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Shibayama Group

Research Associate

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Soft matter undergoes various transitions in response to a slight change of an environmental variable. We investigate the relationship of the structure and dynamics of soft matter, such as polymer gels, nanoemulsion, and micelles. The aims of our research are systematization of “molecular-bond correlated systems”. Concurrently, we explore various applications of soft matter on the basis of the physics of soft matter. Nano-order structure investigations and studies on dynamics of soft matter are carried out with state-of-the-art equipments, SANS-U, a small-angle neutron scattering instrument (upgraded in 2010). Other techniques, such as dynamic/static light scattering, microscopy, mechanical/thermal analyses, and rheological studies, are also employed. Current interests cover (1) inhomogeneities in polymer gels, (2) structural characterization and studies on deformation mechanisms of high-performance polymer gels, (3) rheo-SANS of nanoemulsion and micelles, and (4) development of ion-gel and structural analyses, (5) fabrication of uniform-polymer networks and their structure/property characterization, (6) development of high-performance thermoset polymers by structure-designing and molecular dynamics simulations.

An illustration for synthesis of asymmetric critical clusters by mixing two different types of tetra-armed PEG prepolymers with mutual reactive end groups (maleimide-tPEG (r) and thiol-tPEG (1 – r)).
Small-angle neutron scattered intensity profiles of critical polymer clusters at different tPEG ratio (r) and polymer volume fraction (φ).

Research Subjects

  1. Evaluation of structure and physical properties of uniform polymer gels
  2. Developments of ion gels and structural characterization
  3. Structural analyses and molecular dynamics simulation of thermoset polymers
  4. Structural analyses of polymer gels by small-angle neutron and X-ray scattering methods