Joao CabralProfessor of Soft Matter Engineering

from Lisbon and Alcáçovas, Portugal 



2018 - present: Professor (previously lecturer, Senior lecturer and Reader), Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London.

2002 - 2005: Foreign Guest Researcher, Polymers division , National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), Gaithersburg, Maryland, USA.

1998 - 2002: PhD in Polymer Science, "Polymer Blends: Equilibrium, Dynamics and Phase Separation" with Prof. Dame Julia S. Higgins.
Dept. Chemical Engineering, Imperial College, London, UK (Weinberg Prize).

1997: Laboratoire Léon Brillouin (CEA-CNRS), Saclay, France. Diffusion & Dynamics group, headed by Drs Marie-Claire Bellissent-Funel and José Teixeira.

1996: Royal Institute of Technology (KTH), Stockholm, Sweden.

1992 - 1997: Undergraduate Physics (5 year "licenciatura"), Instituto Superior Técnico , Lisbon, Portugal.


My research interests are in soft condensed matter, in particular in complex polymer mixtures, multicomponent systems, often containing particles and copolymers. We study the thermodynamics and dynamics or polymer blends with a combination of real- and reciprocal-space techniques, including microscopy and AFM, and light and neutron scattering.

We employ microfluidics for automation (e.g. high throughput screening and optimisation) and to exert well-defined external fields, including thermal and flow fields of prescribed magnitude and type. In this process, I became interested in microfabrication and investigate ‘Frontal photopolymerisation’ (FPP) to rapidly create 3D structures with light. FPP is a rich directed solidication process with fascinating mechanisms, kinetics and instabilities. We also developed a sound theoretical and experimental understanding of the nature of front propagation, and have applied it to microfluidic fabrication. In recent years, we have placed considerable effort in coupling microfluidics with scattering of neutrons and X-rays (SANS and SAXS) which enables us to probe the molecular and mesoscopic consequences of external fields on complex fluids with unprecedented precision.  We are now elaborating on scattering and spectroscopic tools to elucidate aspects of (meta-)stability of elusive soft matter systems.


See group publications.