Can we produce mm-sized spherical objects displaying structural coloration that can be tuned on demand? The answer is yes...and besides the application interest, this is a great platform for studying the self-assembly of lyotropic liquid crystals in an unconventional geometry...more details to come soon.
In colloidal systems, the size, shape and interparticle potential are key particle properties which dictate, in as yet not fully predictable way, the rich phase behavior, the thermodynamics and the formation of non-equilibrium glasses or gels, occuring in a variety of different materials.
The dynamic wetting of liquids has gained increased research attention due to its fundamental interest as well as practical importance in numerous technologies. Especially the wetting of complex fluids is an exceptionally challenging but particularly complex case...
My research interests broadly deal with the intriguing physico-chemical phenomena that occur in soft matter systems. Part of my previous research and most of the current experiments fall within the frame of the interactions between complex fluids and external fields. So far, the focus was and continues to be on the light-complex fluid interactions. Can we understand these interactions? If yes, can we exploit them for applications? Below there is a list or relevant projects. More ongoing projects to follow very soon...
Particle deposition from drying drops of colloidal dispersions phenomenologically seems to be a rather simple problem. However, our everyday experience contrasts intuition: ring-shaped deposits are observed after the evaporation of spilled coffee drops.
What can happen if you load a common colloidal suspension in a chamber, let it overnight, go home and come back next day to observe it? You would guess not much...but look more carefully at the air/water interface: you might observe beautiful crystals!
Can we move a drop sitting on a solid surface by shining light on it? Can we optically control wettability alterations and exploit them for optofluidic tasks? Can we pattern colloids at predefined positions on the surface? Well, at least we try!
What happens when you shine light from a laser pointer on a transparent semidilute solution of poly(isoprene)? Normally, apart from weak light scattering, nothing else should occur…however, performing this simple experiment will definitely surprise you!
Cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) are rod-like nanoparticles that are derived from cellulose, the most abundant biopolymer on earth. Evaporation of aqueous CNC suspensions can lead to the formation of dry films with structural color, as a result of selective reflection from the the cholesteric structure in the film. So, wait a second: by combining a very simple method (evaporation) and a low cost-sustainable nanomaterial (CNC), we can produce a material with an attractive optical response (iridescence)...is this true? Yes, it is, but there are some issues...