Raman scattering is a spectroscopic technique that allows the order in liquid crystalline systems to be quantified. Interestingly, it is one of the few techniques that allow higher order terms in the order parameter expression to be determined. Our group has pioneered modifications to the approaches originally developed, and we are now in a position to revolutionise how Raman scattering might be used to understand ordered systems. This project will examine how we might use Raman scattering to provide a deep understanding of order in liquid crystal systems. The project will require excellent experimental skills and a good mathematical ability.
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.