‘Surface forces’ are forces in the colloidal regime, acting over distances from less than 1 to several hundreds of nanometres. They determine the behaviour of a great variety of materials (solid as well as fluid) and dictate the interactions between colloidal particles and macroscopic surfaces. Forces in this regime also determine the self-assembly of molecules into larger structures, such as micelles and (lipid) membranes.
In our group we both measure and model surface forces and self-assembled structures in systems that are of interest from a fundamental point of view and related to practical problems or applications, ranging from environmental issues to food and pharmaceutical applications. Current research focuses on the following topics: