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Liquid crystal microfluidics

Project Description

Liquid crystals (LCs) have been a source of fascinatingly abundant physics for more than a century. Because of their capacity to reorient, also in response to external fields, LCs are used in a wide range of applications: from the ubiquitous electronic displays, to microlasers and lubricants. LCs are ubiquitous in biological settings. Nucleic acids, proteins, carbohydrates and fats exhibit liquid-crystalline mesophases. Hydrodynamic flow of a LC is a fundamental perturbation of its equilibrium properties which is manifested in the interplay of preferential orientation, surface anchoring, topological defects, and flow velocity.
Microfluidics of LCs offers extraordinary possibilities for the manipulation of fluids at the mesoscale. The student will develop and apply theoretical and computational methods to study how confinement induces non-uniform orientational order, self-organization of topological defects, and interactions between defect topologies and colloids. This last feature can be used for the transport and delivery of microcargos.

The student will join an interdisciplinary group that focuses on nonequilibrium statistical mechanics. We are seeking an outstanding, industrious student with a background in physics, applied mathematics, or related fields. Prior experience on computer programming is not necessary, but mastering languages like C and python will be key to the success of the project.


Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in physics, applied mathematics, or related subjects.
A relevant Master's degree and / or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: statistical physics, soft matter, hydrodynamics, molecular dynamics simulations.
Preferred start date: 1st October

Funding Notes

UK/EU Fee band * Research Band 1 Classroom Based (£TBC)
International Fee band * Research Band 1 Classroom Based (£16,000)

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