the helgeson lab:

   soft matter design and processing


Our research spans a broad range of topics related to the structure and dynamics of complex fluids and soft matter. Our primary focus is to explore the behavior of colloids (nanoparticles, emulsions, biomolecules, etc.) in the presence of structured fluids such as surfactants, polymers and gels. Although these materials pervade our daily lives, a more fundamental understanding of colloids in structured media would inform their engineering in new frontiers - including nanomaterials, biotechnology, and energy conversion. Our approach is to understand how interfacial interactions between fluid and colloid propogate to larger length scales and, ultimately, harness these interactions to rationally design new, highly functional materials 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:

Tuning colloidal interactions through molecular self-assembly. Nanoemulsions: doing big things with tiny drops! New microscopy tools for probing structural dynamics. Novel processing methods for designer colloids. Using flow to achieve new microstructures.

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