In recent years, there has been a considerable interest in understanding biaxiality in liquid crystal phases formed by low molecular weight materials. This is due to the possibility of superfast electro-optic switching modes in such systems. However, a number of fundamental questions need to be successfully addressed before the speed advantage of biaxial modes can be used in applications. The project will involve a systematic investigation of a number liquid crystal systems including molecules of novel architectures as candidates for superfast switching devices. The work will explore developing novel materials which exhibit phase biaxiality, understanding physical properties including ferro/antiferroelectricity, elastic and dielectric properties, order parameters and utilizing the developed materials for device applications. Research involving liquid crystals in the School of Physics and Astronomy at Leeds is primarily experimental. We are interested in understanding structures of self-organizing fluids – liquid crystals – and the influence of the order on the bulk structures. Controlling the order and defects by surface structures is also a key interest in the group. We work on novel materials supplied by world-leading chemists and our research is truly interdisciplinary. During the course of a PhD project, a variety of experimental and device fabrication techniques will be employed offering an excellent practical training to the PhD student. Data are analysed in the context of relevant theories and computer modeling is used to both understand the systems and to predict behaviour. Overall, the student will obtain a thorough training in experimental techniques, optics, functional materials and photonic devices, giving them an excellent background for a career in research.