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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.
CURRENT PROJECT
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
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

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

Xu MA

PhD Candidate
Xu earned her master degree on science in physics at university of Luxembourg. Now she will continue in our group for her PhD study. She worked on “Spontaneous adsorption and self-organization of colloid particles at fluid interfaces” before. Currently, she is working on using electrospray and controlled phase separation guided by confinement in droplets to make Cholesteric Spherical Reflectors (CSRs).
CURRENT PROJECT
ECLIPSE Project: Using electrospray and controlled phase separation to make Cholesteric Spherical Reflectors (CSRs)

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.
CURRENT PROJECT
Chiral and non-chiral LCE shells.

Najiya

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.
CURRENT PROJECT
LC elastomers.

Nikolay Popov

PhD Candidate
Nikolay earned his Masters in chemistry at Ivanovo State University, Russia. During his Masters he worked at the Nanomaterials Research Institute on the development of liquid crystal (LC) thin films bio-sensing technics. At ESMP Nikolay studied the bottom-up LC elastomer synthesis of shells and tubes using microfluidics. LC elastomer actuators tubes might be potentially useful in future as an artificial vasculature which improves vitality of organoids in-vitro. He also contributed to the MiShell Zero Gravity experiments project. Starting from July 2021 Nikolay will continue his research at ESMP as a doctoral candidate with a new research project which is mainly devoted to improving LC shells stability and their use in bio-sensing applications.
CURRENT PROJECT
Liquid crystal shells as reporters of biomolecular adsorption events

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

Rukhsar Ahmed

Master Student
Rukhsar received his bachelor degree from University of Gujrat, Pakistan. Currently, he is doing his master in University of Luxembourg at the same time he is investigating to make fibers by using frugal science by electrospinning technique
CURRENT PROJECT
Making fibers by using electrospinning method and changing different collectors.

Katrin schelski

PhD Candidate
Katrin earned her MSc in Analytical Chemistry and Quality Assurance from the University of Applied Sciences Bonn-Rhein-Sieg (HBRS), Germany. Before joining ESMP she worked on liquid crystal-based gas sensing and furthermore visited the group as an intern. Currently, she continues her research on the potential of electrospun, liquid crystal-filled polymer fibers for the quantitative detection of volatile organic compounds.
CURRENT PROJECT
The potential of electrospun, liquid crystal-filled polymer fibers for the quantitative detection of volatile organic compounds.

Lenka Vitkova

Intern
Lenka is currently a PhD student at Tomas Bata University in Zlín, Czech Republic. She is focusing on fabrication of biopolymer based 3D scaffolds for cells cultivation. Here at University of Luxembourg she will spend two months, during which she will investigate the liquid crystalline behavior of collagen solutions, and try to utilize these properties in electrospun fibers.
CURRENT PROJECT
The liquid crystalline behavior of collagen solutions

Deniz Avsar

PhD Candidate
Deniz earned her master’s degree in Chemical Engineering from Middle East Technical University (METU) in Turkey. During her master’s study, she worked on the synthesis and characterization of sensor microparticles templated from cholesteric liquid crystals (CLCs) to develop artificial photonic materials for the detection of volatile organic compounds. She joined the ESMP in September 2021 as a PhD candidate to work on TRANSCEND project.
CURRENT PROJECT

TRANSCEND Project: Transforming autonomous navigation, swarm robotics and construction by encoding data into surfaces.