We synthesize colloidal particles with various shapes and surface chemistry in order to answer fundamental questions about flow and mechanical properties in suspensions. The colloids are model materials that allow us to predict the macroscopic behavior of a broad class of soft matter, because their interactions are well characterized. A key question that we are addressing is whether individual particles can be made to respond reversibly to external stimuli. We address this by engineering the chemistry and dynamics of polymer brushes that are grafted onto the colloids, then study their rheological behavior. Such types of particles will have important implications in the design of stimuli-responsive suspensions and self-assembled materials.
Personnel: Shravan Pradeep & Alan Jacob