Dr. MacRae is a senior principal research scientist with the Commonwealth Science Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO), based in Victoria, Australia, where he began his long and prolific
career. His earliest research at CSIRO involved using automated mapping of composition using SEM and electron microprobe instruments to solve various industrial and mineral resource problems.
Not one to shy away from technical challenges and complex microanalysis problems, he helped to accomplish the first integration of a field emission microprobe with multiple solid state silicon drift detectors for simultaneous, multi-element mapping. Over the course of his career, he has worked on the microanalysis and description of over 25 new minerals, many of which were technically challenging due to their significant water content.
Dr. MacRae has been central to the growth of cathodoluminescence (CL) and soft X-ray emission spectroscopy (SXES) as important microanalytical tools integrated in electron microscopes. He and his team at CSIRO have almost singlehandedly brought back CL spectroscopy to the forefront of microanalysis through innovative technical design and improvement, development of the publicly available CL Luminescence database (luminescence.csiro .au/luminescence) and analysis software, and organizing the popular Cathodoluminescence 2011 topical conference for the MAS. Most recently, he has been working to incorporate CL, SXES, and EDS within a single liquid-N2-cooled electron microprobe instrument.
Dr. MacRae has been heavily involved with microanalysis societies throughout his career, being past president of the Australian Microbeam Analysis Society for over a decade, and he currently sits on the board of the International Union of Microbeam Analysis Societies (IUMAS).