Our group studies the physics and physical chemistry of soft matter, including simple liquids, surfactants and lipids, polymers and bio-macromolecules. In particular, we study their behaviour and interactions at surfaces, interfaces and in confined geometries.
We employ a variety of experimental techniques, with emphasis on direct Angstrom level measurements of forces between atomically-smooth surfaces, and between adsorbed or confined molecules. We have developed uniquely-sensitive force-measuring methods, and use these to probe both dynamics and equilibrium properties.
We have a particular interest in understanding friction and lubrication at the molecular level, especially in aqueous media and in biological systems.
This relates directly to friction-associated diseases such as in eyes and joints. In addition we are extending our findings to macroscopic systems, including lubrication of hydrogels and the use of liposomes as lubricants in living joints, with a view to alleviating joint diseases such as Osteoarthritis. Some recent projects are outlined below. Click on the pictures for more information.