Microfluidics is the science and technology that studies the behaviour of fluids in confined geometries. These can be simple, such as straight channels, or they can be of arbitrarily complex shapes, representing a more realistic model of similar systems found in nature. Flowing, pumping and mixing of fluids are processes that take place in microfluidics in the low Reynolds number regime and therefore differ significantly from similar processes in macroscopic turbulent systems. The behaviour of homogeneous and isotropic fluids is already relatively well known and understood, but active research is still being carried out at the level of more complex systems, such as inhomogeneous or anisotropic fluids. By adding micro- or nanometre-sized particles to liquids, processes such as aggregation, sedimentation or jamming are observed. The occurrence and intensity of these processes can be controlled externally, for example by external fields or by manipulating the interactions between particles. The geometry of the system also plays an important role, since with the appropriate geometry these processes can be stopped or accelerated, and an additional spectrum of interesting phenomena can be observed at phase boundaries. The work will be experimental in nature and will include the preparation of the samples, the measurements and their analysis, if necessary designing and producing the most appropriate experimental set-up, comparison with existing theoretical models and preparation of publications. The proposed programme will be done within the programme group Light and Matter (http://www-f7.ijs.si/research/), in close collaboration with the Experimental Soft Matter Physics Laboratory at FMF.
Doc. dr. Mojca Vilfan
works as a research associate at the Department of Complex Matter F7. Her research interests are focused on experimental soft matter physics, specifically magnetic liquid crystals and microfluidic systems. Her most notable works describe the study of magnetically actuated artificial cilia and colloidal liquid crystalline systems. She works part-time at the FMF and has recently co-authored two books, Photonics and Optics.