New Approaches in the Engineering and Characterization of Macromolecular Interfaces Across the Length scales: Applications to Hydrophobic and Stimulus Responsive Polymers
Promotion date: 28 November 2007
It is about enhancing characterization and surface engineering approaches to test and control physico-chemical changes on specified polymers.
I looked into two kind of industrially applied polymers and also one stimulus responsive polymers. For example, low density polyethylene would be very useful if its surface energy could be increased. So we modified the surface with flame treatment, resulting in good hydrophilic properties.
Why do you want the polymer to be hydrophilic?
Hydrophilic properties is an advantage for nano technology purposes, for example in microfluidic applications, a decrease in the hydrophobicity of PDMS improves the wettability of aqueous solutions and leads to the reduction of air bubble nucleation in the microchannels. In addition, my research focused on comparing the characterization techniques of various polymers across different length scales, from nanoscale to micrometer scale to millimetre scale. Across the different length scales the properties change and show different behaviour.
Are you a chemist?
By background is chemical engineering. I am an engineer before I started my PhD study. Until now three publications were issued on the subject and I am planning the submit another three.
Where are you from?
I am from China, from Tianjin. I got my Master’s in National University of Singapore.
Professor Vancso is an invited scientist at that university and that is how the connection was made.
What did you think when you first came here?
It is a totally different environment. The people, the culture, the language are different.
Fortunately in Singapore I knew something of the Western culture. But on the whole it was a big change.
Did you like that?
Yes, I did. Of course I had help from supervisor and colleagues when I met problems.
What did you like best?
I think I have learned a lot from my professor and my colleagues on how to do the research work. I am happy I have a chance to study in an advanced research area. The other is that I had a chance to travel. I have been to many of the western European countries. And I had the opportunity to improve on my written English skills.
What didn’t you like?
Minor things only. The rain, the closing times of supermarkets and that kind of thing.
Now I am used to it.
What are your plans?
I will do a postdoc in the same group for another year. But in the long run I think I may go back to China and find a research job there.
For the summary of the thesis, click here