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Our Current ESMP Team

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Hakam Agha

Postdoctoral Researcher
+352 46 66 44 6472
Hakam earned his Bachelor’s degree from the Lebanese University in Beirut, and his Masters degree from Henri Poincaré university in Nancy France (currently known as University of Lorraine). He later earned his PhD in material science from the university of Strasbourg in France under the guidance of Prof. Yves Galerne in 2013. More Info
Afterwards, he joined the group of Dr. Christian Bahr as a postdoctoral researcher in Max-Planck-Institute for Dynamics and Self-organization in Göttingen, Germany, where he studied liquid crystals flow in PDMS based microfluidics. Currently Hakam is working in our group on a project funded by the Office of Naval Research Global (ONRG) where he is investigating the optical behaviour of cholesteric liquid crystal droplets for object detection.
LAB’RINTH; Liquid crystal-bead reflectors illuminating the needle in the haystack.

Majdi Assaid

Bachelor Student
Majdi will be studying light scattering from polymers templated from cholesteric liquid crystals, after they are immersed in transparent media of different refractive indices. In particular, he will focus on cholesterics with short enough pitch to selectively reflect light in the ultraviolet (UV) spectrum, as well as long enough pitch for the selective reflection to be in the infrared (IR) spectrum.

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
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
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

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.
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.
Teaching, advising, helping us (his group) publish papers & be better researchers
+352 46 66 44 6219


Master Student
Xu will work on the spontaneous adsorption and self-organization of colloid particles at fluid interfaces induced by surfactants. She will explore the influence of the fluid phases involved on the physics behind this phenomenon, and she will utilize the acquired knowledge to design 2D particle assemblies with tailored features.
Spontaneous adsorption and self-organization of colloid particles at fluid interfaces.

Ashutosh Meelu

Master Student
Ashutosh earned his bachelor in science degree from Punjab university, India. Currently, he investigates the roles of anisotropic deswelling and osmotic expansion, respectively, in LCE shells, non-chiral nematics that acquire negative order parameter as a result, as well as short-pitch chiral nematics.
Chiral and non-chiral LCE shells.


PhD Candidate
Najiya earned her Masters from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research (IISER), Mohali in India. Before joining ESMP group, she worked on liquid crystal (LC) bio sensing, Synthesis and characterisation of LCs. Currently, she does her PhD with us on "Physics meet Biology" scheme, specifically on research in liquid crystal elastomers for artificial vasculature for sustaining organoid growth.
LC elastomers.

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
LC shell production & tuning defects using microfluidics for bio-sensing applications; MASSENA Project

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.
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.
LC fiber production using various polymers for increasing fiber mat stability; INTERACT Project

Xiang Zhang

Master Student
Xiang earned her bachelor's degree from Henan Normal University in China. She is currently doing her master thesis here.
Preparation of liquid crystal shells by controlled phase separation in droplets