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Wetting and Microfluidic Flow of Liquid Crystal Droplets

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

Liquid crystals (LCs) are fascinating materials as they feature properties between those of simple liquids and solid crystals. They have been often referred to as the fourth state of matter and ushered in a technological revolution due to their unique capability of modulating visible light. The potential for technological applications is far from being exhausted as new areas emerge constantly, such as LC-based integrated lab-on-a-chip devices, micro- and optofluidic systems as well as biosensors.

In this project we want to investigate the flow and wetting behaviour of liquid crystalline droplets [1] close to functional surfaces and in micrometre-sized flow geometries. It will be carried out in a collaboration between the Department of Physics and the Department of Mathematics and Statistics at the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow and use a combination of computational methods [2] and analytical theory [3]. The outcome will be interesting from a fundamental point of view, but be also highly relevant for ink-jet printing processes that are used by manufacturers of liquid crystal displays.

Key research directions include: Topological defects in droplets in flight or in suspended droplets; Impact of droplets on substrates and defect annealing; Equilibrium shapes and order structure of droplets on functional substrates.

The ideal candidate will have a 1st class honours degree or equivalent in Physics, Mathematics or a related subject and experience in soft matter physics, numerical analysis and computational fluid dynamics, such as the lattice-Boltzmann method. Programming experience in C/C++ as well as familiarity with high-performance computing are also highly desirable.

Funding Notes

Scholarships (fees and stipend) available on a competitive basis for UK/EU students. Please contact supervisor for details ().


[1] M. Urbanski, C.G. Reyes, J.H. Noh, A. Sharma, Y. Geng, V.S. Jampani and J.P. Lagerwall, J. Phys. Condens. Matter 29, 133003 (2017).
[2] K. Stratford, O. Henrich, J. Lintuvuori, D. Marenduzzo, M.E. Cates, Self-Assembly of Colloid-Cholesteric Composites: A Route to Switchable Optical Materials, Nat. Comm. 5, 3954 (2014).
[3] P.G. de Gennes, J. Prost, The Physics of Liquid Crystals, Oxford University Press, 2nd editon (2002).

How good is research at University of Strathclyde in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 27.00

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

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