For the Polymer Physics course (5 ECTS within the CSE master's programme), Ellen Kiens did her final assignment so well that it resulted in a publication in the scientific journal Langmuir with her as (shared) first author. In doing so, she demonstrates an excellent link between education and research.
In the final assignment of the Polymer Physics course, students are challenged to solve a scientific problem in polymer physics using theory and molecular dynamics simulations. When polymer brushes and ungrafted polymer films are exposed to vapor, they swell. Ellen Kiens simulated the physics behind this swelling to solve a mismatch between theory and practice. In the literature, researchers reported that brushes swell more than ungrafted films, however, theoretically the opposite is expected.
In her simulations, Ellen showed that brushes indeed swell less than ungrafted films. To validate her results, Dr Sissi de Beer – teacher of the course Polymer Physics – helped Ellen validate her results with laboratory experiments. Those experiments, done by (pictured left to right) Maria Brio Perez, Lars Veldscholte and Guido Ritsema van Eck, confirmed Ellen’s results. Her work provides important new insights fort he design of vapor sensors and separation technologies. The total package of theory, simulations, laboratory experiments has been accepted for publication in Langmuir last week, with Ellen as a joined first author.
Ellen Kiens published her article titled Vapor Swelling of Polymer Brushes Compared to Nongrafted Films, in the scientific journal Langmuir. Langmuir is a leading journal in interfacial science and applications, focusing on the understanding and particularly the rational design of interfaces. She published together with Guido Ritsema, Lars Veldscholte, Maria Brio Perez and Dr Sissi de Beer.
Ellen Kiens graduated Cum Laude in March 2022 for both the Applied Physics and the Chemical Science and Engineering programs. After her graduation, she became a PhD candidate in the Inorganic Material Science (IMS) group.