Arash Nikoubashman

2015 Regional Award Winner — Post-Doc

Arash Nikoubashman

Current Position:
Emmy-Noether Research Group Leader

University of Mainz, Germany (Previously at Princeton University)

Chemical Engineering

Recognized for: Simulations of self-assembly of block copolymer thin films

Areas of Research Interest and Expertise: Soft Matter Theory; Self-Assembly; Non-Equilibrium Dynamics; Molecular Simulation; High Performance Computing


PhD, Physics, Vienna University of Technology, Austria
MS, Physics, University of Dusseldorf, Germany

Imagine your book case could construct itself without you moving a finger. What might sound like science fiction, happens in fact every day in nature on a microscopic scale, for example when cell membranes are formed. Dr. Nikoubashman studies the fundamental principles of these self-assembly phenomena and explores their possibilities for scientific and engineering applications, using advanced theoretical and computational methods.

During his postdoctoral training, he studied the ordering in thin films of block copolymers, and how it can be directed towards specific shapes and structures. He revealed that confinement effects play a significant role, and that changes of only a few nanometers in film thickness were sufficient to trigger a reorientation of the self-assembled nanodomains. Furthermore, he found that the alignment quality could be greatly enhanced through shear, which is crucial when these films are used as templates for nanolithography.

In his graduate studies, Dr. Nikoubashman investigated soft systems in external fields. For instance, he discovered the shear-induced crytallization of ultrasoft cluster crystals through an intermediate string-like phase, a transition not observed previously for conventional hard crystals. He also studied the flow injection of linear and dendritic polymers into nanochannels, an important issue for drug-delivery applications and for understanding basic biological processes, such as DNA transcription.

“Soft materials are omnipresent in our daily lives, from the paint on our houses to the blood in our bodies. Yet, many of their properties are still unknown and require further research. Therefore, I design theoretical models to better understand the underlying physics and to lead the development of novel technologies in material science and biotechnology.”

Key publications:

  1. Nikoubashman A, Bianchi E, Panagiotopoulos A.Z. Self-assembly of Janus particles under shear. Soft Matter. 2015 
  2. Nikoubashman A, Davis R.L. , Michal B.T., Chaikin P.M., Register R.A., Panagiotopoulos A.Z. Thin Films of Homopolymers and Cylinder-Forming Diblock Copolymers under Shear. ACS Nano. 2014
  3. Nikoubashman A, Kahl G, Likos C.N. Cluster Crystals under Shear, Phys. Rev. Lett. 2012
  4. Nikoubashman A, Likos C.N. Flow-induced polymer translocation through narrow and patterned channels, J. Chem. Phys. 2010

Other honors:

2015 Emmy Noether Fellowship of the German Research Foundation 
2012-2015 Postdoctoral Fellowship of the Princeton Center for Complex Materials 
2010-2012 Graduate Fellowship of the Marie Curie ITN-COMPLOIDS