Postdoctoral position : Control of the early stage of polymer crystallization to design new materials

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Coordinators : Matthieu Labousse (CNRS & Lab. Gulliver) & Ludwik Leibler (Distinguished Professor at ESPCI Paris & Lab. Gulliver).
Contacts : matthieu.labousse (arobase) & ludwik.leibler (arobase)
site web preferably fall 2021.

Key words : Polymers physics, crystallization, molecular dynamics.
We learn in textbooks that liquid crystallizes into ordered or glassy structure depending on the cooling rate. In contrast, polyamide, polyethylene and many other polymers crystallize in a state which is a mix of both : locally-ordered crystallites separated by a glassy phase.
Despite its tremendous industrial importance and decades of investigations, the mechanisms at stake during the chain’s crystallization is still (astonishingly !) an unresolved question even for simple polymers. There is an excellent reason for this
lack : the early stage of the crystallization and thermal history memory effects which often determine the fate of the system, are difficult to probe experimentally. It has motivated and triggered the development of numerical tools in the last decade to investigate this fast time scale physics. In the laboratory, we have developed a molecular dynamics tool to address this question for homopolymers, blends of polymers or copolymers. We aim at leveraging this poorly understand early-stage physics to design new materials in the context of polymer blends and block copolymers.

It is a numerically/theoretically-oriented project. Applicants should possess strong skills in stochastic thermodynamics and molecular dynamics. A good level in programming (C++, Matlab, Python…) and in LAMMPS simulations is a requirement. Knowledge in polymer physics and physical-chemistry would be a true asset. Gulliver lab has important local computational resources as well as an access to massive clusters or further intensive computations.

The project will take place within a collaboration between the LCPO laboratory at Bordeaux, ESPCI Paris and a biomedical company. An outstanding applicant who likes interacting with experimentalists is of course the most welcome. The applicant will conduct the theoretical and numerical aspects of the projects and will be hosted in Gulliver. Gulliver located at ESPCI in the center of Paris, is a very active and
multidisciplinary laboratory whose research fields range from theoretical physical-chemistry, soft matter, molecular programming, statistical physics to microfluidics

10 Rue Vauquelin, 75005 Paris