Our Ph.D student Anjali Sharma was featured on FNR's Spotlight on Young Researchers blog!
Anjali works on forming liquid crystal shells and she works on trying to stabilize them using different surfactants and polymers.
Anjali and the team (Jampani, Nikolay and Jan from our group) + others from Prof. Ralf Stannarius's group in Magdeburg, Germany, observed LC shell behavior in a micro gravity environment made possible through several parabolic flights initiated in a plane provided by the German Aerospace Center (DLR
Read about & see her experience here on the FNR's site: Spotlight on Young Researchers: Anjali Sharma
Anjali’s PhD is funded by the FNR’s PRIDE programme in the framework of the Doctoral Training Unit (DTU) MASSENA, which has the goal to improve the understanding and the performance of materials used in sensing and energy harvesting
Congratulations to Catherine and Jan on the new publication RSC's Soft Matter:
"Isotropic-Isotropic phase separation and spinodal decomposition in liquid crystal-solvent mixtures" experimentally & theoretically reveals evidence of coexisting isotropic phases in simple mixtures of ethanol, 5CB, and water. Even though the nematic LC 5CB is arguably the most studied commercial liquid crystal worldwide, for the first time this study highlights experimental evidence of spinodal decomposition and nucleation and growth occuring between two isotropic phases and a single nematic phase between this common compound and equally common solvents.
(Click the image below to visit the article:
All supplementary info is open access!)
We're happy to welcome our new post-doc: Christina Schütz
! She officially joined the ESMP team
at the start of February, and will mainly be working with Camila on advancing projects related to CNC work. She received her master's from Martin-Luther-University Halle-Wittenberg in Germany (the same place where Jan did his habilitation thesis!), and then her PhD in materials chemistry from Stockholm University. Christina joins us for her 2nd post-doc, after spending a year at Wim Thielemans' lab in KU Leuven, Belgium. Happy to have another chemist joining us!
You can contact Christina via e-mail here
We wish Dr. Johanna Bruckner best of luck for the next stage of her career, which will be at Bosch in Stuttgart, Germany. During her post-doc with us from August 2015 until the end of March 2016 she has done fantastic work on suspensions of cellulose nanocrystals in non-aqueous solvents (publications are on their way...) and she has been a wonderful group member. We will all miss her very much, but we are happy that she will surely meet exciting new challenges at her next work place.
Congratulations to Johanna Bruckner, who was awarded the German Liquid Crystal Society's best poster award at the joint conference of the British and German liquid crystal societies, in Edinburgh, UK, 21-23rd of March 2016. The poster, entitled "Solvent effects on chiral nematic self‐assembly of cellulose nanocrystals" (co-authors Camila Honorator-Rios and Jan Lagerwall), describes the behavior of cellulose nanocrystal suspensions in non-aqueous but polar solvents, as well as a new method of exchanging the solvent without inducing aggregation of the rods. A publication is on the way...
The Experimental Soft Matter Physics group is now strengthened by a chemist, Dr. Anshul Sharma who recently defended her Ph.D. at Kent State University, under the supervision of Torsten and Elda Hegmann. She will work within the ERC project INTERACT on liquid crystal elastomers, in actuators produced by microfluidics and electrospinning. Welcome!!
We have a new student researcher: Nina Schwarz. Nina is a 3:rd semester bachelor student in physics at the University of Luxembourg, and since the 15th of October 2015 she will be working 10 hours per week in our labs to help with various tasks, and hopefully learn something and have some fun in the process. Currently she focuses on assisting Camila with synthesis of cellulose nanocrystals.
On the 14th of October 2015 we had the unusual pleasure to welcome two
new group members on the same day, Venkatasubbarao (we call him just 'Rao') Jampani (left) and Larry Honaker (right). Rao is a post-doc working within the INTERACT project, focusing primarily on soft robotics based on liquid crystal elastomers with non-standard morphologies and topologies, and Larry is a Ph.D. candidate, working within his own AFR project LIMEFLOW, which deals with flow of liquid metals, in particular the possibility of achieving liquid metal jets co-flowing within polymer solutions.
We have the pleasure to welcome Vanessa Schmidt-Barbé as new secretary at our Research Unit, working primarily within Jan's ERC project INTERACT.
We have the fortune to welcome Dr. Johanna Bruckner in our team. Johanna recently defended her Ph.D., carried out under the supervision of Frank Gießelmann, at the University of Stuttgart, and she secured a fellowship from the Dr. Leni Schöninger Stiftung for doing a six-month post-doc with us in Luxembourg. She will be working on liquid crystalline suspensions of cellulose nanocrystals (CNC) in various solvents. In doing so, she will be working closely with our other CNC researchers, in particular Camila, who is the Ph.D. candidate in the MISONANCE project.
Congratulations to YooMee Kye on her successful defense of her M.Sc. thesis entitled "Multi-core liquid crystal-polymer composite fibers produced by electrospinning" at the GSCST, Suwon, Korea, on the 12th of June 2015. Her work (the key results of which we hope will soon appear also as a journal article) is the first study of electrospinning fibers with more than one liquid crystal core, importantly with each core containing a different liquid crystal. This gives one and the same fiber multiple functionalities and the ability to respond to different stimuli. Below you see us enjoying an excellent Korean dinner as we celebrated the defense in the evening.
It is our great pleasure to welcome Yong Geng to our group as a post-doc. After obtaining his Ph.D. with Prof. Maria Helena Godinho in Lisbon he worked as a post-doc with Prof. Ralf Stannarius and Dr. Alexey Eremin in Magdeburg, before he came to Luxembourg. He will be working on colloidal crystals of cholesteric shells, produced in a microfluidic set-up, focusing on the optical properties and the pattern formation of these systems. This research is the core of the interdisciplinary dual-PI project UNIQUE, funded by University of Luxembourg. The second partner of the project is the team around Gabriele Lenzini and Peter Ryan at the UL's Interdisciplinary Center for Security and Trust, which will analyze the patterns generated by the colloids from an information content point of view. Young will thus interact closely with Samir Ouchani, a post-doc in computer science working under the guidance of Gabriele.
We welcome Camila Honorato as a member of our group! She will be working as a doctoral candidate in the MISONANCE project, carried out in collaboration with the team of Prof. Tanja Schilling at PhyMS, UL. Camila will study the self-assembly of water-suspended cellulose nanocrystals into lyotropic liquid crystal phases, and how this self-assembly competes with the tendency of electrostatically charged nanorod suspensions to arrest into a jammed state. She will interact closely with Anja Kuhnold from Prof. Schilling's group, who is doing theory and computer modeling corresponding to Camila's experiments.
In connection to the German Liquid Crystal Conference in Stuttgart we took the opportunity to organize a reunion of the Halle group, with Giusy and JungHyun as "honorary guests". From left to right: Eva (now in Stuttgart), Giusy, Jan, Martin (now in Würzburg), Stefan (now in Leipzig), Sarah (now in Magdeburg) and JungHyun. Hsin-Ling should have been there as well but a train accident in London prevented her from catching her flight, so in the end she could only join us via Skype.
Benjamin Henx, bachelor student in the University of Luxembourg physics program, will do his thesis work together with JungHyun during the 2015 spring semester. He will be working on microfluidics, liquid crystals and polymerization.
Sammy Wagner, student in the University of Luxembourg Master program for physics, will carry out his Master thesis work in the Experimental Soft Matter Physics group. He will be working with suspensions of cellulose nanocrystals, studying liquid crystal and glass formation in connection to our project on the topic, MISONANCE.
We have the pleasure of welcoming Dr. Martin Urbanski to the Experimental Soft Matter Physics group as a post-doc. He comes from the University of Paderborn, Germany, where he worked with Prof. Heinz Kitzerow. Martin secured a personal post-doc grant from the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg (FNR) for a two-year project entitled DISGONA. He will be studying nematic liquid crystals functionalized with gold nanoparticles by means of dielectric spectroscopy.
Duckhee Kim, who did an internship with Jan while Duckhee did his undergraduate studies at SKKU and Jan was at SNU, is starting his Master studies in physics at University of Luxembourg. He joins the Experimental Soft Matter Physics group on part-time basis as a 'student researcher'.
Zornitza Tosheva joins the Experimental Soft Matter Physics group as a Research Associate. Zory was previously investigating radon in different water sources and will now change to study liquid crystals and colloids.
JungHyun Noh is the group's first Ph.D. candidate after the move to Luxembourg. She secured a personal Ph.D. grant from the Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg (FNR) for a project entitled ULISCO. The project deals with innovative ways of making liquid crystal shells as well as the study of the topological defects arising in these shells.
Congrats to Kevin for defending his B.Sc. thesis entitled "Topological Defects in Liquid Crystal Shells" very successfully. Kevin did a great job while he was with us and we hope that his and JungHyun's research efforts will soon be summarized in a new paper.
Kevin Reguengo de Sousa, undergraduate student in the University of Luxembourg physics program, will be carrying out his thesis work with the group during the fall. He will work together with JungHyun on liquid crystal shells.
It is with great pleasure that we welcome our new Ph.D. candidate, Catherine Reyes, coming from Cornell University where she carried out her Master studies with Prof. Margaret Frey. Catherine should have arrived already in September but the paper work for allowing a US citizen and Cornell graduate to start as Ph.D. candidate in Luxembourg turned out to be beyond our wildest imagination… Anyway, she is finally here and she will be working full time on liquid crystal-funcationalized electrospun fibers for wearable technology.
Since March 1st 2014 the “Soft Nano- and Microstructures Group” at Seoul National University ceased to exist and it is replaced by the “Experimental Soft Matter Physics” group at the University of Luxembourg
, where Jan since this date is full professor in physics, at the Physics & Materials Science Research Unit
. This web site will eventually be updated to reflect the new situation and the changes it will entail. Our current main research foci (on functional composite fibers produced by electrospinning; on liquid crystalline shells [low molar mass and elastomeric]; and on liquid crystalline self-assembly of cellulose nanocrystals) will remain and we are still very interested in transdisciplinary research, although there will be an increased focus on physics with more room for fundamental research than what the situation in Korea allowed.
Congratulations to JungHyun Noh who successfully defended her M.Sc. thesis, “Two Novel Cholesteric Liquid Crystal Systems: Microfluidics-Produced Droplets and Self-Assembled Cellulose Nanocrystal Films” on the 6th of December 2013 at the Graduate School of Convergence Science & Technology. The thesis will soon be available for download from the publications page.
Congratulations to Dr. Hsin-Ling Liang who successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis, “Microfluidic Produced Liquid Crystalline Shells: Self-assembled structures in nematic and smectic shells” on the 25th of September 2013 at Johannes-Gutenberg-Universität Mainz. The thesis will soon be available for download from
the publications page.
Congratulations to Dr. Stefan Schymura who successfully defended his Ph.D. thesis, “Liquid Crystalline Carbon Nanotube Suspensions: From Unique Challenges to Unique Properties” on the 4th of July 2013 at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. The thesis is available for download in pdf format by following this link
YooMee Kye, new student at the GSCST on a combined Master-PhD track, joins the SNM lab. She will (at least to begin with) be working with electrospinning of liquid crystal-functionalized fibers with multiple cores.
Congratulations to Dr. Eva Enz who successfully defended her Ph.D. thesis, “Electrospun Polymer - Liquid Crystal Composite Fibres” on the 16th of April 2013 at Martin-Luther-Universität Halle-Wittenberg. The thesis is available for download in pdf format by following this link
Martin Kühnast and Hsin-Ling Liang, Ph.D. students from Germany (Hsin-Ling is originally from Taiwan) at Martin Luther University Halle-Wittenberg and University of Mainz, respectively, are visiting the SNM and LC Nano labs in February. Hsin-Ling will work together with JungHyun Noh
on liquid crystal shell production and analysis and Martin will work primarily on carbon nanotubes in thermotropic liquid crystals, largely in collaboration with the LC Nano lab of Prof. Giusy Scalia
With the 2012 spring semester starting on the first of March, three new M.Sc. students and one new Ph.D. student join the SNM lab:
We're happy to welcome our new post-doc: Manos Anyfantakis! He officially joined the ESMP team at the start of July, and will mainly be working on advancing projects related to hydrodynamic flows, kinetic arrest, LC structure formation in the CNC work we have happening. He received his masters applied molecular spectroscopy in 2007, earned a phd in chemistry in Greece in 2010, and has since travelled to Germany and France for postdocs on the wetting of surfactant solutions and optofluidics phenomena before finally joining us in Luxembourg. You can contact Manos via e-mail here.
Welcome to both Anjali (left) and Shameek (right) who have joined our team as phd students starting in July.
Anjali will be working on making LC shells for advancing bio-related projects, while Shameek will be working on finding new polymers for advancing applications related to electrospun LC-fibers.
We have the pleasure to be hosting Ross Volpe, Ph.D. candidate, from Prof. Christopher Yakacki's group
at the University of Denver, Colorado, USA, until August (the longest we've had a guest over yet!).
During his stay, he will mostly work with Rao on further advancing the actuation of micro shells & also start the development on actuating cylinders. We hope that these months will result in a great collaboration!