The area of Colloidal and Interfacial Science is strongly represented in the graduate program with several faculty members having active research programs both experimentally and theoretically related to colloids, biomembranes and thin polymer films. This area of research links fundamental scientific aspects with novel applications. The Ristenpart group uses microfluidic manipulation and characterization to understand biological systems. Especially the application of electric fields to understand their effects in complex fluids and biological suspensions is a focus.
Research in the Kuhl group is focused on measuring intermolecular and intersurface forces in complex fluids with an emphasis on polymers, proteins, biomembranes, and bio-mimetic materials. Modem principles and techniques of surface chemistry, colloidal science, physics, and biology are utilized to understand and engineer the interactions between molecules, assemblies, and surfaces at a fundamental level.
The Longo group develops and combines quantitative microscopy and biomaterials engineering to gain knowledge of the structure, transport, thermodynamics, and mechanics of lipid bilayer membrane and monolayer systems. These serve as experimental models of cell membranes and have technological applications such as drug delivery, high throughput screening, and wine-making.
The Dungan group is investigating transport into and out of micelles. Experimental tools include light scattering, differential scanning calorimetry, holographic interferometry, and nuclear magnetic resonance. Boundary integral numeric theory is used to model interfacial transport. For complex solutions such as micelle-gel with polymers models based on self-consistent field theories are employed.
Professor Stroeve’s group conducts research in nanotechnology and ultrathin film science. The focus in the research area of nanotechnology is the use of porous templates to make nanotubes, nanowires and nanocables, and their use in biosensors, detectors and protein separations. The research in ultrathin film science is directed towards correlating physical properties with film chemistry and nanostructure.
The Moule group studies mixing at interfaces between semiconducting polymers and/or small molecules and uses beam line and microscopy techniques to determine the mixing mechanism. This research has wide applicability to a variety of organic electronic materials and devices.
The Faller group complements these experimental efforts with computer simulations of soft condensed matter. Recently the focus has been on multiscale descriptions of complex materials like biomembranes, glasses and polymer mixtures. The group utilizes a self-built Beowulf cluster as well as large scale computing facilities at National Labs.