Molecular basis of the properties soft materials: (Callaghan, McGrath, Williams(B), Hendy)
Uniquely powerful state-of-the-art experimental tools built on pioneering research in rheo-NMR, the amalgamation of nuclear magnetic resonance and its capacity for molecular insight, with rheology, the science of mechanical deformation, provide the opportunity to monitor molecular properties and macroscopic consequences concurrently. Furthermore, recently developed diffusion-correlation, -exchange and -spectral-analysis methods have proven powerful in measuring bilayer dynamics and ordering in equilibrium lyotropic liquid crystal phases and are poised to extend our experimental insights regarding flow-induced reorganization in complex soft matter. In addition, the morphologies of self-assembling surfactant systems that form meso-scale structures such as bilayers (membranes), cylinders (worm-like micelles) and spherical structures (micelles), are being investigated using simulation techniques. In continuing work these results will now be supplemented with those obtained by small-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS), microscopy, laser diffraction, rheology and ellipsometric techniques to investigate the role of dynamic processes in emulsions and lyotropic liquid crystals.Mechanical properties of soft materialswill also be directly measured on multiple length- and time-scales by employing microrheological techniques using multiple particle tracking (MTP) and diffusing wave spectroscopy (DWS). In addition, a new optical tweezers set-up is being developed in order to provide unprecedented access into the non-linear regime as well as providing advanced single molecule stretching capabilities.