Soft Matter Physics Group

Optical Metamaterials

Nanomaterials can have optical properties not found in nature, such as a negative refractive index. We create periodic nanostructured plasmonic materials with interesting symmetries and study their optical response.

Nanostructured Energy Materials

Many materials for novel energy technologies benefit from a control of materials assembly on the 10-nm length scale. Examples include organic and dye sensitised solar cells, and electrodes for super-capacitors and batteries. We use a template-assisted nanostructuring approach utilizing polymer self-assembly.

Flexible Optical Structures

They include interference optics from rubbers that can be reversibly colour-tuned across the full visible spectrum by any kind of mechanical deformation, such as elastic Bragg stacks and cavities.

Structured Materials in Nature

Biological organisms use carefully assembled materials for a range of functions and we study the interplay of structure and function in these systems. Examples include the structural optics of animals and plants, the structure and mechanics of nacre, and optical and wetting properties of biological surfaces.

Macromolecules far from Thermodynamic Equilibrium

The properties of macromolecular materials depend sensitively of their molecular structure. Because of their slow relaxation times, macromolecules are often quenched far from equilibrium. We study the formation of non-equillibrium morphologies and their consequence for materials properties.

Synchrotron Big Data

Big Data science applied to hybrid and bio-inspired materials allows to gain in-situ insights into the precise structure of the nanostructured matter and its corresponding formation pathways.

Adolphe Merkle Institute - Chemin des Verdiers 4 - CH-1700 Fribourg - Phone +41 26 300 9254