Dinsmore Research Group

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We study the statistical mechanics of soft matter: colloids, vesicles, emulsions, nanoparticle suspensions and other squishy things. Our experiments probe the relationships among inter-particle forces, structure, and dynamics of many-bodied systems -- relationships that are central to research in condensed-matter physics.

We also apply this fundamental understanding to develop materials at the nanometer scale. Self-assembled materials have truly unique mechanical, optical and electronic properties with applications in nanotechnology and biomedical engineering.

Click on images for details. Publications can be downloaded.

Here is the schedule for the UMass Soft Matter Journal Club.

If you are an undergraduate student, check out the new UMass Integrated Concentration in Science (iCons). If you are a graduate student, check out the UMass Summer School on Soft Solids and Complex Fluids.

Who we are:
  • Tony Dinsmore, PI
    (Publications and cv).
  • Austin Barnes (headed to UCSB for grad school)
  • Wei He
  • Wei Hong
  • Richard Kenyon
  • Amanda LaFauci
  • Joseph Lawrence
  • Charles Lewis
  • Sebastian Russell (headed to Columbia for grad school)
  • Madeline Sauleda
  • Nesrin Senbil
  • Derek Wood
  • Yipeng Yang
  • We collaborate extensively with our colleagues in Physics, Chemistry, Polymer Science & Engineering, and Mechanical & Industrial Engineering.

    Group photo 7/2013 -- but Wei He and Wei Hong were away... [group 7/2013, missing Wei He and Wei Hong]
Group Alumni: Hugo Bissig (Swiss National Metrology Institute); Versa Clark (M.S.'05); Kan Du (Ph.D.,'10; NIST); Kapil Easwar, Kazem Edmond (B.S.'04; Emory Physics, now at NYU Physics); Susan Gibilisco, Matt Gratale (B.S. 08; UPenn Physics); Christian Guertin (M.S.'03;Vermont Photonics);Soichi Hirokawa (Bowdoin Coll.; REU 2013) now at Caltech; Brandon Hoover (NIH post-bac program; Univ. Wisconsin-Madison Biophysics); Ryan Horton; Jaime Hutchison (Ph.D., Jan 24, 2013; now postdoc with Vernita Gordon at UT Austin); Chris Knutson (M.S.'04; Arryx); Rui Kong (M.S.'05; Suez Energy); David Lawrence (B.S.'06; NYU Law Schl); Randy Leiter; Nate Lindzen (B.S. in Chemistry '07); Simona Maccarrone (postdoc, '09-'11); Yutaka Maki (B.S.'05; SUNY Coll. Optometry); Ryan McGorty (B.S.'05; Harvard Physics,now at UCSF); Jessica Meese (Carnegie-Mellon); John Mergo; Melissa Motew (B.S.'02; Lincoln Lab). Debo Olaosebikan (Illinois Wesleyan U.);Liquan Pei, Xiaotao Peng (Ph.D. '07; Alliance Fiber Optics Products); Tim Prisk (B.S.'07; Indiana U.);Ellie Radue; Susmitha Saripalli; John Savage (Ph.D. '07; postdoc at Cornell, now at Liquidia); Chuan Zeng (Ph.D. '11; Resident Fellow, Dept of Radiation Oncology, UPenn Perelman Hospital), Jing Zhou (Ph.D. '07, Xerox)

Prof. Dinsmore's Teaching:

  • Spring 2013:
  • Previous semesters:


    We gratefully acknowledge support from the following organizations:
    National Science Foundation.

    ACS Petroleum Research Fund
    Department of Energy EFRC: Polymer-Based Materials for Harvesting Solar Energy

    Xerox Corporation University Affairs Cmtee.

    Kraft Foods, Inc.

    National Aeronautics & Space Administration.
  • Solid Particles at Liquid Interfaces:
    Energy, interactions & curvature (Nesrin Senbil, Wei He, Wei Hong, Soichi Hirokawa).
    [curvature-capillary forces] [two spheres: capillary curvature] [measuring capillary force and geometry]

    Novel Functional Materials via Colloidal Assembly:
    For photovoltaics (Yipeng Yang, Austin Barnes, Ryan Horton), membranes, or electronics (Kan Du). See Vanmaekelbergh's 'News and Views' review of our work.
    binary nanoparticle structure [nanoparticle membrane] binary nanoparticle

    Lipid bilayer vesicles:
    Phase transitions and membrane proteins; pipette aspiration and the role of tension (Jaime Hutchison, Derek Wood).
    [vesicle with phase-separated domains] [vesicle under tension via pipette]

    Melting, Freezing, and Packing of colloids:
    Packing and commensurability constraints on curved surfaces; Nucleation probed with single-particle resolution (Derek Wood, Liquan Pei, John Mergo).
    [colloidal crystal] [structure of crystals on cylindrical surfaces]

    Granular Media:
    Electrostatic charge, contact forces, structure and stress (Brandon Hoover, Austin Barnes)
    [Charged sandpile] [Charged sandpile]

    Phase separation (coacervation) in polyelectrolyte/surfactant mixtures: Self-assembled mesoscopic clusters. (Simona Maccarrone)

    Random Solids - gels and compressed emulsions:
    Forces, topology, and elasticity; imaging droplets.
    [3D droplet pile] [3D colloidal gel] [Image of droplet resting on glass]

    Former Projects:

    Colloids and Optics:
    Scattering and diffusion of light in randomly packed films.
    [photonic cartoon] [opaque random media]

    Cylindrical Fluid Structures: hydrodynamic
    focusing of viscoelastic fluids.
    [Fluid cylinder] [Hollow elastic cylinder]

    Entropic forces near rigid
    and flexible surfaces:
and particles] [entropic
force fields]

    Doped semiconductor nanoparticles:
    [light emission]

    Copyright 2012 University of Massachusetts Amherst. Site Policies.
    This site is maintained by A. Dinsmore (dinsmore_at_physics.umass.edu).