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Dynamics of colloidal particles in liquid crystal membranes
This proposal aims at an international collaborative effort between the Department of Nonlinear Phenomena of Otto von Guericke University of Magdeburg (PI: A. Eremin, Co-PI R. Stannarius), Germany and the Soft Matter Research Centre, Department of Physics, University of Colorado Boulder, USA (PI: J. E. Maclennan). We plan a multi-faceted, comprehensive project to study hydrodynamics in restricted geometry such as in freely suspended liquid crystalline films and bubbles. Such systems represent a model for quasi-2D fluid and allow studying viscous drag and hydrodynamic interactions relevant to biological systems.
The significance of this research for soft matter physics and biophysics cannot be overstated since most of physiological responses in living cells are affected by the mobility of inclusions (such as membrane-proteins) in a membrane.
The motivation of this project is to facilitate the collaboration between the two research groups and expand the field of experimental studies of hydrodynamics in restricted geometry.
The aim is to give our students the working experience on these areas at the Soft Matter Research Centre at University of Colorado. This research is of crucial importance since it would provide us with a firm ground of preliminary work in order to apply for a potential full research grant from the German Science Foundation.
The scientific questions we wish to address in this proposal reflect the current state of the art of soft matter physics, rheology and the physics of liquid crystals. It consists of the following subtopics:
  • Mobility of single anisometric particles in freely suspended films in different hydrodynamic regimes.
  • Hydrodynamic interactions between inclusions in planar fluid films.
  • Self-organisation of inclusions on a spherical membrane.
  • Hydrodynamic interactions and mutual diffusion of inclusions in a spherical
  • Rheology of active particles in flat films. 

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