About the group
Soft matter exhibits a great many unique and useful macroscopic properties stemming from the variety of fascinating microscopic structures, from the simple orientational order of a nematic liquid crystal to the full periodic "crystalline" order of block copolymer mesophases. These materials provide ideal testing grounds for such fundamental concepts as the interplay between order and dynamics or topological defects.
Our group employs a bottom-up approach to study these materials, specifically polymer dynamics and self-assembly, with an emphasis on controlling macroscopic properties. Potential systems of interests include polymer nanocomposites, synthetic and bio-polymers, complex fluids, transport membranes, and polyelectrolytes. While our focus seems diverse, we are always guided by applications and by the need to establish their fundamental underpinnings. We combine experiments, simulations, and theory to understand the thermodynamic driving force that governs the equilibrium behavior of these complex systems at the nanoscale.