Soft Matter Materials

Our fundamental research in this theme examines the generation of new molecules and materials that deliver:

  • adhesives for dentistry
  • antibacterial surfaces
  • better batteries
  • brighter OLED screens
  • windows that become dark with the flick of a switch.

We use synthetic techniques to generate functional small molecules, covalent oligomers and polymers through to complex (supra) molecular networks and materials. Our work impacts on a wide variety of advanced manufacturing technologies ranging from medical to industrial settings.

Our researchers study molecular properties in:

  • effects of external stimuli, such as light, on molecules
  • molecular recognition
  • reaction kinetics and thermodynamics
  • reactivity relationships
  • structure.

World-class research

In 2019 our experts raised over $5 million in research funding from both national and international firms.

From the ERA (Excellence in Research for Australia) we received a 5 (well above world standard) in materials engineering and macromolecular and materials chemistry. We also received a 4 (above world standard) in mechanical engineering, physical chemistry (including structural chemistry) and organic chemistry.

Theme leaders

Key research programs


Our experts have worked with industry and community partners, including:

  • Australian National University
  • Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation
  • Australian Synchrotron
  • Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisations (CSIRO)
  • Department of Education & Training
  • Deakin University
  • Fraunhofer Institute, Germany
  • Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Germany
  • Monash University
  • University of New South Wales
  • The University of Queensland
  • The University of Sydney
  • The University of Western Australia
  • University of Wollongong.