Professor Eugene Terentjev
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| Representative research topics are formulated on the
BSS Research interests list. Most BSS publications are accessible on the searchable (and downloadable) database BSS Publications (which gets better and more comprehensive all the time).
My own public profile is on the ResearcherID link -- on the right. A few highlight papers/reviews are on offer on the Downloads link above, but they are getting hopelessly out of date.
With Mark Warner, we have written a monograph
"Liquid Crystal Elastomers". From the book's website you could download the first Chapter, called "The Bird's Eye View", which is an overview of the new physics arising in this field; the Appendices of
the paperback edition are also downloadable there.
See some illustrations of all this on the Pictorial page
(although that page is also getting old and pretty neglected, sadly...)
I am involved in a number of projects in a broad area of soft condensed matter and biological physics.
The list is long and changing all the time depending on the current fashion, unexpected
discovery, external collaboration, funding, or just a chance. However, a few areas are big enough and with a sufficiently long half-life:
Mechanics of cells and tissues. This area is being "revived" with the rise of Physics of Medicine (see above). We look theoretically at the mechanisms of mechano-sensitivity: how the cells and confluent tissues respond to changes in mechanical characteristics of their environment. A current experimental projects examines how fascia and other ligamentous tissue responds to strain: to maintain homeostasis there has to be an active recovery exerting a force higher than the one originally applied - but how is not yet clear.
Filaments and their networks. This is a broad area, inspired by biological filaments (e.g. amyloid fibrils, actin, or microtubules - but equally carbon nanotubes), which uses our expertise in polymer physics. Here the work is mostly theoretical, in collaboration with
single-molecule and cell-mechanics experiments in the BSS group. What is the kinetics of
filament growth? How is the buckling compression force depends on filament structure? How to
understand the ratchet nature of cell deformation from the underlying actin growth/buckling
dynamics? These are some of the questions we were working on recently.
Carbon Nanotube composites is a big area, where our key contribution lies
in (a) quantifying the ways of dispersing the tubes in a viscoelastic matrix and monitoring
the degree of dispersion, and (b) thermal and photo-actuation in these composites. The latter
is definitely a highlight of our lab: a significant, reversible stress or strain actuation (mechanical
response to heating or irradiation) has many exciting applications.
Chirality and Biopolymers is an old area of our interest. Again,
combining the theory and experiment (dynamic-mechanical and optical), we are trying to establish the
effects of molecular chirality and stereo-specific interactions (on the level of primary/secondary structure)
on the macroscopic response of polymers and their networks or aggregates structures.
Liquid crystalline elastomers are crosslinked or thermoplastic rubbery networks of polymer chains that possess a spontaneous orientational order (see some,
probably not up-to-date abstracts). The resulting effects are quite unique:
from the thermal and photo-actuation (artificial muscles), to the soft elasticity, to the quenched
random disorder and complicated dynamics - the
liquid crystal elastomers have a real claim to
be regarded as a new state of matter!...
Our group has a long history of theoretical and experimental studies
in this field and also a unique combination of capacities:
the very effective chemical synthesis facility, the advanced dynamic-mechanical and optical
experimental base and, most importantly, the full synergy between theory, physical
experiment and the chemistry.
Liquid crystalline colloids have been put on the map in recent years (see some,
probably not up-to-date abstracts).
Symmetry breaking in a liquid crystalline material leads to unusual structures and interaction forces when
they become a part of inhomogeneous colloidal system. The arrested dynamics of such systems, effects of
topological defects, the possibility to manipulate physical properties - are very important questions with a
large practical application potential.
My other interests in physics of polymers and liquid crystals mainly lie in topological defects,
kinetic theory, fluid dynamics of l.c. colloids or filled
l.c. polymers, as well as various issues of phase ordering, interactions, kinetics of mixtures and emulsions
with a symmetry-broken component. Experimentally, we are studying the rheology of complex fluid systems,
in particular, the response during phase transformations when new structures and internal constraints
emerge in the system.
Several possible PhD projects are available, in all of the above research
areas and in all three directions (theory, experiment and chemical synthesis),
for the start in October (check the Cavendish rules for
but contact me first for preliminary discussions). Remember, the official deadline
for PhD placements is in March, and it can only be bent in a limited way.
Links to some relevant Cavendish pages
Just in case you are wondering - we still live at 18 Hurrell Road, Cambridge CB4 3RH
This is now a site of Arbury Osteopathic Clinic, run by Helen Terentjev