We are familiar with materials as solid, liquid and gaseous states. There is a fourth state of matter that exist between solid and liquid states known as a liquid crystal state. The aim of this project is to employ three dimensional liquid crystal structures to fabricate tuneable porous materials. Nanoporous materials usually consist of an organic or inorganic framework of porous structures. There has been a considerable interest to develop such functional systems due to their wide range of applications from energy storage to drug delivery to water treatment. The student will work on both engineering and understanding the Physics of soft porous materials based on liquid crystals and utilizing them for 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.