S (Simone) Dussi PhD

S (Simone) Dussi PhD

Onderzoeker

I studied Physics at La Sapienza University in Rome, with a special attention to physics of matter, statistical mechanics and computational techniques. In my Master project, supervised by prof. Francesco Sciortino, I developed and employed state-of-the-art simulation techniques to study the competition between the self-assembly into finite-size structures (such as chains and rings) and the gas-liquid phase separation in charged dumbbell-like particles. (read paper)

Afterwards, I moved to Utrecht (NL) where in a very stimulating, interdisciplinary and international environment, I obtained my PhD cum laude (highest grade) (link to PhD thesis) under the supervision of prof. Marjolein Dijkstra. Computer simulations were my main tools of investigation to study phase transitions in suspensions of colloidal particles. Nevertheless, I often relied on predictions obtained by a novel density functional theory, that I developed in collaboration with the theoretical physics group leaded by prof. René van Roij. For a variety of colloidal systems, I managed to identify several design rules based on how microscopic details (e.g particle chirality, biaxiality) are related to the macroscopic self-assembly into liquid crystals. At the same time, I collaborated with the experimentalists supervised by prof. Alfons van Blaaderen in the study of icosahedral clusters formed by colloids confined in emulsion droplets, and on the sedimentation of mixture of silica rods and spheres.

From February 2017, I am a postdoc in the Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter group of Prof. Jasper van der Gucht. My research is part of the SoftBreak project, where we aim to unravel the microscopic processes that lead to mechanical failure of soft polymer networks. Together with Justin Tauber, I developed a simulation framework to study the mechanical behaviour of disordered materials. I was able to support the interpretation of experiments on delayed fracture in synthetic polymer gels. Furthermore, in collaboration with the group of prof. Gijsje Koenderink (AMOLF), we studied hybrid biopolymer networks to shed new light into tissue mechanics. Currently, we are finalizing several studies on elasticity and fracture using a range of simulation techniques for single and double polymer networks.