Soft matter engineering
Designing, synthesising, assembling, characterising and modelling soft materials for applications ranging from healthcare to energy
Soft accordion widget
Theme overview and objectives
Our research is centred on designing and engineering soft and nanomaterials to meet current and emerging societal needs. We precisely synthesise, formulate, assemble, process and analyse materials from the molecular to continuum-scales to derive new insights into the thermodynamics and non-equilibrium processes that underpin the behaviour of complex systems. The applications of our work are extensive, ranging from industrial formulations and coatings to energy harvesting, pharmaceutics, and molecular separations.
Methods and capabilities
We combine multiple approaches to precisely assemble and resolve the structure and dynamics of soft matter, from atomic to macroscopic scales, in particular under external fields. We employ extensively scattering of light, X-rays and neutrons, microscopy, spectroscopy and imaging, as well as thermodynamic and rheological approaches, but also develop our own measurement tools, based on advanced spectroscopy, micro and acousto-fluidics, rheology and interfacial science, often resorting to combinatorial and high-throughput mapping of large parameter spaces. Theory and simulation across length and timescales provides us with inspiration and guidance for soft matter engineering.
Capsule formation during solvent extraction
Capsule formation during solvent extraction and phase inversion
Video depicting the mechanism and kinetics of solvent extraction of 1.0 wt % Sodium poly(styrenesulfonate) (NaPSS)/H2O in neat methyl ethyl ketone (MEK)on a time scale of 80 s. Read the paper in Langmuir (Udoh et al. Langmuir 2016, 32, 8131−8140).
Microfluidic processing of complex fluids
Flow processing of concentrated lamellar system tuning spatial arrangement and rheology
From: A. S. Poulos, M. Nania, P. Lapham, R. M. Miller, A.J. Smith, H. Tantawy, J. Caragay, J. Gummel, O. Ces, E.S.J. Robles, and J.T. Cabral, "Microfluidic SAXS study of lamellar and multilamellar vesicle phases of linear sodium alkylbenzene sulfonate surfactant with intrinsic isomeric distribution" Langmuir 32 (23), 5852–5861 (2016).
Ultrasound-triggered release of particles from bubbles
Ultrasound-triggered release of particles from the surface of bubbles
Video from a paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences: Ultrafast desorption of colloidal particles from fluid interfaces, Poulichet V and Garbin V PNAS 2015;112(19):5932-7. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1504776112.
Capillary waves excited by microbubbles
High-frequency capillary waves excited by oscillating microbubbles
This fluid dynamics video shows high-frequency capillary waves excited by the volumetric oscillations of microbubbles near a free surface. The frequency of the capillary waves is controlled by the oscillation frequency of the microbubbles, which are driven by an ultrasound field. Radial capillary waves produced by single bubbles and interference patterns generated by the superposition of capillary waves from multiple bubbles are shown. The video is an entry for the 2013 APS-DFD Gallery of Fluid Motion. Article available at http://arxiv.org/abs/1310.3501