Our research focuses primarily on statistical physics, soft matter, optical manipulation, and stochastic phenomena. We are interested in both experimental and theoretical aspects. We have also been active in plasmonics, Raman spectroscopy, biophotonics, cylindrical vector beams, and fiber optics.
Microswimmers, i.e., biological and artificial microscopic objects capable of self-propulsion, have been attracting a growing interest from the biological and physical communities. From the fundamental side, their study can shed light on the far-from-equilibrium physics underlying the adaptive and collective behavior of biological entities such as chemotactic bacteria and eukaryotic cells.
From the more applied side, they provide tantalizing options to perform tasks not easily achievable with other available techniques, such as the targeted localization, pick-up and delivery of microscopic and nanoscopic cargoes, e.g., in drug delivery, bioremediation and chemical sensing. We are tackling the open challenges in this field by developing biocompatible microswimmers capable of elaborate behaviors, by engineering their performance when interacting with other particles and with a complex environment, and by developing working nano swimmers.
We are studying physical systems far from equilibrium, focusing in particular on the role of multiplicative noise.
Optically Trapped Matter
Optical forces, i.e., forces exerted by focused laser beams on microscopic particles and biological cells. Since the first demonstration of optical tweezers approximately 30 years ago, they have become widespread both as a subject of research in their own right and as an enabling tool in fields as diverse as molecular biology, statistical physics, materials science and quantum physics.
Our research focuses on using optical tweezers to measure forces on the nanoscale. In particular, we have recently measured many-body effects in critical Casimir forces. Furthermore, we are developing a novel optical trapping technique based on speckle light fields.
In collaboration with Karolinska Institutet, we are developing a toolbox (www.braph.org) for the analysis of brain connectivity using data obtained with various neuroimaging techniques (e.g. MRI, PET, fMRI and EEG).