Prime motivation of our research is to obtain a better understanding of liquid-air and liquid-liquid interfaces on a molecular scale and to relate this knowledge to colloidal systems which are by nature determined by an unusual surface/volume ratio.
The interfacial regions between bulk media, although often comprising only a fraction of the material present, are frequently the site of reactions and phenomena that dominate the macroscopic properties of the entire system. Hence, the understanding of the self-organization of molecules at interfaces and their corresponding static and dynamic properties defines a central theme of Colloid and Interface Science.
Our group wants to contribute to a better understanding of interface dominated systems such as foams or emulsions. We want to understand the relationship between the microscopic structure of an adsorption layer and the molecular structure of its constituent molecules. Moreover, we want to relate the microscopic properties of an interface to the macroscopic behaviour of a system.
We have a suite of techniques at our disposal with the sensitivity to detect less than a monolayer of adsorbed molecules. Some of these techniques are rather sophisticated such as Infrared-Visible Sum-Frequency Spectroscopy, Second Harmonic Generation or the pump-probe experiments. Others are traditional techniques, such as ellipsometry, Brewster angle microscopy, surface plasmon spectroscopy employed in new ways and pushed to new limits. Each of these technique probes different elements of the interfacial architecture and the combination gives us valuable insights in the organization of molecules at interfaces. A special emphasis has been put on the dynamic processes at interfaces and several unique experiments have been developed to address this.