Research Statement
Interfaces are ubiquitous in nature and have attracted the interest of scientists since many centuries. Besides a fundamental drive much research in interfaces is motivated by technology and industry, where understanding interfacial behaviour is of key importance. We aim at a better understanding of interfaces by studying colloidal interfaces. Recent developments in colloid science, which include new chemical synthesis techniques that allow exquisite control over the size, shape and interaction of particles and new physical measurement techniques such as confocal microscopy and laser tweezers, have opened up a host of exciting opportunities to study interfaces with unprecedented accuracy and control.
Research Topics
  • Particle development and development of colloidal molecules
  • Development of a colloidal surfactant system
  • Flow of complex fluids in microfluidic channels
  • Hydrodynamic instabilities at the particle level
  • Demixing and phase behaviour in confinement
  • Transport through capillary wave zones
  • Rigidity of colloidal interfaces
These topics are addressed by combining modern colloid science, laser scanning confocal microscopy, and microfluidics.

We synthesize a range of colloidal particles, varying from core-shell PMMA particles, polystyrene spheres, to colloidal Janus particles; stable in water or organic solvents, labelled with fluorescent dyes, and with different aspect ratios. Certain types of particles can be purchased. For info, please contact Dirk Aarts.

The lab is equipped with a state-of-the-art laser scanning confocal microscope: the Zeiss Exciter. There are currently two detectors installed with four different laser lines: 458, 488, 514, 543 nm. Moreover, we can easily switch between two different microscopy positions, see below.

We have a newly constructed cleanroom (class 100.000) fully equipped to do soft-lithography. Pictures of the cleanroom can be found below as well as examples of microfluidic cells used. Channel dimensions typically very between 1 and several 100's of µm and we mainly use SU8 photoresist and PDMS polymer.