Control over the structure of matter on multiple length scales is needed for the development of new materials with novel mechanical, optical or electronic functionalities.One of the most promising design strategies in material science is the fabrication of molecular, nanoparticle and colloidal building blocks which can spontaneously self-organize into larger complex superstructures. Such new materials find increasing use in many everyday applications, ranging from electronic devices, to coatings and paints, and to the food and drug industry.The reason that not all potential of these materials is exploited is that their preparation depends sensitively on directing the self-assembly of the building blocks into the desired predesigned structures. This project aims at visualizing the relationship between building block characteristics and order/disorder in these soft materials to understand and control the self-assembly process.
In this project you will investigate the role of anisotropy in colloidal building block shape and interactions on self-assembly processes induced by external cues, e.g. temperature and light. For this you will synthesize the required colloids and investigate the systems with high resolutions confocal laser scanning microscopy. You will develop quantitative anisotropic particle tracking routines to explore nucleation and growth of superstructures and to reveal the role of orientational and translational degrees of freedom. You will further explore the self-assembly kinetics and pathways and asses when disordered and meta-stable phases arise in dense systems. The final aim is to obtain new insights into the fundamental processes and general design rules that govern the self-assembly of anisotropic colloidal building blocks.
You will be part of the newly established Experimental Soft Matter group of Dr. Janne-Mieke Meijer, which is embedded in the Department of Applied Physics and the Institute for Complex Molecular Systems. The group works in close collaboration with Theory of Polymers and Soft Matter group, the Self-Organizing Soft Matter group, and the Physical Chemistry group. The group focusses on experimental investigations of complex colloidal systems to discover the fundamental principles of how building block design influences self-organization and how to control the assembly process to engineer new materials.
Do you recognize yourself in this profile and would you like to know more? Please contact Janne-Mieke Meijer, j.meijer1[at]tue.nl
For information about terms of employment, please contact HR, hrservices.flux[a]tue.nl
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