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.