Topological and structural science

Many biologically and technologically important materials ranging from oil-bearing rocks to printing paper have a highly intricate structure involving interconnected labyrinths of pores. The School has several research programs studying the flow properties of these disordered porous media. Improved understanding of the physics of such processes has applications ranging from the petrochemical industries to the design of bubble jet printer inks and papers. The School is a major partner in the CRC for Functional Communication Surfaces. A strong theoretical team and novel experimental facilities such as ultra high resolution computed tomography come together to make the School a leader in this area.

RSPE also undertakes research aimed at understanding the enigmatic processes of long range ordering and self assembly, which for example, enables animals like the sea urchin to construct a skeleton out of polycrystalline elements which collectively exhibit some single crystal properties. Biomineralisation has also many potential commercial applications such as the production of low temperature super ceramics as well as wider scientific implications such as the search for Martian life.

Potential student research projects

You could be doing your own research into topological and structural science. Below are some examples of student physics research projects available in our school.

Wood-based mechanical metamaterials

The field of mechanical metamaterials is a fast-developing research domain, here the project aims at studying and developping wood-based and wood-inspired metamaterials.

Associate Professor Nicolas Francois, Dr Mohammad Saadatfar, Professor Mark Knackstedt

Tomography of dynamic processes (3D movies)

Generating 3D volumes, i.e., tomography, of an object as it changes over time  (or evolves) is a challenging problem. The ability to achieve this would reveal new information and understanding of many dynamic processes.

Dr Andrew Kingston, Prof Adrian Sheppard, Dr Glenn Myers

Nonlinear topological photonics

The project bridges the fundamental physics of topological phases with nonlinear optics. This promising synergy is expected to unlock advanced functionalities for applications in optical sources, frequency combs, isolators and multiplexers, switches and modulators, both for classical and quantum light. 

Dr Daria Smirnova

Please browse our full list of available physics research projects to find a student research project that interests you.