“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it's not the same river and he's not the same man.”



I was born in Crete, the largest island of Greece, in 1984. I earned a B.Sc. in Materials Science (2005) and a M.Sc. in Applied Molecular Spectroscopy (2007) from the Univ. of Crete. My M.Sc. thesis (with Profs. Vlassopoulos and Fytas), was about the thermodynamics and phase behavior of organosilica nanoparticle suspensions. This was the critical point where I decided to focus on the exciting field of soft matter, which had just been unveiled before my eyes.

During my PhD at UoC (with Dr. Loppinet and Prof. Fytas) and the Max-Planck Institute for Polymer Research (with Prof. Butt), Germany, I was introduced to the organization of soft matter induced by external fields. I explored the laser-induced microstructure formation in non-absorbing polymer solutions. This puzzling yet intriguing (till now!) phenomenon greatly enhanced my curiosity and shaped my scientific philosophy.


After my military service, I returned to MPIP for a postdoc (with Dr. Auernhammer) that introduced me to the curious world of surfaces. In parallel to investigations of light-driven soft matter organization, I studied the wetting of surfactant solutions. Apart from hands-on experience in surface science, I got familiar with an intriguing soft matter class that I have used a lot since, surfactants.

Thanks to an irrelevant invitation to review one of his papers, I came to know Prof. Baigl, and in 2013 I joined his team at École Normale Supérieure, Paris as a postdoc. A year later I was awarded a Marie Curie fellowship. Quickly realizing my perfect match with the philosophy of Baigl's team, and profiting from the unique freedom I was given, I initiated various new projects that involved all types of soft matter I had played with so far. These included particle deposition from evaporating drops and its relation to patterning and diagnostic applications, the manipulation of soft matter with external fields, and the organization of colloids at liquid and solid surfaces. This allowed me to develop my independent research directions, centered around the physical chemistry of soft matter, with an emphasis on the couplings of complex fluids with external fields.

In 2017, I joined the team of Prof. Lagerwall at the Univ. of Luxembourg. There, I opened the door to another exciting class of soft mater, liquid crystals. Since 2019, I am a Principal Investigator, thanks to a generous 3-year Core Junior grant  from the Luxembourg Research Fund (COReLIGHT: Colloidal organization at interfaces reconfigured by light-driven thermal Marangoni flows). Besides this, my current research focuses on the self-assembly of cellulose-derived nanomaterials. (e.g., structurally colored films  and responsive liquid marbles) and interfacial polymerization pathways for preparing functional films of biodegradable polymers. I especially focus on the use of the above for photonic and sensing applications.

CD-SMS                                                                                        Curiosity-Driven Soft Materials Science

© 2020 by Manos Anyfantakis

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