Soft Matter

Soft Matter in general and colloids in particular cover a vast range of interesting physical problems from the very simple Brownean motion of isolated hard spheres over crystallization kinetics in hard core Yukawa spheres to the very complex motion of bacteria and artificial micro-swimmers. In many cases, colloids are used as model systems, because their interactions may be experimentally adjusted and controlled concerning strength, range and sign. Further, presence of the suspending medium condenses relevant time scales for many processes into the range of milliseconds to hours. And the colloid typical length scales allow investigations with optical methods like microscopy and light scattering.

Topics of specific interest are the self organization of structure (crystallization, phase transition kinetics,) and of dynamics and motion (glass transition, modular micro-swimmers, active matter). Both can be observed under conditions close to or far off equilibrium. This allows discriminating the influence of external fields (electric fields, gravity, confinement, shear) on suspension dynamics and structure, dependence of suspension properties on type and range of interactions (short- or long-ranged repulsive, attractive). Research in our group therefore touches both fundamental aspects and applied problems and is accompanied by instrumental developments.