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Some Important Announcements

Our Current ESMP Team

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Hakam Agha

Postdoctoral Researcher
+352 46 66 44 6472
Hakam is on INTERACT and will be working with making soft robotic components using LCE shells.
CURRENT PROJECT
Soft robotic components using LCE shells.

Emmanouil (‘Manos’) Anyfantakis

Postdoctoral Researcher
Manos earned his MSc in applied molecular spectroscopy after writing a thesis on the thermodynamics and phase behavior of organosilica nanoparticles. He earned his PhD in Chemistry in 2010 at the Univ. of Crete & FORTH, in Greece where he investigated light-induced pattern formation in polymer solutions. More Info
WEBSITE
CURRENT PROJECT
Flow phenomena effects on CNC film formation
During his phd studies, Manos spent one year in MPIP, Mainz, Germany, in the group of H.-J. Butt. Following his military service, Manos returned to MPIP as a postdoc in 2011, to explore the dynamic wetting of surfactant solutions. In 2013, Manos joined the group of D. Baigl at ENS, Paris, France where he initiated projects concerning various optofluidic and patterning phenomena, in part thanks to an independent Marie-Curie Intra-European Fellowship that he was awarded.
Manos became a member of the ESMP group in July 2017, and is exploring how simultaneously occurring phenomena (e.g. hydrodynamic flows, kinetic arrest, LC structure formation) affect the structure of films formed after the evaporation of cellulose nanocrystal dispersions.

Yong Geng

Postdoctoral Researcher
Yong received his Bachelor and Master degrees in Physics from China, and then his PhD in 2013 in materials science from New University of Lisbon, Portugal, in the group of Prof. Maria Helena Godinho, where he did a short post-doc as well. After that he did a one-year post-doc in Prof. Ralf Stannarius’s group in Magdeburg University and worked with Alexey Eremi, during which he had a chance to spend two months in Wigner Research Centre for Physics in Hungary and collaborated with Dr. Tamás Börzsönyl and Dr. Péter Salamon, funded by COST ic1208. More info
CURRENT PROJECT
Selective reflections from cholesteric liquid crystal shells.
From July 2015 to September 2017, he worked as post-doc in our group, mainly focusing on the studying of selective reflections from cholesteric liquid crystal shells. Now he is back and will continue the work he previously worked on. His research interest covers ordering- disordering process of polymers and liquid crystals, phase transitions; Optical properties of cholesteric liquid crystals; microfluidics; liquid crystalline networks; self-assembly of functional polymers, liquid crystals and particles.

+352 46 66 44 4994

Lawrence (aka Larry) Honaker

PhD Candidate
Larry got his M.S. in Chemical Physics from the Liquid Crystal Institute at Kent State University in Kent, OH (USA), working primarily with biological sensing at liquid crystal interfaces. Presently, he works on the jetting of liquid metals in co-flowing systems with a view to their incorporation into polymer fibers under the AFR project LIMEFLOW. More Info
RESEARCH GATE
CURRENT PROJECT
Liquid metal behaviors in polymer solutions & surface tension of LCs using microfluidics; LIMEFLOW Project
+352 46 66 44 6928
During his Master’s studies, he was invited to travel to Seoul National University in the summer of 2013, where Jan was at the time, to participate in a collaborative NSF-IRES program. The program involved the development of responsive and smart textiles through electrospinning.

After Jan moved to Luxembourg, Larry learned about the grants available through the Luxembourg Research Foundation and applied for a grant to work on his Ph.D. This allowed him to work towards the production of liquid metal-core fibers using electrospinning, for example. He was awarded an AFR grant in June 2015 and moved to Luxembourg in October of the same year to begin his Ph.D. project.

Venkata Subba Rao Jampani

Postdoctoral Researcher
Rao graduated in Engineering Physics from the National Institute of Technology, Warangal, India in 2009 and obtained his PhD in Physics from University of Ljubljana, Slovenia in 2013. After his PhD, Rao worked as a postdoc at Max-Planck-Institute for Dynamics and Self-organization Göttingen, Germany and Physicochemical SoftMatter Research team, CEMS, RIKEN, in Wako-shi, Japan. More Info
CURRENT PROJECT
LC elastomer shell synthesis using micofluidics & applications for soft-robotics; INTERACT Project
His research focuses on topological defects in liquid crystal elastomeric shells and their applications, and liquid crystal shells, droplets and their self-assembly.

Rao now works mainly on liquid crystal elastomers (LCE) shells and their applications in soft-robotics using microfluidics platform. He also works on studying optical and topological defects in shells in order to exploit them as a novel components for next generation LC science. He is working on the ERC funded project "INTERACT".
+352 46 66 44 6349

Rijeesh Kizhakidathazhath

Postdoctoral Researcher
+352 46 66 44 64 80
Rijeesh earned his Ph.D. in Life Science from Hokkaido University, Japan under the guidance of Prof. Nobuyuki Tamaoki with the thesis entitled “Dynamic induction of enantiomeric excess from a prochiral azobenzene dimer under circularly polarized light”. He was a Postdoctoral Research Fellow in the group of Prof. Hirotsugu Kikuchi at Kyushu University, Japan and his research focused on the development of high-performance liquid crystal / polymer composites using unique molecular designs. He joined the ESMP group in June 2018 and is currently working on the production of polymerizable cholesteric liquid crystal shells for making authentication or reflector tags. He is also focusing on the preparation of cholesteric liquid crystal elastomers for the applications in LC-based wearable technology.
CURRENT PROJECT
The production of polymerizable cholesteric liquid crystal shells for making authentication or reflector tags.

Jan Lagerwall

PI & Group Leader
Jan leads the Experimental Soft Matter Physics (ESMP) group. Check out his personal website below for details.
CURRENT PROJECT
Teaching, advising, helping us (his group) publish papers & be better researchers
+352 46 66 44 6219

Mitch Magrini

Visitor
Mitch is visiting from Boulder, CO (USA) where he is Ph.D. student in chemistry working on synthesizing novel liquid crystalline materials to test the limits of packing and frustration of molecules in LC phases. During his short visit, he will be working on polymerization of LC shells.
CURRENT PROJECT
Production and polymerization of LC shells.

Catherine G. Reyes

Postdoctoral Researcher
Catherine uses coaxial electrospinning to produce responsive fibers functionalized with liquid crystals in the core. She also studies the complex relationships between LC & polymer solutions when exposed to the spinning process. The ultimate aim to use these LC-fibers in autonomous wearable tech. devices. She is working on the ERC funded INTERACT project. More Info
CURRENT PROJECT
LC-polymer fiber production via electrospinning & studying their defects + optical properties; INTERACT Project
+352 46 66 44 6784
Prior to coming to Luxembourg to start her phd, Catherine worked on electrospinning nylon membranes for aerosol capture as part of her masters thesis in fiber science at Cornell University. She obtained her bachelors degree in chemistry at Cornell as well, and interned at the NYPD forensics laboratory in NYC during that time.

That internship was her first exposure to polarized light microscopy, fibers and polymers (quite useful in the end!).

Katrin Schelski

Intern
Katrin is visiting for her master’s thesis and actually studies analytical chemistry and quality assurance in Rheinbach, Germany. Her work deals with electrospinning of liquid crystal filled polymer fibers for gas sensing. Katrin works mainly with Catherine.

Vanessa Schmidt-Barbé

Group Assistant
Vanessa is the group’s secretary who helps us balance our budgets & with purchasing all of our equipment (extremely important!)
+352 46 66 44 6891

Anjali Sharma

PhD Candidate
Before joining the ESMP group in July 2017, Anjali had worked on the characterization of thermotropic liquid crystals. Her PhD project now is to create liquid crystal shells and to use them for bio-sensing applications. 
+352 46 66 44 5170
RESEARCH GATE
CURRENT PROJECT
LC shell production & tuning defects using microfluidics for bio-sensing applications; MASSENA Project

Andy Stoffel

Master Student
Andy earned his B.Sc in Physics from the University of Luxembourg. Currently, he is doing his master's project on "Tailor made-defects for tuning the actuation response in liquid crystal elastomer shells". He mainly works with Jampani.
CURRENT PROJECT
Tailor made-defects for tuning the actuation response in liquid crystal elastomer shells.

Zornitza ('Zory') Tosheva

Research Associate
+352 46 66 44 6332
Zory is involved in several projects of the ESMP group, her current main focus being on cellulose nanocrystal (CNC) self-assembly.
CURRENT PROJECT
CNC self assembly & film production

Shameek Vats

PhD Candidate
+352 46 66 44 5316
Shameek earned his bachelors degree in polymer science from the University of Delhi and his masters from Tampere University of Technology in Finland. He previously has worked on polymer fibers and materials characterization. He joined the ESMP group in July 2017 to also work on the INTERACT project. He is working on finding suitable textile-grade like polymers for further stabilizing liquid crystal cores in electrospun LC-fiber mats.
CURRENT PROJECT
LC fiber production using various polymers for increasing fiber mat stability; INTERACT Project