Experimental Soft Matter Physics

Statement on diversity

Following the GRC (Gordon Research) Conference on Liquid Crystals Jan, Catherine, JungHyun and Anshul attended this June in Maine, and a seminar on gender inclusion within research labs Jan and Anshul attended, we felt it was necessary to include a statement about this on our website.

We live in polarizing times when it's become easier than ever to ostracize people just because they may think a bit differently, or look a bit differently, from us, but actually these individual traits can help our communities work and think better.

Have a look at our statement under the Team menu under On Diversity & Inclusion.


We have a group logo now (officially)

We now have an official logo for our group.
We finally have something that succinctly shows what our very multidisciplinary group does in the labs, & studies, on a regular basis.

What do you think?

esmp logo-no background

& thanks to our very own Larry H. for the great design!

Variations of the logo will be available for download by group members on the Internal Site soon.


We hosted the TWISTED Conference!


On May 10-12, 2017, our ESMP group and the Theory of Soft Condensed Matter Group (headed by Prof. Tanja Schilling) organized and held the Twisted Conference, bringing together many of the leaders, and newcomers, in the CNC and lyotropic liquid crystal fields. There were plenty of useful and interesting discussions on the physics, applications, and chemistry of cholesteric LC phases developing in colloidal suspensions of chiral nanorods. We thank all of the participants for actively engaging in our 2nd (ever!) conference we hosted. Another success Happy

twisted group

Pictures for participants may be found our sister site: http://www.lcsoftmatter.com/twisted/, using the password provided by Jan.


Christina Schütz joins the team

Christian Schu¦êtz-2.15.17-esmp blog
We're happy to welcome our new post-doc: Christina Schütz! She officially joined the ESMP team at the start of February, and will mainly be working with Camila on advancing projects related to CNC work. She received her master's from Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany (the same place where Jan did his habilitation thesis!), and then her PhD in materials chemistry from Stockholm University. Christina joins us for her 2nd post-doc, after spending a year at Wim Thielemans' lab in KU Leuven, Belgium. Happy to have another chemist joining us!

You can contact Christina via e-mail here.


TWISTED - a 2-day conference on cholesteric lyotropic liquid crystals

On May 10-12, 2017, the Experimental Soft Matter Physics Group and the Theory of Soft Condensed Matter Group (headed by Prof. Tanja Schilling) are organizing Twisted, a focused conference on the physics, chemistry and applications of cholesteric lyotropic liquid crystals developing in colloidal suspensions of chiral nanorods. The conference is motivated by the rapidly growing interest in liquid crystals formed by nanocrystals of cellulose or chitin, filamentous viruses, carbon nanotubes and similar rod-like nanoparticles. We are proud to announce that we are bringing some of the world's leading researchers in the field to Luxembourg for this two-day meeting, which will give an excellent view of the state of the art of research in the field. You can read more about the conference on its website. Click here to download the conference flyer.

Johanna moves on to a career in industry

We wish Dr. Johanna Bruckner best of luck for the next stage of her career, which will be at Bosch in Stuttgart, Germany. During her post-doc with us from August 2015 until the end of March 2016 she has done fantastic work on suspensions of cellulose nanocrystals in non-aqueous solvents (publications are on their way...) and she has been a wonderful group member. We will all miss her very much, but we are happy that she will surely meet exciting new challenges at her next work place.

Johanna gets best poster prize at the German-British liquid crystal conference

Congratulations to Johanna Bruckner, who was awarded the German Liquid Crystal Society's best poster award at the joint conference of the British and German liquid crystal societies, in Edinburgh, UK, 21-23rd of March 2016. The poster, entitled "Solvent effects on chiral nematic self‐assembly of cellulose nanocrystals" (co-authors Camila Honorator-Rios and Jan Lagerwall), describes the behavior of cellulose nanocrystal suspensions in non-aqueous but polar solvents, as well as a new method of exchanging the solvent without inducing aggregation of the rods. A publication is on the way...

Anshul Sharma joins the ESMP team

The Experimental Soft Matter Physics group is now strengthened by a chemist, Dr. Anshul Sharma who recently defended her Ph.D. at Kent State University, under the supervision of Torsten and Elda Hegmann. She will work within the ERC project INTERACT on liquid crystal elastomers, in actuators produced by microfluidics and electrospinning. Welcome!!

Nina joins the group

We have a new student researcher: Nina Schwarz. Nina is a 3:rd semester bachelor student in physics at the University of Luxembourg, and since the 15th of October 2015 she will be working 10 hours per week in our labs to help with various tasks, and hopefully learn something and have some fun in the process. Currently she focuses on assisting Camila with synthesis of cellulose nanocrystals.

Rao and Larry join the group

On the 14th of October 2015 we had the unusual pleasure to welcome two new group members on the same day, Venkatasubbarao (we call him just 'Rao') Jampani (left) and Larry Honaker (right). Rao is a post-doc working within the INTERACT project, focusing primarily on soft robotics based on liquid crystal elastomers with non-standard morphologies and topologies, and Larry is a Ph.D. candidate, working within his own AFR project LIMEFLOW, which deals with flow of liquid metals, in particular the possibility of achieving liquid metal jets co-flowing within polymer solutions.

Vanessa joins the group

We have the pleasure to welcome Vanessa Schmidt-Barbé as new secretary at our Research Unit, working primarily within Jan's ERC project INTERACT.

Johanna Bruckner joins as post-doc

We have the fortune to welcome Dr. Johanna Bruckner in our team. Johanna recently defended her Ph.D., carried out under the supervision of Frank Gießelmann, at the University of Stuttgart, and she secured a fellowship from the Dr. Leni Schöninger Stiftung for doing a six-month post-doc with us in Luxembourg. She will be working on liquid crystalline suspensions of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) in various solvents. In doing so, she will be working closely with our other CNC researchers, in particular Camila, who is the Ph.D. candidate in the MISONANCE project.

YooMee defends her M.Sc. thesis

Congratulations to YooMee Kye on her successful defense of her M.Sc. thesis entitled "Multi-core liquid crystal-polymer composite fibers produced by electrospinning" at the GSCST, Suwon, Korea, on the 12th of June 2015. Her work (the key results of which we hope will soon appear also as a journal article) is the first study of electrospinning fibers with more than one liquid crystal core, importantly with each core containing a different liquid crystal. This gives one and the same fiber multiple functionalities and the ability to respond to different stimuli. Below you see us enjoying an excellent Korean dinner as we celebrated the defense in the evening.

Yong Geng joins as post-doc

It is our great pleasure to welcome Yong Geng to our group as a post-doc. After obtaining his Ph.D. with Prof. Maria Helena Godinho in Lisbon he worked as a post-doc with Prof. Ralf Stannarius and Dr. Alexey Eremin in Magdeburg, before he came to Luxembourg. He will be working on colloidal crystals of cholesteric shells, produced in a microfluidic set-up, focusing on the optical properties and the pattern formation of these systems. This research is the core of the interdisciplinary dual-PI project UNIQUE, funded by University of Luxembourg. The second partner of the project is the team around Gabriele Lenzini and Peter Ryan at the UL's Interdisciplinary Center for Security and Trust, which will analyze the patterns generated by the colloids from an information content point of view. Young will thus interact closely with Samir Ouchani, a post-doc in computer science working under the guidance of Gabriele.

Camila Honorato joins as doctoral candidate

We welcome Camila Honorato as a member of our group! She will be working as a doctoral candidate in the MISONANCE project, carried out in collaboration with the team of Prof. Tanja Schilling at PhyMS, UL. Camila will study the self-assembly of water-suspended cellulose nanocrystals into lyotropic liquid crystal phases, and how this self-assembly competes with the tendency of electrostatically charged nanorod suspensions to arrest into a jammed state. She will interact closely with Anja Kuhnold from Prof. Schilling's group, who is doing theory and computer modeling corresponding to Camila's experiments.

Halle group reunion

In connection to the German Liquid Crystal Conference in Stuttgart we took the opportunity to organize a reunion of the Halle group, with Giusy and JungHyun as "honorary guests". From left to right: Eva (now in Stuttgart), Giusy, Jan, Martin (now in Würzburg), Stefan (now in Leipzig), Sarah (now in Magdeburg) and JungHyun. Hsin-Ling should have been there as well but a train accident in London prevented her from catching her flight, so in the end she could only join us via Skype.

Benjamin Henx joins the group

Benjamin Henx, bachelor student in the University of Luxembourg physics program, will do his thesis work together with JungHyun during the 2015 spring semester. He will be working on microfluidics, liquid crystals and polymerization.

Sammy Wagner joins the group

Sammy Wagner, student in the University of Luxembourg Master program for physics, will carry out his Master thesis work in the Experimental Soft Matter Physics group. He will be working with suspensions of cellulose nanocrystals, studying liquid crystal and glass formation in connection to our project on the topic, MISONANCE.

Martin Urbanski joins the group

We have the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Martin Urbanski to the Experimental Soft Matter Physics group as a post-doc. He comes from the University of Paderborn, Germany, where he worked with Prof. Heinz Kitzerow. Martin secured a personal post-doc grant from the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg (FNR) for a two-year project entitled DISGONA. He will be studying nematic liquid crystals functionalized with gold nanoparticles by means of dielectric spectroscopy.

Duckhee Kim comes to Luxembourg

Duckhee Kim, who did an internship with Jan while Duckhee did his undergraduate studies at SKKU and Jan was at SNU, is starting his Master studies in physics at University of Luxembourg. He joins the Experimental Soft Matter Physics group on part-time basis as a 'student researcher'.

Zornitza Tosheva joins the group

Zornitza Tosheva joins the Experimental Soft Matter Physics group as a Research Associate. Zory was previously investigating radon in different water sources and will now change to study liquid crystals and colloids.

JungHyun Noh joins as Ph.D. candidate

JungHyun Noh is the group's first Ph.D. candidate after the move to Luxembourg. She secured a personal Ph.D. grant from the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg (FNR) for a project entitled ULISCO. The project deals with innovative ways of making liquid crystal shells as well as the study of the topological defects arising in these shells.

Kevin defends his B.Sc. thesis

Congrats to Kevin for defending his B.Sc. thesis entitled "Topological Defects in Liquid Crystal Shells" very successfully. Kevin did a great job while he was with us and we hope that his and JungHyun's research efforts will soon be summarized in a new paper.

Kevin Reguengo de Sousa joins the group

Kevin Reguengo de Sousa, undergraduate student in the University of Luxembourg physics program, will be carrying out his thesis work with the group during the fall. He will work together with JungHyun on liquid crystal shells.

Catherine Reyes joins the group

It is with great pleasure that we welcome our new Ph.D. candidate, Catherine Reyes, coming from Cornell University where she carried out her Master studies with Prof. Margaret Frey. Catherine should have arrived already in September but the paper work for allowing a US citizen and Cornell graduate to start as Ph.D. candidate in Luxembourg turned out to be beyond our wildest imagination… Anyway, she is finally here and she will be working full time on liquid crystal-funcationalized electrospun fibers for wearable technology.

Move to Luxembourg

Since March 1st 2014 the “Soft Nano- and Microstructures Group” at Seoul National University ceased to exist and it is replaced by the “Experimental Soft Matter Physics” group at the University of Luxembourg, where Jan since this date is full professor in physics, at the Physics & Materials Science Research Unit. This web site will eventually be updated to reflect the new situation and the changes it will entail. Our current main research foci (on functional composite fibers produced by electrospinning; on liquid crystalline shells [low molar mass and elastomeric]; and on liquid crystalline self-assembly of cellulose nanocrystals) will remain and we are still very interested in transdisciplinary research, although there will be an increased focus on physics with more room for fundamental research than what the situation in Korea allowed.

JungHyun defends her M.Sc. thesis

JungHyunDefenceCongratulations to JungHyun Noh who successfully defended her M.Sc. thesis, “Two Novel Cholesteric Liquid Crystal Systems: Microfluidics-Produced Droplets and Self-Assembled Cellulose Nanocrystal Films” on the 6th of December 2013 at the Graduate School of Convergence Science & Technology. The thesis will soon be available for download from the publications page.

Hsin-Ling defends her Ph.D. thesis

Congratulations to Dr. Hsin-Ling Liang who successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis, “Microfluidic Produced Liquid Crystalline Shells: Self-assembled structures in nematic and smectic shells” on the 25th of September 2013 at Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. The thesis will soon be available for download from the publications page.

Stefan defends his PhD.

Congratulations to Dr. Stefan Schymura who successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis, “Liquid Crystalline Carbon Nanotube Suspensions: From Unique Challenges to Unique Properties” on the 4th of July 2013 at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. The thesis is available for download in pdf format by following this link.

YooMee Kye joins the SNM lab

IMG_2134 - Version 2
YooMee Kye, new student at the GSCST on a combined Master-PhD track, joins the SNM lab. She will (at least to begin with) be working with electrospinning of liquid crystal-functionalized fibers with multiple cores.

Eva Enz defends her Ph.D.

Congratulations to Dr. Eva Enz who successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis, “Electrospun Polymer - Liquid Crystal Composite Fibres” on the 16th of April 2013 at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. The thesis is available for download in pdf format by following this link.

Two students from Germany visiting

Martin Kühnast and Hsin-Ling Liang, Ph.D. students from Germany (Hsin-Ling is originally from Taiwan) at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and University of Mainz, respectively, are visiting the SNM and LC Nano labs in February. Hsin-Ling will work together with JungHyun Noh on liquid crystal shell production and analysis and Martin will work primarily on carbon nanotubes in thermotropic liquid crystals, largely in collaboration with the LC Nano lab of Prof. Giusy Scalia.

Four new students join the group

With the 2012 spring semester starting on the first of March, three new M.Sc. students and one new Ph.D. student join the SNM lab: