Experimental Groups

Alvaro Marin

University of Twente

Our group deals with experiments and simulations in some confined soft matter systems as, for example, colloids inside shrinking droplets or microparticles inside microchannels. Although our main drive is experimental, we often work with discrete elements simulations to reproduce the dynamics that we observe in the lab. Our research is mainly driven by curiosity and beauty, but we often end up finding interesting applications in the field of particle filtering and selection, microfluidics, ultra-sensitive detection analytes and photonics.

Arnout Imhof

University of Utrecht

We study concentrated colloidal dispersions subjected to external fields such as gravity, an electric field, or a shear flow. This way we can manipulate the particles to assemble into new structures, to undergo (non-equilibrium) phase transitions, or to form patterns. The 3-dimensional structure and dynamics are studied mainly using confocal microscopy, but also with scattering techniques and rheology. For these experiments new colloidal particles with anisotropic shapes or interactions or with a composite core-shell structure are also developed.

Bas Overvelde


We focus on the design, fabrication and fundamental understanding of materials that are capable of autonomously adapting to – and even harnessing – variations in their environment. We aim to uncover principles that help us understand how non-linearity and feedback can result in the emergence of complex – but useful – behavior in soft actuated systems. To this end, we explore active and sensing elements to implement feedback capabilities and computation in soft architected materials, and use a combination of computational, experimental and analytical tools. This line of research uniquely combines concepts from soft robotics and architected materials, providing new and exciting opportunities in the design of compliant structures and devices with highly non-linear behavior.

Claas Willem Visser

University of Twente

Our research focuses on manipulating fluids in the air to create in new advanced materials. For example, solidification of liquid templates (bubbles or droplets) on-the-fly enables rapid production of tailored soft or solid particles. Alternatively, these particles are directly 3D-printed into complex architectures, such as graded polymer foams. With collaborators, we optimize these materials for advanced functionality in e.g. acoustics, mechanics, biology, chemistry, or pharmacy.

Corentin Coulais

University of Amsterdam

We focus on "machine materials": artificial materials with programmable and interactive behavior. Using a combination of 3d printing techniques, desktop-scale precision experiments, numerical simulations and theory, we design and investigate materials with novel machine-like properties such as shape morphing or the ability to transmit motion in a single direction only. Such properties are not found in nature and have an impressive range of potential applications, from medical protheses to shock dampers for car and aerospace industries.

Daniela Kraft

University of Leiden

The soft condensed matter group of Daniela Kraft is interested in the physics and self-organization of soft matter systems. Topics include the rational design of anisotropic and patchy particles for use as model systems and self-assembly, particle-covered emulsions and virus particles.

Daniele Parisi

University of Groningen

Daniele holds A PhD in Materials Science and Technology attained at the University of Crete within the Marie Skłodowska Curie training network “COLLDENSE” (Colloids of Designed Response). Daniele is a Soft Matter experimentalist, with extensive knowledge of rheology, rheometry, polymer and colloid physics.
The research goal in the Parisi group is to understand the structural and dynamic properties of various (bio)polymeric and colloidal systems, in quiescent and under deformation conditions, to design and engineering novel impactful materials. The experimental research approach in the Parisi group involves various rheological techniques, often coupled with in-situ spectroscopy (i.e., birefringence, light scattering, Raman and FTIR), and molecular models, with the aim at linking molecular properties of polymers and macroscopic rheological response.

Devaraj van der Meer

University of Twente

We study the mechanics of granular materials and fluids, with a particular focus on those situations in which they interact with each other. Think for instance of the impact of a raindrop on sand, or the behavior of a very dense granular suspension. We strive to employ a combination of experiments, analysis and numerical techniques to attain to a profound understanding of the physics behind these systems.

Hanneke Gelderblom

TU Eindhoven

Our work lies at the interface between soft matter and fluid dynamics. In particular, we study the interaction between interfacial flows and soft (biological) materials such as bacteria, eukaryotic cells or proteins. In our research we aim to combine exciting physics with applications in biology and (biomedical) engineering.

Gijsje Koenderink


We investigate the physical mechanisms that govern the self-organization and (active) mechanical properties of living cells. We focus mainly on the physics of cytoskeletal polymers, active matter, and cellular mechanosensing. Key technologies in our lab are advanced microscopy, optical tweezer manipulation, optical microrheology, and rheology. Ultimately we aim to learn biological design principles to design new biomimetic materials.

Hans Wyss

TU Eindhoven

We use and develop experimental tools to study the structure, dynamics and rheology of soft materials, thereby revealing the physical mechanisms that govern their behavior. Current topics include the mechanics of cells and soft microgel particle systems, the use of microfluidics to control and study soft matter, colloids with anisotropic interactions, and the development of new mechanical probes.

H.Burak Eral

TU Delft

Our group’s interest is at the intersection of soft matter, transport phenomena and crystallization. We focus on fundamental principles governing out-of-equilibrium manufacturing/separation processes involving flow, phase transitions (particularly, crystallization, polymorphism) and complex fluids. Leveraging this fundamental understanding, we design sustainable processes and tailored soft materials contributing to societal challenges in water scarcity, energy transition and food security. We combine experimental techniques (microfluidics, high speed microscopy, rheology and scattering) and theoretical approaches (analytical & simulation techniques).

Janne Mieke Meijer

TU Eindhoven

Our group studies complex colloids and their self-assembly to understand how building block properties, interactions and overall assembly kinetics influences superstructure formation and phase transitions. The group combines quantitative real-space microscopy investigations with light and x-ray scattering techniques to obtain unique insights into the underlying microscopic structure, physical mechanisms and dynamics of colloidal self-assembly. Current projects include the self-assembly of anisotropic colloids, defects and dynamics in colloidal crystals and phase transitions in soft microgel systems.

Jasper van der Gucht

University of Wageningen

The Wageningen Soft Matter group works on a range of diverse topics, in which macromolecules generally play an important role. Specific topics include: foams, emulsion and ionic liquids; dense particle systems; biomimetic materials; molecular modelling; proteins and engineered protein polymers; self-assembly of micelles, membranes and vesicles; hydrogels. We aim at analysing soft materials from a physics point of view and manipulating them using chemical tools and expertise.

Joris Sprakel

University of Wageningen

We study and develop new responsive colloidal and polymeric systems. A major aim is to identify the mechanisms for catastrophic macroscopic phenomena such as fracture, melting and phase inversion at which microscopic structures, stresses and thermal fluctuations all become of significance. We also work on manipulating this interplay at the microscopic level to create new materials with enhanced functionality.

Joshua Dijksman

University of Wageningen

We are interested in the mechanical behavior of structured materials. In particular, we aim to understand how microstructure and interparticle forces combine to generate the surprising solid/fluid dynamics in for example soft particle packings, suspensions, granulates and other athermal particulate systems. To gain insight in these microscopic features, we develop new experimental tools such as macroscopic three dimensional microscopy, photo-elastic stress imaging and novel rheological methods. In addition, we combine 3D printing, video microscopy and other experimental techniques to explore the mechanics of soft friction and the flow behavior of active matter.

Laura Rossi

TU Delft

We work on the design, synthesis and characterization of colloidal particles for the self-assembly of novel materials. One of the main research focus of the group is the use of magnetic interactions to induce, control and study the rational assembly of colloids into materials with specific and adaptable mechanical and optical properties. Other topics include active matter, defect dynamics, drug delivery and diagnostics.

Mark Vis

TU Eindhoven

We want to deepen our understanding of depletion interactions in colloid–polymer mixtures and the phase behavior of these systems. Our focus is to move towards more realistic and more complex systems, featuring for instance charged species or anisotropic particles. We further focus on quantifying the structure of interfaces in these phase-separated colloidal systems. We approach these topics through a combination of theoretical and experimental methods, such as free-volume theory, self-consistent field computations, and light and X-ray scattering. Additionally, we work on (deep) eutectic solvents, which we similarly approach from both theory and experiments.

Martin van Hecke

University of Leiden and Amolf

We investigate the mechanics of soft materials near marginal points, such as the elasticity of marginal networks, and the flow and jamming of granulates, suspensions and foams. We focus on the interplay between mesoscopic organization and macroscopic features, and we combine numerical simulations, video imaging and mechanical/rheological measurements.

Paul Kouwer

Radboud University

The Molecular Materials group at Radboud University develops new synthetic hydrogels. The gels are based on polyisocyanides that reversibly gel when heated beyond room temperature. The semi-flexible nature of the polymer chains in combination with the fibrous architecture makes the gels very similar to collagen or fibrin gels, but with synthetic materials, we have much more control over their molecular structure and, hence the gel properties. Part of the group studies how we can (in situ) manipulate the mechanical properties of the gels; the other part manipulates the hydrogel to direct cell behaviour.

Peter Schall

University of Amsterdam

We investigate soft condensed matter at the micron scale - crystallization and phase separations, solid and liquid-like behavior, elastic and plastic properties. Using three-dimensional microscopic imaging and light scattering we bridge length scales from the particle scale to macroscopic lengths, thereby linking the microscopic behavior of these materials to their macroscopic properties.

Remco Tuinier

TU Eindhoven

In the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry we study the i) self-organization of colloids and polymers, ii) phase behaviour (and dynamics) of colloidal and colloid-polymer mixtures and iii) polymers & colloids at surfaces. For theme i applications involve the controlled encapsulation of compounds that need protection and/or need to be released at a desired rate. Topic ii aims at gaining a better understanding of the phase stability and dynamics in complex mixtures of colloids and polymers and bringing the knowledge towards mixtures in which the particles have realistic interactions (such as charges, soft repulsions). Applications involve understanding phase stability of complex mixtures such as food and (drying) paint. Theme iii involves the development of advanced (modified) surfaces for anti-(bio)fouling, controlled absorption/release and specific (bio)adhesion using tuned chemistry and topography as well as modifying surfaces to understand wettability, swelling, oil/water interaction(s).

Roel Dullens

Radboud University

In our group, we work at the interface of chemistry, physics and materials science and combine synthetic colloid chemistry (cooking) with state-of-the-art optical imaging (looking) and manipulation techniques (tweezing) to gain fundamental insight into a wide range of problems in condensed matter science. With our ‘cooking’ we develop new colloidal particles and tune their chemical and physical properties, whilst we ‘look’ at them using various forms of optical microscopy, and finally we manipulate and deform colloidal systems using optical ‘tweezing’. Examples of problems that we work on include colloidal banana-shaped liquid crystals, grain boundaries and defect in colloidal crystals, two-dimensional systems and driven colloidal systems.

Siddharth Deshpande

University of Wageningen

At the EmBioSys Lab, we study emergent properties of biological systems. We are a team of interdisciplinary scientists keen to understand how biomolecules self-organize to give rise to life. The other side of this fundamental exploration is to design bio-inspired, minimal functional modules to take a step closer towards synthetic cells. We are currently focussing on understanding cellular morphogenesis, especially the interplay between cytoskeleton, membranes, and biomolecular condensates. In parallel, we develop microfluidic techniques to achieve controlled experimentation and are further expanding towards biosensing.

Simone Ruggeri

University of Wageningen

We focus on the study at the nanoscale of biomolecular process in life and disease, such as protein liquid-liquid phase separation and protein self-assembly, as well as characterising advanced functional surfaces and materials. To pursue this objective, we develop and apply transformative single molecule imaging and spectroscopic technologies based on scanning probe microscopy to open a new research front and window of observation in Soft Matter.

Uddalok Sen

Wageningen University

The Physics of Soft Matter team experimentally and theoretically investigates complex fluids in soft matter systems. The complexity may arise from either the nature of the fluid (multiphase, non-Newtonian) or the nature of the flow. The problems we deal with are curiosity-driven and/or industrially-motivated. The topics include flows in biological and bio-inspired systems (swimming of microorganisms, biomolecular condensates) as well in synthetic systems (multiphase droplets, colloids, emulsions, polymer networks). We tackle these problems primarily using experimental techniques such as high-speed imaging, (confocal) microscopy, and rheometry.

Valeria Garbin

TU Delft

We are interested in the behaviors of soft materials under flow and deformation, particularly the extreme deformation conditions of cavitation (for biomedical ultrasound and biotechnology) and industrial processing flows (for formulated products and advanced materials). We study microscale transport phenomena in soft and biological matter using high-speed video microscopy, microfluidics, acoustofluidics, small-angle X-ray scattering, optical tweezers, acoustical tweezers, and other fluidic and imaging techniques. Combining precision measurements with numerical simulations or analytical models, we aim to link the change in microstructure of a soft material to its mascroscopic properties and its performance in applications. Our research is ultimately aimed at developing innovative solutions for sustainable processes and products, drug delivery, bioprocessing, and advanced materials.

Willem Kegel

University of Utrecht

We are interested in the mechanisms that govern the spontaneous formation of ordered structures from colloidal building blocks. Inspired by the rich complexity in biology, we develop and study new colloidal model systems in which both the geometry of the colloids and the orientation dependent interactions between them can be tuned. While emphasis is on experiments, theory plays an important role in our approach.