The emergence of nanotechnology and increasing ability to manipulate matter on ever-smaller scales enable design and manufacturing of novel materials, devices, and applications as well as raise a number of challenging questions such as how to manipulate fluids at micro- and nanometre length scales. The behaviour of fluids at these scales is dominated by viscous and interfacial forces, while inertia and gravity play a negligible role. As a consequence, surfaces and associated interfacial forces becomes crucial for any operating microfluidic device. Recent progress in controlled fabrication of patterned surfaces at the nano- to micro-meter range open excellent prospects in tailoring interfacial forces which in turn can be used for controlled manipulation of adsorbed fluids.
Our group's research aims at a basic understanding of the effects of a submicron confinement
on both the static and dynamic properties of complex fluids. The goal is to exploit controlled spatial
confinement in order to program the fluid's behavior with a view on practical applications in, e.g.,
microfluidic devices, engineered water-repellent surfaces or fabrication of novel responsive materials.
Research areas encompass synthetic micro-motors, static and dynamics of wetting of nano-patterned substrates,
effective interactions in various colloidal systems, interplay between topologically nontrivial confinement
and colloids and topological defects in liquid crystals. To pursues our research interests we exploit
various theoretical approaches such as molecular dynamics simulations, density functional theory, and
often collaborate with experimentalists.
For further information see the descriptions of our research topics: