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RAP opportunity at Air Force Science and Technology Fellowship Program     AF STFP

Liquid Crystalline Polymer Actuators


Sensors Directorate, RY/Sensors Division

opportunity location
13.35.01.B7646 Wright-Patterson AFB, OH 454337542


name email phone
Harris Joseph Hall 937.713.8980
Michael Edward McConney 937.255.9674


We are looking for qualified Associates to join our team at AFRL in the Materials and Manufacturing Directorate. Working at AFRL is a unique opportunity to solve important, long-term challenges that guide research efforts in an environment that strongly encourages collaboration (government/academic/industry), publication, and conference attendance. This position is available for applicants from a broad range of backgrounds.

Specifically, this effort relates to liquid crystals. Liquid crystalline materials are pervasive in modern society as the basis of the display industry. It has been long-known that liquid crystalline materials in polymeric forms also exhibit exceptional characteristics in high performance applications as transparent armor or bulletproof vests as well as in optics and photonics. A specific class of liquid crystalline polymeric materials referred to as liquid crystalline elastomers were predicted by de Gennes to have exceptional promise as artificial muscles, owing to the unique assimilation of anisotropy and elasticity. Subsequent experimental studies have confirmed the salient features of these materials, with respect to other forms of stimuli-responsive soft matter, are actuation cycles of up to 400% as well “soft elasticity” (stretch at minimal stress). Our recent efforts have focused on developing materials chemistry amenable to integration into microfabrication processes with an eye towards MEMs as a novel actuating mechanism allowing arbitrary local control of the anisotropic mechanical properties of these materials. Enabled by this chemistry, we plan to create complex actuators and mechanical elements from liquid crystal elastomers. Notably, these materials are subject to mechanical design but homogenous in composition (lacking material/material interfaces).


White TJ, Broer DJ: Nature Materials 14: 1087-1098, 2015

Ware TH, et al: Science 347(6225): 982-984, 2015

Ware TH, et al: Nature Communications 7: 10781, 2016


key words
Mechanics; Polymers; Liquid crystals; Photopolymerization; Photochemistry;


Citizenship:  Open to U.S. citizens
Level:  Open to Postdoctoral and Senior applicants


Base Stipend Travel Allotment Supplementation
$95,000.00 $5,000.00

Experience Supplement:
Postdoctoral and Senior Associates will receive an appropriately higher stipend based on the number of years of experience past their PhD.

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