University of Edinburgh

Professor Wilson Poon has an international reputation for using experimental model systems to elucidate generic physics, especially glassy arrest, applicable to many real-life systems. Recently, his colloidal research has focussed on the complex rheology of concentrated dispersions. Under a £5M EPSRC Programme Grant entitled ‘Design Principle for New Soft Materials’ (EP/J007404/1), Poon’s team has proven that frictional interparticle contacts are essential to the rheology of suspensions. He founded the Edinburgh Complex Fluids Partnership in 2012 to coordinate and develop knowledge exchange, having a turnover of £500k in 2015 and working with 28 companies. He has just been awarded a £1.5M grant under the EPSRC’s Future Formulations call (EP/N024982/1) to study the rheology of concentrated dispersions. This new project involves working with 4 major international companies (AkzoNobel, Johnson Matthey, Du Pont and Schlumberger). Poon was elected Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh in 2004, holds a €2.5M ERC Advanced Grant and a Royal Society Wolfson Research Merit Award to study active (i.e., self-propelled) particle suspensions. He has 180+ publications (h index=50). Poon is Edinburgh director of the EPSRC Centre for Doctoral Training (CDT) on Soft Matter and Functional Interfaces (SOFI) (EP/L015536/1).

Dr Paul Clegg  is increasingly known for his experiments on colloidal composites and their industrial exploitation. He carried out the initial experimental work to develop arrested colloidal gels via phase separation of the host solvent (bijels) and he is currently working on their exploitation with a major multinational company. In 2011-2013 he was a Royal Society Industrial Fellow in partnership with Syngenta. From 2013-2016 he was an honorary lecturer at the Rowett Institute for Nutrition and Health and in 2016 he holds a visiting professorship at the ESPCI in Paris (funded by Saint Gobain). His research has featured on the front covers of Advanced Functional Materials, Langmuir and Soft Matter. He currently has >£1M in funding from EPSRC, BBSRC, Innovate UK, EU Horizon 2020 and Procter & Gamble.

Dr Job Thijssen  is a Chancellor’s Fellow, who recently set up his own group in Soft Matter Physics & Materials, with a particular interest in energy applications. He has 18 peer-reviewed publications and is currently training 3 PhD students. He has previously been awarded a Royal Society of Edinburgh / BP Trust Personal Research Fellowship (Novel 3D nanostructured gels for enhanced energy storage and conversion). He is the departmental representative in the SUPA Energy theme, a Heriot-Watt Crucible alumnus and a member of the Young Academy of Scotland, focusing on Open Data. He has extensive experience of fabricating and characterizing the 3D structure and mechanical properties of soft-matter templates for advanced materials including colloidal crystals for photonics and bijels for battery applications. He has been involved in various collaborations on topics ranging from bijel templating to mechanical testing of novel ceramic-polymer composite electrolytes for lithium batteries.

Research Fellows

Dr David J French is a post-doctoral researcher in the Soft Matter Physics & Materials group at the University of Edinburgh. His PhD research, which was funded by an Industrial CASE studentship from Syngenta, was also carried out at Edinburgh under the supervision of Dr Paul Clegg. His research has focused on using optical and confocal microscopy techniques to characterise and understand the microstructure of particle-stabilised emulsions and their response to shear.

David is now working on developing soft three-dimensional structures that can be used as templates for battery electrodes and similar applications.