Vitrimers: characterizing a new class of supramolecular materials and exploring their potential for novel applications

Supervisor(s)

Contact Dr Johan Mattsson to discuss this project further informally.

Project description

Supramolecular materials are based on fundamental molecular units that self assemble to form larger entities, such as clusters or networks. Both the fundamental units and their interactions can be designed to impart physical macroscopic properties including viscosity, mechanical rigidity or specific adhesion or transport characteristics. Advanced materials with highly tuneable and switchable properties can be produced that use triggers such as temperature, pH, pressure, optics or an applied electric or magnetic field.

This project is aimed at the design and physical characterisation of a new type of supramolecular materials, so called vitrimers. These are made from small molecule or polymeric units which link to form an interconnected network. Remarkably, for vitrimers the network strength given by the number of network nodes stays fixed even though external triggers can drive the rate at which local topological network rearrangements take place. The latter allow macroscopic shape changes (malleability) and controlled transport properties even though the network strength stays fixed. Advanced materials with highly tuneable and switchable properties can be produced that use triggers such as temperature, pH, pressure, optics or an applied electric or magnetic field.

This work is multidisciplinary and the successful candidate will be situated within the School of Physics, but work closely also with the School of Chemistry (where the novel vitrimers will be synthesised) and the School of Mathematics (theoretical models of the material response).

Entry requirements

Applications are invited from candidates with, or expecting, a minimum of a UK upper second class honours degree (2:1) in a relevant discipline, a Master's degree in a relevant discipline, or both.

If English is not your first language, you must provide evidence that you meet the University’s minimum English Language requirements.

How to apply

Formal applications for research degree study should be made online through the university's website. Please state clearly in the research information section that the PhD you wish to be considered for is 'Vitrimers: characterizing a new class of supramolecular materials and exploring their potential for novel applications' as well as Dr Johan Mattsson as your proposed supervisor.

We welcome scholarship applications from all suitably-qualified candidates, but UK black and minority ethnic (BME) researchers are currently under-represented in our Postgraduate Research community, and we would therefore particularly encourage applications from UK BME candidates. All scholarships will be awarded on the basis of merit.

If you require any further information please contact the Graduate School Office, e: maps.pgr.admissions@leeds.ac.uk