Experimental Soft Matter Physics

Structures generated by instabilities


Turn on the water faucet in your kitchen or your bathroom and study the stream of water as it leaves the faucet: you will see how the stream is soon broken up into droplets. This is a result of the so-called Plateau-Rayleigh instability, driven by energy minimization under the action of surface tension. Several other instabilities can be induced in liquids, variations being introduced by incorporating substrates of different shapes and/or chemistry, as well as by dissolving specific solutes in the liquids. We study such instabilities, sometimes fighting against them, for instance in order to spin continuous fibers using electrospinning, sometimes triggering them deliberately and in a controlled manner, in order to produce discrete entities such as liquid crystalline shells. By playing around with the components involved we can tune the details of the process, and thereby influence the final product. And in the process we see some fascinating physics.

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Three most recent publications

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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)


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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.