The contact of soft matter with solid surfaces offers the possibility to imprint external lateral structures deep into the bulk of the adjacent complex fluid and thus to manipulate it in a controlled way. The kind of soft materials under investigation encompass colloidal suspensions, ionic liquids, polymers, liquid crystals, and ferrofluids. This general theme is pursued by studying various paradigmatic cases, e.g.
The static structural properties of platelet and rod fluids are studied. The combined theoretical and experimental investigation of single lamellar polyethylene nanoplatelets contributes to fundamental and long-standing issues of polymer crystallization:
Single lamella nanoparticles of polyethylene C. H. M. Weber, A. Chiche, G. Krausch, S. Rosenfeldt, M. Ballauff, L. Harnau, I. Goettker-Schnetmann, O. Tong, and S. Mecking Nano Letters 7, 2024-2028 (2007).
The adsorption and immobilization of proteins from aqueous solutions onto solid surfaces is among the most important problems in biochemical research. In this context the motion of proteins in densly grafted layers of spherical polyelectrolyte brushes has been studied:
Ion-specific solvation free energies lead to an unequal partitioning of ions at liquid-liquid interfaces. This gives rise to the formation of an interfacial double-layer and a negative contribution to the interfacial tension: