Understanding surface waves on thin polymer films
Recent work undertaken within the department of Physics and Astronomy at the University of Sheffield suggests that, when a thin film of a glassy polymer undergoes a phase transition there exists a highly motile layer at the surface. However there is still significant debate within the research community as to whether this ultrathin layer exists.
A PhD student working on this project will use a combination of experimental techniques, including ellipsometry, atomic force microscopy and phase contrast microscopy, to further our understanding of this thermodynamic process. Alongside this the student will work alongside theorists within the group to develop a model to describe the phase transition process of different thin polymer films.