Experimental Soft Matter Physics


An important class of soft matter is given by colloidal suspensions, or colloids. These fascinating systems can have quite unique properties, often a highly non-Newtonian flow behavior which can give rise to very unintuitive dynamic response. On the microscopic scale the defining characteristic of colloids is that they consist of particles, droplets or bubbles (together constituting the disperse phase) of a size that is substantially larger than the molecules of the continuous phase in which the disperse phase constituents are suspended. In our everyday life we frequently encounter colloids, for instance in milk (an emulsion of oil in water), foams (air bubbles in a liquid or solid continuous phase), gels (forming when the disperse phase particles connect into networks that extend throughout the macroscopic system) and smoke (particles or droplets in a gaseous continuous phase). And we are actually relying on colloidal suspensions for our life functions, with blood being a very important multi-component colloidal suspension (blood cells suspended in blood plasma).

In the ESMP group research, colloids play key roles in several ways. Lyotropic liquid crystals, studied per se and used frequently as templates in our work, are in themselves colloids par excellence, and we often study suspensions of nanoparticles as well as emulsions of liquid crystals in isotropic continuous phases.

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Three most recent publications

Elucidating the fine details of cholesteric liquid crystal shell reflection patterns
Yong Geng, JungHyun Noh, Irena Drevensek-Olenik, Romano Rupp, and Jan P. F. Lagerwall
Liquid Crystals, DOI: 10.1080/02678292.2017.1363916 (2017)

Why organically functionalized nanoparticles increase the electrical conductivity of nematic liquid crystal dispersions
Martin Urbanski, and Jan P. F. Lagerwall Journal of Materials Chemistry C, DOI: 10.1039/C7TC02856C (2017)

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Liquid crystals in micron-scale droplets, shells, and fibers
Martin Urbanski, Catherine G. Reyes, JungHyun Noh, Anshul Sharma, Yong Gang, Venkata Subba Rao Jampani, Jan P.F. Lagerwall
J. Phys,: Condens. Matter, DOI: 10.1088/1361-648X/aa5706 (2017)

More publications can be found here.