Study level


Master of Philosophy


Vacation research experience scheme


Science and Engineering Faculty

School of Chemistry and Physics

Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


Professor Christopher Barner-Kowollik
Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Vice-President (Research and Innovation)
Division / Faculty
Division of Research and Innovation


The idea of using light as an energy source to make and break chemical bonds has been widely applied for the development of more complex structures in the soft matter materials design and biological sciences.

This has been inspired by nature’s way of using light to trigger chemical processes, known as photosynthesis, by green plants.

However, to date, the energy required to activate chemical bond formation was mostly extracted from UV light. This is a drawback in developing and applying these reaction systems for biology-related studies, as UV light is harmful to the cells and tissues.

Therefore, the development of new molecules that can undergo chemical reactions using less energetic higher wavelengths is of particular interest for the Soft Matter Materials Team.

Research activities

As part of this research project, you'll be involved with:

  • organic synthesis
  • macromolecular synthesis
  • photochemistry
  • soft matter materials science
  • 3D direct laser lithography
  • advanced functional materials.

You’ll be working with Professor Christopher Barner-Kowollik as part of your research. Professor Barner-Kowollik is an ARC Laurette Fellow and a member of QUT’s Centre for Materials Science and School of Chemistry and Physics.


The project aims to develop advanced molecules that can be activated by visible light and use these systems to generate 3D-patterned surfaces via 3D direct laser lithography (DLW) techniques.

Further exploration of multiple systems which are activated by distinct colours of visible light and thus being able to fabricate multi-functional surfaces with well-defined properties is the ultimate goal.

Such visible light induced 3D-functionalised surfaces will be especially beneficial for the applications in tissue engineering and cell biology.

Skills and experience

To be considered for this research project, you'll need to demonstrate strong skills in organic synthesis as well as a strong interest in:

  • soft matter materials science
  • advanced manufacturing
  • multidisciplinary work between physics, chemistry and biology.

You should also be willing to collaborate internationally.


You may be able to apply for a research scholarship in our annual scholarship round.

Annual scholarship round



Contact the supervisor for more information.