Colloids and Granular Matter
Colloidal systems and granular matter cover a broad range of particle sizes and interactions. Forces with different length scales (electrostatic, van der Waals, steric, adhesion forces, etc.) become relevant for the behavior of individual particles and their collective behavior depending on particle size (from tens of micrometers down to nanometers) and on their local environment (particle concentration, confining geometry, properties of the continuous matrix). The time scales on which single particles, groups of particles or the entire sample react to a new situation cover several orders of magnitude.
The objective of our research is to explore the interactions between individual and groups of particles and to determine the properties and macroscopic behavior of the entire system, including surface-induced effects. Using commercially available and custom particles synthesized in house, our systems can be tailored based on different particle interactions. We are applying a variety of methods (AFM, optical microscopy, advanced rheological and optical scattering methods) and experimental designs to address events at different time and length scales, ranging from individual particles (colloidal probes) to bulk behavior and/or confining geometries.