Are you a highly motivated physicist with a strong interest in soft active matter and statistical mechanics? We are seeking an excellent and ambitious PhD candidate to carry out interdisciplinary research on mechanical properties of active polymer-like matter which combines experiments and simulations.
A grand challenge in active matter physics is to understand the beautiful yet complex collective phenomena emerging in large social assemblies, such as in ant rafts, fish schools, bird flocks, human crowds, and swarms of robots. The interplay between self-drive (activity) and interactions of constituents leads to novel collective properties with no counterparts in equilibrium systems. Despite encouraging theoretical advances, understanding the emergent collective properties of realistic active systems beyond toy models remains challenging. For instance, some types of worms and ants with flexible bodies form entangled aggregates that cannot be explained without invoking their internal dynamics. Here, we propose a joint experimental-theoretical research project that aims at understanding this novel aspect of active matter by addressing the following question: What novel mechanical properties emerge from the interplay between activity, internal dynamics and topological entanglements in dense active polymer-like matter?
This project will be carried out in a collaborative setting under joint supervision of Dr. Sara Jabbari-Farouji and Dr. Antoine Deblais at the Institute of Physics (IoP), comprised of an exciting team of researchers with a strong emphasis on a feedback loop between experiment and theory. Building on computational and experimental expertise in our groups, you will combine coarse-grained molecular dynamics simulations with rheology of worms to uncover the effect of activity on the mechanical properties of entangled active polymer-like matter. What are you going to do?
You are expected to do an original and fundamental research on collective behavior of active polymers combining computational and experimental work.
- Perform Brownian dynamics of active filaments potentially combined with theory.
- Design, use and built non-standard experiments to investigate the mechanics of living Tubifex tubifex worms under various conditions.
- Attend group meetings and present your results in seminars.
- Present your results in international workshops and conferences.
- Take part in the teaching efforts, including supervision of Bachelor and Master students.