Research

Our research focus on the study of soft matter and related topics. Many familiar materials in our daily life, such as paints, soaps, liquid crystals in LCD, and even sand piles, are subjects of soft matter. Research in soft materials has had a profound impact on our society. The invention of liquid crystal displays (LCD), the development of e-ink used in Kindles via charged colloidal particles, and the potential use of shear-thickening suspensions to “top kill” disastrous blowout in oil wells are just a few examples that highlight the fascinating applications of soft materials. Soft materials share one common feature: their physical behaviors are determined by mesoscopic structures with length scales intermediate between the size of atoms/molecules ("building blocks" of materials) and overall macroscopic scales of materials. Thus, understanding the interplay between mesoscopic structures of a soft material and its bulk material properties, as well as controlling structural transitions through external forces, becomes the key for advancing our soft material research. In our group, we are particularly interested in studying emergent fluid phenomena and associated mesoscopic structural transitions in soft matter.

Specifically, our research focuses on three areas in this broad field: