Merin Joseph is a PhD student from cohort 5 of SOFI-CDT. She is placed in Department of Applied Mathematics in University of Leeds. The main objective of her thesis is to investigate and design block copolymers that can phase separate to self assemble into stable quasicrystal structures. She completed her Masters in Physics from National Institute of Technology, Karnataka, India. Her research interests are :Non-linear Dynamics, Soft matter, Polymer physics, Pattern formation and tilings. In addition to research, she is also keen to participate in outreach activities.
For my PhD, we are inversitgating on phase separation of block copolymers with a motivation to find stable quasicrystalline structures. The discovery of quasicrystalline structures changed the understanding of crystalline structures. Finding quasicrystals in soft matter opened up paths to understanding the unlying principle behind the stability of these structures. Block copolymers being a designer material that can form a variety of morphologies seems to be the right place to verify the existing theoretical conditions for a stable quasicrystal. Polymer phase separation is studied using different theoretical frameworks Weak Segregation Theory(WST), Self Consistent Field Theory(SCFT) and Strong Segregation Theory(SST). In our work, we use WST to predict possible two-length scaled phase separation with length scale ratios compatible with quasicrystals. We are also combining SST with concepts of tilings to study the stability of phase-separated structures and produce phase spaces with quasicrystal morphology in it. This project directs to the ambition to develop experimentally valid design criteria that can spontaneously form stable quasicrystals.
- M.Sc Physics, National (2017), Institute of Technology Karnataka (NITK), Surathkal, India
- B. Sc Physcis (2015), Union Christian College Aluva, M G University Kottayam, India
Research groups and institutes
- Applied Mathematics
- Soft Matter Physics
- Colloid, Polymer and Crystallisation