Ionic liquids (ILs) are salts that melt below or near room temperature due to frustration of the coulomb forces that stabilise the crystals, and can act as non-volatile solvents for a wide range of applications. Recent developments have exploited strong, non-coulomb intermolecular forces to design cheap alternatives to ILs by mixing molecular and ionic solids in a way that depresses the melting points of both components, creating deep eutectic solvents (DESs). Our aim is to incorporate amphiphilic species as the molecular or ionic component, or as a dissolved solute, thereby generating self-assemblies without water or any single liquid component with negligible vapour pressure, but yielding liquids and solvent with novel and controllable physical properties.
By controlling H-bonding and coordination interactions between the molecular component and the cations or anions of the salt, freezing points may be depressed by over 100 K in a DES, while maintaining low vapour pressures in the liquid state. In this project we will incorporate alkyl or other non-polar groups into the coconstituents of DESs, inducing a form of solvophobic self-assembly such as that seen in aqueous microemulsions and lyotropic liquid crystals as well as in certain ionic liquids and ionic liquid crystals. These new materials are expected to find applications in diverse areas from battery electrolytes (incorporating lithium salts) to novel magnetic liquids (incorporating paramagnetic ions) for lubrication and braking, or as functional working fluids under extremes of temperature and low pressure. The focus, however, is on understanding and manipulating intermolecular interactions in order to discover the fundamental design rules for this new kind of nanostructured materials. Our primary tools will be small-angle scattering and liquid diffraction, which allow us to experimentally determine structure from the molecular up to the nanoscale.
Most local students in the laboratory are supported by an Australian or University Postgraduate Award. International students are supported by a variety of other scholarships. Industrially-funded projects are also available from time to time. Please contact me for further details.
HDR Inherent Requirements
In addition to the academic requirements set out in the Science Postgraduate Handbook, you may be required to satisfy a number of inherent requirements to complete this degree. Example of inherent requirement may include:
- Confidential disclosure and registration of a disability that may hinder your performance in your degree;
- Confidential disclosure of a pre-existing or current medical condition that may hinder your performance in your degree (e.g. heart disease, pace-maker, significant immune suppression, diabetes, vertigo, etc.);
- Ability to perform independently and/or with minimal supervision;
- Ability to undertake certain physical tasks (e.g. heavy lifting);
- Ability to undertake observatory, sensory and communication tasks;
- Ability to spend time at remote sites (e.g. One Tree Island, Narrabri and Camden);
- Ability to work in confined spaces or at heights;
- Ability to operate heavy machinery (e.g. farming equipment);
- Hold or acquire an Australian driver’s licence;
- Hold a current scuba diving license;
- Hold a current Working with Children Check;
- Meet initial and ongoing immunisation requirements (e.g. Q-Fever, Vaccinia virus, Hepatitis, etc.)
You must consult with your nominated supervisor regarding any identified inherent requirements before completing your application.
The opportunity ID for this research opportunity is 2149