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. The reality is that defects can occur in any lattice and influence the materials mechanical, structural, and optical properties.
In this project you will use temperature sensitive colloidal systems to develop strategies to investigate defect formation and diffusion in colloidal crystals with quantitative confocal microscopy. These real-space experiments will be complemented with small angle x-ray scattering measurements. The research will involve experiments (colloidal synthesis, confocal microscopy, and x-ray scattering) and quantitative image analysis to visualize defects and local forces (using already available tools). The final aim is to gain new insights into the mechanisms of defect diffusion, defect interactions, and collective dynamics of defects on a single-particle level and to be able to relate the local defect dynamics to the global response in the crystalline materials.
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 the 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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