Many natural phenomena are difficult to study as they occur very quickly, at very small scales and in complex systems with many competing processes. As such, experimental model systems that are simpler but display analogous physics can provide powerful insights into these natural phenomena. Soft matter, broadly defined  as encompassing liquids, colloids, polymers, gels, foams, liquid crystals, granular materials and even some biological systems…, is a very rich source of these experimental model systems. 

Whats more, soft materials have  myriad industrial applications, from food to cosmetics to device displays, making their fundamental understanding also of substantial importance in a more applied setting. 

See below for more details on past and current research:

Experimentally modelling materials on the microscale with colloidal suspensions

Confined transport process: experimental model membrane channels