soft matter design and processing

the helgeson lab


Our research spans a broad range of topics related to the structure, thermodynamics, and processing of complex fluids and soft matter. Our primary focus is to explore the microstructure and rheology of colloids (nanoparticles, emulsions, biomolecules, etc.) in the presence of self-assembling molecular fluids such as surfactants, polymers, and structured solvents. Although these materials pervade our daily lives, a more fundamental understanding of colloids in self-assembling media that would inform their engineering in new frontiers - including nanotechnology, medicine, and energy production - has yet to be realized. We believe the primary challenge to such an understanding is how interfacial interactions between fluid and colloid propogate to larger length scales and, ultimately, how they can be rationally controlled to design new, highly functional material platforms and processes.

To tackle this challenge, our lab utilizes expertise in a number of areas at the interface of chemical engineering, materials science, and soft matter physics:

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