Soft matter describes materials which are easily deformable by applied stresses. A common theme is that systems possess particles that are too large for quantum effects to be important, but too small for gravity to dominate.
Our interests include squidgy materials (colloids and surfactants), liquid crystals (short range order and bistability effects) and the wetting or spreading of liquids (surface tension dominated effects at solid-liquid interfaces).
Our work uses rheology and transient capacitance methods to probe how materials respond to external forces and stimuli. We use static, dynamic and diffusive light scattering to probe the structure and dynamics of dilute and concentrated systems, and video and light microscopy to examine liquid structure and liquid droplet shapes. We use lithography, etching, electrodeposition and sol-gel techniques to shape and structure surfaces to control interactions with liquids.
Recent research has been conducted in collaboration and with the support of the Kodak Research, Unilever Research, the EU, EPSRC, The Royal Society, The Defence Science and Technology Laboratory and a range of UK and international universities.