The Squires group develops microfluidic “labs on chips” that probe fundamental phenomena coupling physical, chemical, and fluid-mechanical processes. Specific areas including probing the migration of suspended colloids, drops and polymers under chemical gradients of various types, and the conceptual design of systems that exploit such migration, e.g. to drive engineered particles to ‘find’ regions of interest. Additionally, new label-free techniques enable chemical concentration fields to be visualized as they evolve, opening new windows to directly track multicomponent transport.
The Leal and Shell groups combine transport theory and thermodynamics to understand the mysterious stability of surface nanobubbles. These very flat bubbles form in water at hydrophobic surfaces and last for days, even though classical arguments suggest lifetimes of a few microseconds. Simulations at a variety of resolutions are being pursued, from molecular dynamics to continuum scaling laws.