Author Archive

2019 Soft Matter Lectureship Awarded to Professor Tim White

It is with great pleasure that we announce Prof. Tim White (University of Colorado Boulder, USA) as the recipient of the 2019 Soft Matter Lectureship.

Professor Tim WhiteTim White completed his PhD at the University of Iowa.  Thereafter he went on to become a Senior Research Engineer at the Air Force Research Laboratory in the US.  In July, Tim was appointed as the Gallogly Professor of Engineering at the University of Colorado Boulder where he has founded the Responsive and Programmable Materials Group.

His current research activities are broadly focused on harnessing stimuli response in liquid crystalline materials to realize shape transformation or optical reconfiguration.

Tim will give his lecture and receive his certificate at the International Soft Matter Conference in Edinburgh in June.

 

To learn more about Tim’s research read some of his Soft Matter papers below

Polymer stabilization of cholesteric liquid crystals in the oblique helicoidal state
Mariacristina Rumi,  Timothy J. Bunning  and  Timothy J. White
Soft Matter, 2018,14, 8883-8894

Blue-shifting tuning of the selective reflection of polymer stabilized cholesteric liquid crystals
Kyung Min Lee,  Vincent P. Tondiglia,  Nicholas P. Godman,  Claire M. Middleton  and  Timothy J. White
Soft Matter, 2017,13, 5842-5848

Voxel resolution in the directed self-assembly of liquid crystal polymer networks and elastomers
Benjamin A. Kowalski,  Vincent P. Tondiglia,  Tyler Guin  and  Timothy J. White
Soft Matter, 2017,13, 4335-4340

Photosensitivity of reflection notch tuning and broadening in polymer stabilized cholesteric liquid crystals
Kyung Min Lee,  Vincent P. Tondiglia  and  Timothy J. White
Soft Matter, 2016,12, 1256-1261

 

Thank you to everyone who nominated a candidate for the Lectureship; we received many excellent nominations, and the Editorial Board had a difficult task in choosing between some outstanding candidates.

Please join us in congratulating Tim on his award!

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Spotlight on Anderson Shum: 2017 Soft Matter Emerging Investigator

This week’s issue of Soft Matter is our 2019 Emerging Investigators issue, which contains articles from soft matter researchers in the early stages of their independent careers and is accompanied by an Editorial from Editor-in-Chief Professor Darrin Pochan. To celebrate this issue we are delighted to feature the profile of Professor Anderson Shum, who published in our 2017 Emerging Investigators issue. Below, Anderson talks about his research journey, from student to Associate Professor, and his feelings towards Soft Matter!

 

 Professor Anderson Shum“I started my scientific career as a student working on photocatalysis of titanium in the summer at Technion after my high school, and assembly of surfactants onto metallic substrates during my undergraduate studies at Princeton. All of these helped cultivate a deep interest in topics relevant to Soft Matter. I was initially excited by soft matter areas because of the pretty microscopic pictures that you can see. Afterwards, I was intrigued by the set of tools that emerge, such as microfluidics, for manipulating soft matter systems. Recently, I am becoming more convinced how findings in soft matter can benefit a plethora of applications, ranging from food to biomedicine.

The journal, Soft Matter, addresses all of these interesting topics, and reports the latest discoveries and applications, always showcasing some fascinating pictures and explaining new science in an easy-to-understand manner. The articles often contain very illustrative figures and schematics that elucidate an otherwise difficult concept to understand. Soft Matter sets itself apart from many journals, as it can be a relaxing and enjoyable read. Currently, most, if not all, of my research hinges on some aspects of soft matter science, probably because of its ability to keep the interests of mine and my students’ high.“

 

Read Anderson’s Soft Matter papers below!

1. Coalescence of electrically charged liquid marbles Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 119-124 (Emerging Investigators 2017 Issue)

2. Partitioning-dependent conversion of polyelectrolyte assemblies in an aqueous two-phase system Soft Matter, 2018, 14, 1552-1558

3. Capillary micromechanics for core–shell particles Soft Matter, 2014, 10, 3271-3276

4. Engineering polymeric composite particles by emulsion-templating: thermodynamics versus kinetics Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 9780-9784

These articles are all  FREE to read and download until the 20th March

 

Biography

Anderson Ho Cheung Shum received his B.S.E. degree in chemical engineering from Princeton University, S.M. and Ph.D. in applied physics from Harvard University. He is currently an Associate Professor in the Department of Mechanical Engineering and the Biomedical Engineering Programme in the University of Hong Kong. His research interests include microfluidics, microscaled fluid flows, emulsion-templated materials and soft matter.

 Anderson was a HK nominee for the 2017 APEC Science Prize for Innovation, Research and Education (ASPIRE Prize), and an awardee for the Early Career Award by the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong in 2012, HKU Outstanding Young Researcher Award 2016-17, silver medal in 46th International Exhibition of Inventions (Geneva, Switzerland) in 2018 and IEEE Nanomed 2018 New Innovator in 2018. He was selected to join The Royal Society of Chemistry as a fellow in 2017 and The Young Academy of Science of Hong Kong as a founding member in 2018. He is a top 1% scholar by Clarivate Analytics’s Essential Science Indicators in 2018. He is an Associate Editor for Biomicrofluidics (American Institute of Physics (AIP), starting January 2019), Editorial Board member for Scientific Reports (Nature Publishing Group) and an Editorial Advisory Board member for Lab-on-a-Chip (Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)).

 

 

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Spotlight on LaShanda Korley: 2017 Soft Matter Emerging Investigator

This week’s issue of Soft Matter is our 2019 Emerging Investigators issue, which contains articles from soft matter researchers in the early stages of their independent careers and is accompanied by an Editorial from Editor-in-Chief Professor Darrin Pochan. In order to celebrate this issue, we are delighted to feature the profile of Professor LaShanda Korley, who published in our 2017 Emerging Investigators issue. Below, LaShanda discusses her research from the issue and how it fits into her overall research interests.

Professor LaShanda Korley“Biomimicry is the underlying theme of my research program. We apply bio-inspired principles towards the design of responsive and mechanically-tunable polymeric systems.  This strategy is highly interdisciplinary, integrating many aspects of soft matter chemistry, physics, biology, and engineering.   Soft Matter is an ideal publication platform for this research, from the unique scope of the journal to the breadth of reviewer expertise. In the 2017 Emerging Investigator issue, hygromorphic, bilayer actuator composites inspired by seed pods were highlighted, combining concepts of interfacial assembly, transport, and manufacturing in active and passive soft components.1 This fundamental investigation was translated to the design of hygromorphic materials with aligned, active elements for controlled actuation.2 Other biomimetic avenues explored by my research team have also been published in Soft Matter, including peptide hybrid materials,3 templating in multilayered films4, and molecular gel assembly in polymer composites.5  As Director of the NSF PIRE: Bio-inspired Materials and Systems, I also lead an interdisciplinary team of US and Swiss researchers that are inspired by natural materials, such as the sea cucumber, caddisfly silk, and the extracellular matrix, towards the design of dynamic and tunable materials for soft robotics.”

 

Read LaShanda’s Soft Matter papers below!

1. Tunable hygromorphism: structural implications of low molecular weight gels and electrospun nanofibers in bilayer composites Soft Matter2017, 13, 283-291 (Emerging Investigators 2017 Issue)

2. Programming shape and tailoring transport: advancing hygromorphic bilayers with aligned nanofibers Soft Matter, 2017, 13, 5589 – 5596

3. Enhanced mechanical pathways through nature’s building blocks: amino acids Soft Matter, 2012, 8, 11431-11442

4. Thin film confinement of a spherical block copolymer via forced assembly co-extrusion Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 4381-4385

5. Mechanical enhancement via self-assembled nanostructures in polymer nanocomposites Soft Matter, 2011, 7, 2449 – 2455

These papers are all currently FREE to read and download until 20th March

 

Biography
LaShanda T.J. Korley recently joined the Departments of Materials Science and Engineering, and Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering at the University of Delaware as a Distinguished Associate Professor.  Previously, she held the Climo Associate Professorship of Macromolecular Science and Engineering at Case Western Reserve University, where she started her independent career in 2007. Her research program involves utilizing design rules from Nature in the development of mechanically-enhanced and tunable materials. She is the PI of the NSF PIRE: Bio-inspired Materials and Systems.

She received a B.S. in both Chemistry & Engineering from Clark Atlanta University, and a B.S. in Chemical Engineering from the Georgia Institute of Technology in 1999.  Dr. Korley completed her Ph.D. at MIT in Chemical Engineering and the Program in Polymer Science and Technology in 2005. LaShanda Korley was a Provost’s Academic Diversity Postdoctoral Fellow at Cornell in the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering.

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2018 Soft Matter Lectureship awarded to Susan Perkin at STMG 2019

Professor Susan Perkin (University of Oxford, UK) was presented the Soft Matter 2018 Lectureship award  at the Annual Meeting of the Statistical Mechanics & Thermodynamics Group by Dr Neil Hammond, Executive Editor for Soft Matter.

Susan Perkin awarded Soft Matter Prize

Professor Perkin (left) with Executive Editor Dr Hammond (right)

The meeting, which was held in Manchester on the 9th – 11th January, aimed to bring together experimental and modelling/theory groups to discuss industrial and academic challenges related to electrolytes solutions.

Please join us in congratulating Susan on winning this award!

 

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Nominations for the 2019 Soft Matter Lectureship are now open!

Do you know an early-career researcher who deserves recognition for their contribution to the soft matter field?

Now is your chance to put them forward for the accolade they deserve!

Soft Matter is pleased to announce that nominations are now being accepted for its 2019 Lectureship award. This annual award was established in 2009 to honour an early-stage career scientist who has made a significant contribution to the soft matter field.

The recipient of the award will be asked to present a lecture in 2019, where they will also be presented with the award. The Soft Matter Editorial Office will provide financial support to the recipient for travel and accommodation costs.

The recipient will also be asked to contribute a lead article to the journal and will have their work showcased free of charge on the front cover of the issue in which their article is published.

 

Susan Perkin awarded Soft Matter Prize

Professor Perkin (left) being presented with the award by Dr Hammond, Executive Editor (right)

Previous winners

2018 – Susan Perkin, University of Oxford, UK

2017 – Daeyeon Lee, University of Pennsylvania, USA

2016 – Damien Baigl, Ecole Normale Supérieure, Paris, France

2015 – Lucio Isa, ETH Zürich, Switzerland

2014 – Eric Dufresne, Yale Univeristy, USA

2013 – Eric Furst, University of Delaware, USA

2012 – Patrick Doyle, MIT, USA

2011 – Michael J. Solomon, University of Michigan, USA

2010 – Bartosz Grzybowski, UNIST, Republic of Korea

2009 – Emanuela Zaccarelli, University of Rome, Italy

 

Eligibility

To be eligible for the lectureship, candidates should meet the following criteria:

  • Be an independent researcher, having completed PhD and postdoctoral studies
  • Be actively pursuing research within the soft matter field, and have made a significant contribution to the field
  • Be at an early stage of their independent career (this should be within 12 years of attaining their doctorate or equivalent degree, but appropriate consideration will be given to those who have taken a career break or followed an alternative study path)

Although the Soft Matter Lectureship doesn’t explicitly reward support of or contributions to the journal, candidates with no history of either publishing in or refereeing for the journal would typically not be considered.

Selection

  • Eligible nominated candidates will be notified of their nomination, and will be asked to provide 3 recent articles that they feel represent their current research.
  • All eligible nominated candidates will be assessed by a shortlisting panel, made up of members of the Soft Matter Advisory Board and a previous lectureship winner.
  • The shortlisting panel will consider the articles provided by the candidates as well as their CVs and letters of nomination.
  • Shortlisted candidates will be further assessed by the Soft Matter Editorial Board, and a winner will be selected based on an anonymous poll.
  • Selection is not based simply on quantitative measures. Consideration will be given to all information provided in the letter of recommendation and candidate CV, including research achievements and originality, contributions to the soft matter community, innovation, collaborations and teamwork, publication history, and engagement with Soft Matter.

Nominations

  • Nominations must be made via email to softmatter-rsc@rsc.org, and should include a short CV and a brief letter of nomination.
  • Self-nomination is not permitted.
  • Nominators do not need to be senior researchers, and we encourage nominations from people at all career levels.
  • As part of the Royal Society of Chemistry, we believe we have a responsibility to promote inclusivity and accessibility in order to improve diversity. Where possible, we encourage each nominator to consider nominating candidates of all genders, races, and backgrounds.
  • Candidates outside of the stated eligibility criteria may still be considered.
  • Nomination letters should be up to 1 page in length. They should particularly highlight contributions that the nominee has made to the field as an independent researcher, and any career breaks or alternative career paths that should be taken into consideration by the judging panel. Nomination of one candidate by multiple people in the same letter is accepted.

Nominations should be submitted no later than 15th December 2018.

 

 

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Congratulations to the Soft Matter Poster Prizewinners at the 3rd Edwards Symposium

The Edwards Symposium series is a series of annual conferences on soft matter research areas, run as a collaboration between the Turing Gateway to Mathematics, Unilever and the Edwards Centre for Soft Matter. This year’s symposium focused on microscale fluid dynamics, jamming and flow, soft interfaces and responsive and programmable soft matter. One hundred delegates attended the symposium representing both academia and industry.

Soft Matter was proud to sponsor three poster prizes, presented by Professor Tom McLeish (University of York). All winners will receive a subscription to the journal and affiliate membership to the Royal Society of Chemistry for one year.

Shari Patricia Finner (Eindhoven University of Technology) won for her poster presentation titled Conducting Plastics! – Geometric percolation in liquid crystals

Surabhi Kottgegollahalli (IISER Pune) won for her poster presentation titled Computing with Droplets

Deepika Srivastva (Johannes Gutenberg University Mainz) won for her poster presentation titled Flow Behaviour of Chain and Star Polymers and their Mixtures.

 

Award winners at the 3rd Edwards Symposium

From left to right Deepika Srivastva, Professor Tom McLeish, Shari Patricia Finner and Surabhi Kottgegollahalli

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Ideal reversible polymer networks

Ideal reversible polymer networks have well-controlled network structures and totally reversible crosslinks. They have similarly controlled polymer network structures as ideal covalent polymer networks but they exhibit time-dependent mechanical properties (i.e. viscoelasticity) due to the presence of reversible crosslinks that can associate and dissociate.

10.1039/C8SM00646F

Researchers at MIT have provided a new insight into the mechanical properties of ideal reversible polymer networks. They use a 4-arm equal-length short-chain polymer as a unit (as shown in the figure above) to build up the reversible polymer network which can, therefore, be modeled as springs and dashpots in series. Based on this assumption, they theoretically and experimentally showed that the viscoelasticity of ideal reversible polymer networks follows the Maxwell model (G(t) = vekBT exp(kt), in which ve is the concentration of elastically-active chains, kBT is the thermal energy scale). This can be characterized by instantaneous shear modulus (G0= vekBT, which can be tuned by varying concentration, molecular weight, pH, and temperature) and relaxation time (t = 1/k, which can be tuned by pH and temperature).

This study provides a simple yet general method to design the viscoelasticity of polymer networks and to quantitatively measure their kinetic properties. This work develops our understanding of reversible-crosslinked polymers in various systems and provides an insight into how researchers can tune their properties.

 

Read the full article here:  Ideal reversible polymer networks Soft Matter, 2018,14, 5186-5196

 

About the Writer

Dr Xingcai ZhangDr. Xingcai Zhang is a Harvard SEAS Fellow at Harvard University. He was a postdoc researcher at MIT/SYSU. His expertise includes chemistry, bionanomaterials, bionanomedicine, nanotea, natural products, carbon/polymer/natural/two-dimensional materials for biomed/catalysis/absoption/energy applications. Dr. Zhang serves as an Associate Editor for a Springer Nature journal and is on the Advisory Board of a Wiley cancer journal and an editor of a cancer journal. Some of Dr. Zhang`s publications can be found at: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7114-1095 and Google Scholar  and he can be reached at xingcai@mit.edu and mylovetea@outlook.com

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2018 Soft Matter Lectureship Awarded to Susan Perkin

It is with great pleasure that we announce Prof. Susan Perkin (University of Oxford, UK) as the recipient of the 2018 Soft Matter Lectureship.

Susan Perkin graduated with a First in Chemistry from St. John’s College, Oxford (with a St. John’s College Academic Scholarship), then received her DPhil in 2006 studying with Jacob Klein. She moved to UCL in London in 2007 where she set up a laboratory and research group to work on ionic liquids and liquid interfaces. In 2012 she returned to the Faculty of Chemistry at Oxford and she is currently an Associate Professor of Physical Chemistry and Fellow of Trinity College, University of Oxford.

Her current interests include electrostatics in concentrated electrolytes and ionic liquids, molecular mechanisms of friction and lubrication, field effects on confined liquids, graphene surface forces, and controlling surface properties through the design of switchable thin films.

In the past few years Susan has been awarded a Starting Grant from the ERC, the Harrison-Meldola Memorial Prize from the Royal Society of Chemistry, and a Philip Leverhulme Prize from The Leverhulme Trust.

 

To learn more about Susan’s research read some of her publications in our sister journals:

Underscreening in concentrated electrolytes
Alpha A. Lee,  Carla S. Perez-Martinez,  Alexander M. Smith  and  Susan Perkin
Faraday Discuss., 2017, 119, 239-259

Ionic liquids in confined geometries
Susan Perkin
Phys. Chem. Chem. Phys., 2012,14, 5052-5062

Long range electrostatic forces in ionic liquids
Matthew A. Gebbie,  Alexander M. Smith,  Howard A. Dobbs,  Alpha A. Lee,  Gregory G. Warr,  Xavier Banquy,  Markus Valtiner,  Mark W. Rutland,  Jacob N. Israelachvili,  Susan Perkin  and  Rob Atkin
Chem. Commun., 2017,53, 1214-1224

Thank you to everyone who nominated a candidate for the Lectureship; we received many excellent nominations, and the Editorial Board had a difficult task in choosing between some outstanding candidates.

Please join us in congratulating Susan on her award!

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Magnetic Steering of Soft Liquid Metal Machines

Gallium-based liquid metals are a family of unique materials with remarkably low melting points (~15.5 ℃). They remain liquid at room temperature and can conform to their surrounding environment, making them an ideal candidates for producing soft machines. Soft machines can move forward and pass through barriers by ingeniously adapting their bodies to the surrounding environment. Therefore, soft machines have advantages over their rigid counterparts, for applications in confined space and on rough terrains.

To investigate the potential of liquid metal (eutectic gallium indium) for soft machine uses, researchers from Xi’an Jiaotong University, China described a magnetic scenario to effortlessly and precisely control the motion of liquid metal-based soft machines. The soft machine was powered by micro-scale magnetic beads embedded inside the liquid metal. When the magnetic field was on, the beads quickly responded to it, moved to the boundary of the liquid metal and dragged the liquid metal to move in any direction, as guided by the applied magnetic field.  The moving speed of the soft liquid metal machine could be well modulated in a certain range. Interestingly, once the soft machine was no longer required, its movability was stopped by extracting the embedded “engine” (the magnetic beads) with a simple fast move of the magnet. In addition, the ability to perform in various environments (on a solid surface and in water) ensures this magnetic method can be a versatile way to steer liquid metal machines.

Magnetic Steering of Soft Liquid Metal Machines

Figure 1. Magnetic steering of soft liquid metal machines. (a) Schematic illustration of the fabrication and motion of liquid metal machines. (b, c) Liquid metal machine locomotion for on paper (b) and in water (c) cases under magnetic control.

 

The liquid metal is unique in combining liquid-like fluidity and metal-like electrical conductivity, so soft machines based on liquid metal are quite promising for electronic applications. To uncover this potential, the group designed such liquid metal machines as elements for healing paper-based flexible electronics. In their experimental demonstrations, liquid metal machines were driven by a magnetic field to reconnect the open circuit of an AND-OR logic circuit by gluing the isolated electrodes together.

This research offers a novel route to control the steering motion of liquid metal mobiles and gearing soft machines with easy accessibility and direct control. This can inspire those working on magnetics to explore new application realms for magnetic actuation.

Magnetic steering of liquid metal mobiles Soft Matter, 2018, Advance Article. DOI: 10.1039/C8SM00056E

Read this article for FREE until 8 May

 

About the web writer

Dr Xingcai ZhangDr. Xingcai Zhang is a Harvard SEAS Fellow at Harvard University. He was a postdoc researcher at MIT/SYSU. His expertise includes chemistry, bionanomaterials, bionanomedicine, nanotea, natural products, carbon/polymer/natural/two-dimensional materials for biomed/catalysis/absoption/energy applications. Dr. Zhang serves as an Associate Editor for a Springer Nature journal and is on the Advisory Board of a Wiley cancer journal and an editor of a cancer journal. Some of Dr. Zhang`s publications can be found at: http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7114-1095 and he can be reached at xingcai@mit.edu and mylovetea@outlook.com

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Congratulations to Soft Matter Prizewinners at Polymer Gels Symposium

The 29th Society of Polymer Science Japan (SPSJ) – Research Group on Polymer Gels Symposium was held at the Tokyo Institute of Technology on the 11th & 12th January. Soft Matter was proud to sponsor two awards at this symposium and both winners will receive one years free subscription to Soft Matter!

Takumi Watanabe (Shinshu University) won the Soft Matter Presentation Award for his presentation titled ‘Polystyrene-Composited Microgels Prepared in the Presence on Polyelectrolyte Microgels’.

Takeshi Fujiyabu (The University of Tokyo) won the Soft Matter Poster Award,  for his Poster Presentation titled ‘Comparison of Three Diffusion Coefficients Describing Dynamics of Polymer Gel’.

 

Prof Furukawa with Soft Matter award winners Takumi Watanabe and Takeshi Fujiyabu

Prof Furukawa (central) with Soft Matter award winners Takumi Watanabe (left) and Takeshi Fujiyabu (right)

Congratulations to both Award Winners!

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