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Some Important Announcements

Our Current ESMP Team

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Emmanouil (‘Manos’) Anyfantakis

Post-doc 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
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.

Joana Ferreira

B.Sc. Student Intern
Joana is currently an undergraduate student studying physics at the University of Luxembourg. She will be working on her bachelors thesis while studying liquid crystal elastomers under Rao's supervision.
Multi-core non-spherical liquid crystal elastomer actuator production & analysis

Lionel Fru

M.Sc. Student Intern
Lionel is currently a masters student studying physics at the University of Luxembourg. He is studying the process of film formation from evaporating sessile droplets of aqueous suspensions of CNCs under the direction of Manos.
Effect of substrate properties (e.g. wettability, surface charge) on the morphology & optics of CNC films

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
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.

Camila Honorato

PhD Candidate
Camila makes CNCs (cellulose nanocrystals) suspended in water, and studies their lyotropic liquid crystal self-assembly and its competition with the tendency of the nanorods to get stuck in a jammed state. She is working on the FNR-funded project MISONANCE.
CNC self-assembly into lyotropic liquid crystal phases; MISONANCE Project
+352 46 66 44 6499

Venkata Subba Rao (‘Rao’) Jampani

Post-doc 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 the soft matter research team, CEMS, RIKEN, in Wako-shi, Japan. More Info
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

Jan Lagerwall

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

Catherine G. Reyes

PhD Candidate
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
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!).

Christina Schütz

Post-doc Researcher
Christina obtained her PhD in materials chemistry from Stockholm University in Sweden. She is exploring the surface modification, and self-assembly of cellulose nanocrystals. She is also investigating the competing nature between the thermotropic and lyotropic liquid crystalline phase behaviors. More Info
Investigations on CNC self assembly & their corresponding lyotropic & thermotropic LC phase behaviors
After her phd, she worked for one year as a post-doc at KU Leuven in Belgium.

Her research interests are in developing a deeper understanding of the self-assembly processes with stronger insights in soft matter physics and physical chemistry.

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. 
LC shell production & tuning defects using microfluidics for bio-sensing applications; MASSENA Project
+352 46 66 44 5170

Anshul Sharma

Post-doc Researcher
Anshul earned her PhD in Chemical Physics in December 2015 after having worked in Dr. Torston & Dr. Elda Hegmanns' research groups at the Liquid Crystal Institute in Kent University, Ohio, USA. Prior to that she had earned her masters degree in chemistry from the National Institute of Technology, Jalandhar, Punjab, India. She then worked there as a project associate at the Indian Institute of Technology, Kanpur, India, for a period of 18 months. More Info
Identifying suitable polymers, precursors, solvents, and liquid crystal elastomers for wearable tech. using the electrospinning process; INTERACT Project
+352 46 66 44 6480
Before moving to Kent, Ohio Anshul had been living in Canada, & working as a PhD student in Torsten's lab at University of Manitoba, Winnipeg, Canada. When he and Elda decided to move Kent, she left as well. There, Ph.D work focused on new types of liquid crystal host-guest systems developed for new applications in soft matter and as well as for nano- and bio- material applications.

She joined the ESMP group as a post-doctoral researcher in the ERC funded ‘INTERACT’ project in January 2016. Her focus is on identifying suitable polymers, precursors, solvents and development of liquid crystal polymers precursors and liquid crystal elastomers for optimal usage in wearable technology and soft robotics by using microfluidics and electrospinning techniques.

Zornitza ('Zory') Tosheva

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

Shameek Vats

PhD Candidate
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.
LC fiber production using various polymers for increasing fiber mat stability; INTERACT Project
+352 46 66 44 5316