"We have reason to believe that man first walked upright to free his
hands for masturbation."
-- Lily Tomlin
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Micron sized beads can be trapped in regions of high light intensity. A laser
beam wavefront can be sculpted by a computer generated hologram and focused on
an almost arbitrary intensity distribution. We're working on applications of
holographic optical micro- manipulation to microfluidics, statistical
mechanics, colloidal science.
Life at the mesoscopic scale can be much different than our macroscopic world.
Fluids flow without inertia, liquid interfaces can be as hard as walls,
thermal agitation of the environment kicks so strongly that objects wander
around restlessly. We're interested in colloidal interactions, complex
rheology of suspensions, surface phenomena.
Thermal fluctuations drive dynamics on the meso and microscopic scales. Energy
provides the background landscape for the resulting motions. Using
experiments and computer simulations we look at both the single particle
Brownian motion in external force fields and the slow, cooperative relaxations
in glassy systems arising from highly complex multidimensional landscapes.
We work at the design of new light driven devices and sensors providing non -
invasive tools to manipulate and analyze micro - environments such as
microfluidic devices or biological samples.