciplinary research in the areas of biointerfaces and medicine. She pioneered plasma immersion ion implantation processes to activate surfaces for reagent-free, spontaneous covalent immobilisation of functional bioactive molecules. She holds a B.Sc. (Hons I) from the University of Sydney and a PhD from the University of Cambridge, UK. She has published over 300 peer-reviewed journal articles, 1 (now in its second edition) book, 6 book chapters and 13 patents. She has trained 33 PhD students, mentored 25 post-doctoral fellows and early career researchers. Honours and prizes include the Malcolm McIntosh Prize for Physical Scientist of the Year (2002); ARC Federation Fellowship (2003); Australian Academy of Science Pawsey Medal (2004); Australian Innovation Challenge Award (2011); ARC Future Fellowship (2012); the inaugural Plasma Surface Engineering Leading Scientist Award (2018) and an Australian Research Council Laureate Fellowship (2019-2024). She was elected to the Fellowships of the American Physical Society (APS), the American Vacuum Society (AVS) the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) in recognition of her work on plasma processes for materials modification and synthesis.