Imagine getting ready in the morning to go to school or work: you brush your teeth, wash your hair, eat some cheese and drink a glass of milk. It turns out that toothpaste, shampoo, and most foods have one thing in common: when you use a powerful microscope to zoom in on these materials you will find particles suspended in a background liquid or solid. These particles, called colloidal particles, are around 1 micrometer in size, which means they are roughly a thousand times larger than molecules and a thousand times smaller than grains of sand.  Colloidal particles are of practical interest to industry, for example to give materials certain properties: toothpaste should easily be squeezed out of the tube, but it should stay on the toothbrush. They are also studied by scientists at universities: since the work of Albert Einstein we know that studying colloidal particles can help us to understand fundamental aspects of nature.

In the 3 public lectures we will highlight certain aspects of colloidal particles: in the first lecture we will show that lasers can be used to manipulate the particles and that we can use light to measure forces that are ten billion times smaller than the weight of a single piece of paper. The second lecture will focus on the behaviour of rod-like molecules and colloidal particles, which may form a state of matter between that of a crystalline solid and a liquid. This state is called a liquid crystal, which is used in many display technologies. Indeed, the LCD in LCD TV stands for Liquid Crystal Display. The third lecture will show that rod-like colloidal particles can also be used to make super-strong fibers.

Venue: Zwarte Doos Movie Theatre, TU/e campus, Wednesday 17 February 2016, 10:00am. Free entrance.

You can download the poster of the event here.

Missed the lectures or want to have another go? Check the DiStruc YouTube channel


Wednesday 17 February 2016
Venue: Zwarte Doos*, TU/e campus


Playing Colloidal Mikado Public Lectures
Chair: Dirk Aarts


Tweezing with a twist
Optical imaging and laser tweezing of the micro-world with live demonstrations
Roel Dullens and Arran Curran, University of Oxford

11:00-11:30 Coffee break


Liquid crystals: smart structured fluids for applications
Flat screen TVs, smart materials and living cells
David Dunmur, University of Manchester


Making filaments made easy: a do-it-yourself experiment in fibre technology
Erik Westerhof, Tejin Aramid