|2009-||Council Member, Imperial College London
|2009-||Chair, Trustee Board of Imperial College London Students'''' Union
|2007-||Emeritus Professor and Senior Research Investigator, Chemical Engineering Department, Imperial College London|
|2006-2007||Principal of the Faculty of Engineering, Imperial College London|
|2003-2007||Chair, Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council|
Director of the Graduate School in Engineering and Physical Sciences of Imperial College – a part time post
Foreign Secretary and Vice-president of the Royal Society
Professor of Polymer Science, Chemical Engineering Department, Imperial College London.
Dean, City and Guilds College.
Reader in Polymer Science, Chemical Engineering Department, Imperial College London.
Lecturer, Chemical Engineering Department, Imperial College London.
Physicist, Institut Laue-Langevin, Grenoble, France.
Research Fellow, Institut Charles Sadron, Strasbourg, France.
SRC Research Fellow, Department of Chemistry, University of Manchester, UK.
Physics Teacher, Mexborough Grammar School, Yorkshire, UK.
D.Phil in Physical Chemistry, University of Oxford, UK.
BA Physics, Somerville College, Oxford, UK.
My research has concerned aspects of the behaviour of complex materials, and particularly polymers, in terms of their molecular structure, organisation and motion, especially the application of neutron scattering techniques to such problems. Neutrons are unique probes for polymeric systems both because of their wavelength and energy characteristics and because isotopic substitution of deuterium for hydrogen allows whole molecules or parts of molecules to be highlighted within a sample in order to understand their behaviour. Of course other laboratory based spectroscopic and scattering techniques are also used to give a complete picture.
A current focus is mixtures of polymers. Some binary mixtures are miscible at a molecular level but only over a limited range of temperature and composition. One large area focusses on understanding these miscibility limits in terms of the molecular components and their interactions, studying the process of separation into two co-existing phases when these limits are exceeded, and in particular studying the effect of flow on the limits and the phase separation process. Another is the study of interfaces between polymers - either observing the interdiffusion as they form in order to understand bonding and adhesion of composites, or looking at the activity of copolymer additives as interfacial agents to improve properties of blends of thermodynamically immiscible polymers.
Selected research projects
- "Small Angle Neutron Scattering From the Highly Interacting Polymer Mixture TMPC/PSd: No Evidence of Spatially Dependent χ Parameter." João T. Cabral and Julia S. Higgins, Macromolecules, 42, 9528-9536 (2009).
- "A Simple Approach to Polymer Mixture Miscibility." Julia S. Higgins, Jane E. G. Lipson, Ronald P. White, Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A., 368, 1009-1025 (2010)
- "Thermodynamics of TMPC/PSd/Fullerene Nanocomposites: SANS Study." Yang Choo Chua, Alica Chan, Him-Cheng Wong, Julia S. Higgins and João Cabral, Macromolecules, 43, 9578-9582, (2010)
- "Effect of Deuterium Subsitution on the Physical Properties of Polymer Melts and Blends" Jane Lipson, Ronald White and Julia Higgins, Macromolecules, 43, 4287-4293 (2010)
White RP, Lipson JEG, Higgins JS, 2010, Effect of Deuterium Substitution on the Physical Properties of Polymer Melts and Blends, Macromolecules, Vol:43, ISSN:0024-9297, Pages:4287-4293