Complex liquids under flow are ubiquitous in nature and technology, ranging from the flow of blood in our bodies to the flow of surfactants in enhanced oil recovery. We are in particular interested in studying and designing microfluidic devices for sorting and separating colloidal particles based on their size and deformability. Such systems are especially important for biotechnological applications, for example protein purification, cell sorting, and early diagnosis of pathogenes.
However, little is known about the underlying physics of complex systems under flow, impeding the design and fabrication of effective devices. Computer simulations play a substantial role in advancing this field, as they allow for microscopic insights and precise control over the system parameters, which is otherwise often challenging or even impossible in experiments.
Imagine your book case could construct itself without you moving a single finger. What might sound like science fiction, happens in fact every day in nature on a microscopic scale, for example when cell membranes are formed or you wash your dishes. Designing and engineering such self-assembling materials is one of the major challenges in soft matter, and holds immense promise for the large-scale fabrication of novel nanomaterials and pharmaceutics. In our group, we study the fundamental principles of these intricate systems using advanced theoretical and computational methods. In particular, we focus on the role of external fields on self-assembly, and the possibility to guide the building blocks into well-specified structures.