Department of chemistry
The University of British Columbia
Faculty in University of British Columbia
Present research involves theoretical studies of liquids, solutions and molecular clusters with particular attention focussed upon systems of highly non-spherical particles. The purpose of this work is to investi gate the equilibrium and dynamical properties of such systems by applying general theoretical methods together with ``exact'' computer simulation techniques. The principal aim is to obtain accurate theories for model systems which closely parallel interesting physical situations. We are currently developing theories for ionic solutions both in bulk and at the surface of metal electrodes. We are also investigating the dynamics of ion solvation and exploring the forces between immersed macroscopic objects. These investigations on a microscopic level are important if one wishes to understand many interesting chemical and physical phenomena that occur in solution or at interfaces. For example, chemical reactions often strongly depend upon the properties of the solvent and upon the nature and dynamical behaviour of the ionic species present. This is also true of other phenomena such as the coagulation of colloidal suspensions and the closely related membrane fusion processes of importance in biological systems. Ad ditional interesting research projects involve computer simulation studies of the phase behaviour of liquid crystals. We have recently demonstrated that ferroelectric nematic liquid crystals can exist and efforts to better define the necessary conditions and molecular parameters are currently in progress. Although our primary interest in these systems relates to fundamental questions concerning their phase behaviour, we are also motivated by their potential for practical application in electro-optical devices.