LI XiangAssociate Professor

Laboratory of Soft Matter Structure & Physics
Research Theme
Investigation of the underlying mechanism between structure and physics of soft matter
Research Keywords

Polymer solution, polymer gel, rubber, nanostructure, molecular dynamics, light scattering, X-ray scattering, neutron scattering, Raman spectroscopy, rheology, polymer synthesis, polymer physics

Overview of Research

We are engaged in understanding the polymer structure and dynamics of soft materials, including polymer solutions, gels, elastomers, micelles, colloids, and cells. We employ a combination of scattering techniques (neutron, X-ray, and light), rheological measurements, and spectroscopy to reveal the underlying mechanism between nanostructures and physical properties. We also develop new high-performance soft materials using the revealed mechanism from the structure analysis.



Our bodies have a rounded shape on the macroscopic scale, but at the nano level, they are made up of innumerable strings, i.e., polymers. These strings form higher-order structures and complexes to exhibit complicated yet controlled functions. Isn’t it astonishing that the basic unit of all living things is a string? Our research group is working on elucidating the underlying mechanism between the nanostructure and the physical properties of soft matter. Join us to solve the puzzle of soft matter with the biology, chemistry, physics, and mathematics tools that you have learned.

Representative Publications

  1. M. Ohira, T. Katashima, M. Naito, D. Aoki, Y. Yoshikawa, H. Iwase, S. Takata, K. Miyata, U. Chung, T. Sakai, M. Shibayama, X. Li, Star-Polymer-DNA Gels Showing Highly Predictable and Tunable Mechanical Responses, Advanced Materials  34, 2108818 (2022).
  2.  Y. Tsuji, S. Nakagawa, C. I. Gupit, M. Ohira, M. Shibayama, and X. Li, Selective Doping of Positive and Negative Spatial Defects into Polymer Gels by Tuning the Pregel Packing Conditions of Star Polymers, Macromolecules 53, 7537 (2020).
  3. C. I. Gupit, X. Li, R. Maekawa, N. Hasegawa, H. Iwase, S. Takata, and M. Shibayama, Nanostructures and Viscosities of Nafion Dispersions in Water/Ethanol from Dilute to Concentrated Regimes, Macromolecules 53, 1464 (2020).
  4. E. A. Susaki, C. Shimizu, A. Kuno, K. Tainaka, X. Li, K. Nishi, K. Morishima, H. Ono, K. L. Ode, Y. Saeki, K. Miyamichi, K. Isa, C. Yokoyama, H. Kitaura, M. Ikemura, T. Ushiku, Y. Shimizu, T. Saito, T. C. Saido, M. Fukayama, H. Onoe, K. Touhara, T. Isa, A. Kakita, M. Shibayama, and H. R. Ueda, Versatile Whole-Organ/Body Staining and Imaging Based on Electrolyte-Gel Properties of Biological Tissues, Nat Commun 11, 1982 (2020).
  5. X. Li, T. Noritomi, T. Sakai, E. P. Gilbert, and M. Shibayama, Dynamics of Critical Clusters Synthesized by End-Coupling of Four-Armed Poly(Ethylene Glycol)s, Macromolecules 52, 5086 (2019).
  6. X. Huang, S. Nakagawa, X. Li, M. Shibayama, and N. Yoshie, A Simple and Versatile Method for the Construction of Nearly Ideal Polymer Networks, Angewandte Chemie Int Ed 59, 9646 (2020).
  7. X. Li, S. Nakagawa, Y. Tsuji, N. Watanabe, and M. Shibayama, Polymer Gel with a Flexible and Highly Ordered Three-Dimensional Network Synthesized via Bond Percolation, Science Advances 5, eaax8647 (2019).


<Office Hour>
– Time: Anytime during the lecture period
– Place: Frontier-AMLS, 6F
Please contact in advance by E-mail.