The Polymers and Microfluidics group is centred on experimental soft condensed matter. We study complex fluids, often multicomponent systems, containing polymers, copolymers, (nano)-particles and surfactants.

Microfluidics provides unique opportunities to synthesise, formulate, process and analyse fluids and is therefore explored in our work.

Additionally, we employ extensively scattering (light, X-rays and neutrons), microscopy, calorimetry and spectroscopy - but we also develop our own measurement tools. Particularly, we resort to novel combinatorial and high-throughput techniques to address problems with large parameter space where conventional experimentation becomes unfeasible.

News and current projects


João receives the 2016 McBain medal by the RSC/SCI. Symposium details to be announced shortly. 

We have been awarded a RAEng distinguished visiting professorship for Prof Jane Lipson (Dartmouth) to visit Imperial from July 18 to August 5 2016.

Will Sharratt will join the group as a PhD student in October 2016

The paper by Tan et al. has been selected as Hot Paper by J Mater Chem C 2015 ("Synergetic Enhancement of Organic Solar Cell Thermal Stability by Wire Bar Coating and Light Processing" J. Mater. Chem. C 3, 9551-9558 (2015) [link])

August 2014. PhD positions available (EU/Home) in Microfluidics and Complex Fluids to start ASAP, between Aug 2014 and 2015.

February 2014. ACS Nano paper by HC Wong et al on Light Processing of OPVs;  Langmuir paper by Takaichi on microfluidic formation of porous polymer particles

February 2014. Wrinkling paper by Angus is selected as a 2014 Soft Matter Hot paper

July 2013. "Performance Enhancement of fullerene-based solar cells by light processing" Nature Communications 4, 2227 (2013) [link]

Feb 2013. Cover article in Advanced Materials reporting the spatial manipulation of fullerenes in polymer-fullerene nanocomposites using light.

PhD positions available: 

Please contact Dr João Cabral for more information.  Check postgraduate funding opportunities at Imperial and partnerships with NUS-Singapore, Hong Kong (HKU), Nanyang NTU, A*STAR, Malaysia and China.

Current Research Projects

  • Thermodynamics and dynamics or polymer blends with a combination of real- and reciprocal-space techniques, including microscopy and AFM, and light and neutron scattering.
  • Local polymer dynamics in homopolymers, blends and nanocomposites, studied by calorimetry, spectroscopy and incoherent inelastic neutron scattering.
  • Microfluidics: both the fabrication of novel devices and applications in soft condensed matter and biology.
  • ‘Frontal photopolymerisation’ (FPP) theory and applications in rapid 3D microfluidic fabrication, particularly of solvent-resistant structures and microreactors.
  • Microfluidics applications include microchemical reactors, a fast "interfacial tensiometer", in-situ polymer/surfactant processing and inspection using scattering and microscopy, microfluidic manipulation and interrogation of motor neurons.
  • Fullerene association in model homopolymer matrices: bulk and thin film confinement, studied using microscopy, small angle scattering and reflectivity techniques.

Recent Highlights

Microfluidic flow through constriction


Flow of complex fluids through microfluidic channels