Soft and Complex Matter Lab
Short introduction to the Lab
The Soft and Complex Matter Lab is currently located at NTNU's Department of Physics and Faculty of Natural Sciences.
Soft matter is typically composed of nano-/meso-structures, which are easily deformable when exposed to weak external fields, such as flow fields (microfluidics), mechanical forces,
electric or magnetic fields, or by thermal agitations.
We study soft matter which is most often complex matter that results from self-assembly of nano- or micro-sized building blocks.
A main experimental model system studied in the lab is clay, which are nano-layered silicate patchy particles, that can form soft and complex structures through spontaneous self-assembly of its particles.
Other materials that we use as model systems for soft and complex matter are various types of colloidal particles, cellulose, zeolites, surfactants, polymers.
We are also particularly interested in natural and nature-inspired materials science, including geo-inspired materials and bio-mimetic phenomena.
We try to reduce complexity to simplicity as much as possible without loosing the essence.
Complexity means "reduction and removal of redundancy", as first defined by John Locke (1632-1704): "Ideas thus made up of several simple ones put together, I call complex; such as beauty, gratitude, a man, an army, the
universe". This is illustrated in art by Picasso in his famous bull drawing from 1945, shown above.
A drawing called "Various animals attempting to follow a scaling law"
by Pierre-Gilles de Gennes (Nobel prize in physics 1991) in his book "Scaling Concepts in Polymer Physics", Cornell University Press 1979.
Developing new understanding of basic physical properties and processes in soft and complex matter from the nano-scale to the human and geological scales. We wish to sort out what is universal, from what is specific.
Work on universal problems of practical relevance to fields of actual importance to society, ranging from nanotechnology to environmental or energy rleated topics. Examples of possible applications emerging from our
research, for future technologies include: Molecular, including CO2, capture and retention by natural and nature-inspired materials, soft matter based electronics, complex photonic materials, soft scaffolds for bioengineering, new
composite cementious eco-materials.
Soft matter, Nature-inspired materials, Nano-technology, Complex matter, Pattern formation, Anomalous diffusion, Spontaneous and guided selfassembly, Smart materials, Nano-structured materials, Nano-particles, Nano-clays, Composite materials, Photonic structures, Hydrodynamics and Rheology, Microfluidics, Nanofluidics.
Adjunct Professor PhD
Senior Scientist at IFE
Researcher/Adjunct Professor PhD
Onsager Professor at NTNU 2023-24, visiting from New University of Lisbon, Portugal
Barbara Pacakova, Per Erik Vullum, Alexsandro Kirch, Josef Breu, Caetano Rodrigues Miranda & Jon Otto Fossum
, March 13-23, 2023 at Bardøla Høyfjellshotel, Geilo, Norway.
MRS Bulletin 47, December 2022. DOI: 10.1557/s43577-022-00349-8
has been brought forward as an MRS milestone. In this article we demonstrate simple self-assembly of heterostructures such as graphene-clay-graphene, which could form the next generation of nanodevices.
Some highlight examples from our publications
Bright, noniridescent structural coloration can be obtained from nematic clay mineral double nanosheet suspensions,
see Science Advances 8(4), DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abl8147 (2022)
CO2, or other molecules, or ions, or nanoparticles, can be captured and stored in between stacked clay nanolayers,
Langmuir 39, 4895 (2023);
J. Phys. Chem. C126, 17243 (2022);
Langmuir 37, 14491 (2021);
J. Phys. Chem. C124, 26222 (2020);
Scientific Reports 8, 11827 (2018);
Scientific Reports 5, 8775 (2015);
Langmuir 28, 1678 (2012),
and other publications from our lab.
Clay swelling (by intercalation), and clay nanolayer delamination, occurs when external molecules, such as H2O, enter the interlayer space within a clay particle. Inreased humidity, immersion in liquid water or increased temperature facilitate the swelling and delamination, thus producing nematic phases. Such nematic jamming effects on the nanoscale can on the macroscale "counterintuitively" lead to increased mechanical strength and increased viscosity. when the temperature is increased in such a system.
Sketch taken from: Scientific Reports 2, 618 (2012); See also Soft Matter, 9, 99994 (2013), Applied Clay Science 198, 105831 (2020) and Langmuir 37, 160 (2021) and other publications from our lab.
A silicone oil drop with an electrohydrodynamically induced ribbon of particles. Further, the applied DC E-field can polarize certain particles forming dipolar chains confined to a drop interface. We have also studied the electrohydrodynnamics of droplet coalsecence for production of Janus capsules. Experimental image taken from: Nature Communications 4, 2066 (2013).
See also Nature Communications 5, 3945 (2014) and other publications from our lab.