I am interested in theoretical soft condensed matter physics, which is the study of materials such as polymers, liquid crystals, surfactant solutions (micellar solutions and microemulsions), colloidal suspensions (ink, milk, foams, and emulsions), and fluids. The most intriguing property of these materials is their ability to self-assemble into complex organized structures from nanoscopic to macroscopic length scales. Typical examples are micelles (finite aggregates of amphiphiles) and block copolymer microstructures. The past 20 years has seen steady growth in understanding of the physical properties of these complex macromolecular materials. Nonetheless, exciting and challenging problems remain.
In the past years my research has been focused on the statistical mechanics of structures and phase transitions in systems containing polymers, surfactants, and colloids. Examples of my studies include the phases and phase transitions of block copolymer systems, theory of inhomogeneous polymer blends, theory of polyelectrolyte solutions, dynamics of reactive polymeric systems, and theory of polymerization kinetics.
Theory of phases and phase transition of soft matter, Self-assembly and morphology of block copolymers, Statistical mechanics of conformation of macromolecules, Theory of bilayer membranes
Dear Prospective Graduate Student,
My research is in the area of soft condensed matter physics, which is the study of materials such as polymers, liquid crystals, surfactant solutions, colloidal suspensions, and biomaterials. The vast territory of these soft materials extends to plastics, pharmaceuticals, foodstuffs, textiles, proteins, and blood. One of the most intriguing properties of these materials is their ability to self-assemble into complex organized structures. The self-assembly of periodic ordered structures has become the basis for developing new materials and devices, such as photonic band-gap materials, nanoporous membranes, nanowires and high-density information storage. The prediction, design and control of ordered or partially-ordered structures on the nanometer scale has become a central focus of the materials community and is an essential ingredient in the quest for ever more useful and inexpensive devices. Theorists support this endeavor by proposing new types of self-assembled structures and by developing methods of rational design. Furthermore, the self-assembly of soft materials provides a challenging fundamental problem in statistical mechanics.
Recently thermodynamic properties of block copolymer systems have become a paradigm for the study of self-assembly. Block copolymers are macromolecules composed of chemically different blocks tethered together, which spontaneously form a variety of ordered phases with domain sizes in nanometer range (1-100nm). Understanding the structures and phase transitions in block copolymers has been one of the most active research areas in polymer science in the past two decades. My research addresses two key questions, why certain ordered structures appear and how these structures behavior, using a variety of analytical and numerical techniques.
My research group consists of three to four graduate students. I will be able to take on one new graduate student starting in fall 2015. All the members in the group are involved in research topics in theoretical soft condensed matter physics. Collaboration within the group is strongly encouraged, although attention will be paid to the necessity of each student and post-doctoral fellow having their own core research problems.