(6cs) Studying Soft Materials in- and out-of-Equilibrium Using Analytical and Numerical Field Theories | AIChE

(6cs) Studying Soft Materials in- and out-of-Equilibrium Using Analytical and Numerical Field Theories


Research Interests: Field theories have played an important role in polymer science, ever since the development of modern polymer physics as we know it. Powerful analytical techniques such as the random phase approximation, developed during those early years, still find great utility today despite vast improvements in computational power and efficiency which have understandably shifted much of the focus of polymer and soft materials research into the simulation domain. There is little doubt that state-of-the-art research in these areas, field-theoretic or otherwise, will continue to be largely computational in nature. However, it is important not to rely too heavily on computer simulations; one should also seek elegant and deep insights into the phenomena under study. For this latter objective, the classic analytical techniques, taught to us by Sam Edwards, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes and other pioneers of polymer field theory, are indispensable. The most significant conceptual advances are often made when theory and simulation work in concert.

My vision for a research program is one in which analytical and numerical field-theoretic techniques are used in tandem to address fundamental and applied problems in soft materials research. Through my Ph.D. and post-doctoral work, I have developed expertise in the construction and manipulation of classical statistical field theories, of both the equilibrium and dynamical kind, including the development of new field-theoretic techniques. This expertise will be leveraged in my research group to tackle new and challenging problems while ensuring that the analytical techniques of the polymer field theory tradition are handed down to the next generation of polymer and soft materials theorists. My particular research interests are in the structure and dynamics of complex fluids in which fluctuations/correlations play an important role. Examples include charged and polarizable systems such as (poly)electrolytes, (polymeric) ionic liquids, and salt-doped polymers. I am also broadly interested in the development of dynamical field theories for polymers that can incorporate electrostatic, hydrodynamic and entanglement effects. Such field theories could be an important step toward a computational framework in which phase diagrams that relate industrial melt processing variables to final morphologies are achievable.

Teaching Interests: For many years as a Ph.D. student, I developed and ran mandatory tutorial sessions as a teaching assistant for undergraduate physics courses, which were essentially mini-lectures designed to complement the main course lectures. The responsibilities included independently preparing lecture notes and quizzes. Through that experience I developed all of the essential skills required for a course lecturer. My background in Physics makes me particularly suitable for courses in Thermal Physics/Thermodynamics, Statistical Mechanics, Transport, Reaction Kinetics, Electromagnetism.