Study level

  • PhD
  • Master of Philosophy
  • Honours
  • Vacation research experience scheme


Topic status

We're looking for students to study this topic.


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


Inspired by nature's way of using light to trigger chemical processes known as photosynthesis by green plants, 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. However, to date, the energy required to activate chemical bond formation was mostly extracted from UV light which is a drawback to develop and apply these reaction systems for biology-related studies  – as UV light is well-known to be 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

  • Organic synthesis
  • 3D laser printing
  • Macromolecular synthesis
  • Photochemistry
  • Soft matter materials science
  • Advanced functional materials


The project aims to develop advanced molecules that can be activated by visible light and to 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

  • Strong interest in soft matter materials science and advanced manufacturing
  • Strong skills in organic synthesis
  • Strong interest in multidisciplinary work between physics, chemistry and biology
  • Willingness to collaborate internationally


You may be eligible to apply for a research scholarship.

Explore our research scholarships



Contact Dr Laura Delafresnaye for more information.