Our research focuses on subjects in the area of soft matter science. Meanwhile, colloid and polymer science
are of course classical areas of research. However, due to the strong interest in nano- and mesoscale materials
soft matter research is a strongly growing field at the moment and still has enormous potential with respect
to applications. Moreover, the new custom designed particles, which can now be made also can serve
this interesting model system to tackle more fundamental physical questions.
Within this framework our main research topics are microemulsions, microgels, block copolymers, and
nanoparticle/polymer hybrid materials. The experimental techniques we use are advanced scattering
experiments, but also imaging techniques are of growing importance.
Microemulsions are thermodynamically stable mixtures of the two in principle immiscible liquids water and oil,
which are stabilized by surfactant. A rich phase behaviour is found in this kind of systems.
These systems are very interesting as reaction media or for oil recovery.
The optical properties of microgels are rather poor, which is due to the low refractive index of the
solvent swollen polymer network. On the other hand nanoparticles have outstanding optical properties
but are not able to change size. Hence, it seems to be straightforward
to combine both systems to generate new hybrids combining the advantages of both particle types.
At the moment we plan to construct setups, which allow to combine neutron spin-echo spectroscopy
with rheology. Such a system should e.g. allow to study the change of the internal dynamics
in colloidal particles when exposed to a shear field.