Oxford Colloid Group

To contact group members by email, please use firstname.lastname "at" chem.ox.ac.uk . Professors Dirk Aarts and Roel Dullens may be contacted here.

Principal Investigators

Professor Dirk Aarts
Professor of Chemistry
Student* of Christ Church

Dirk studied chemistry at the University of Utrecht, and completed his PhD in 2005 at the Van ’t Hoff Laboratory for Physical and Colloidal Chemistry under the supervision of Prof Henk Lekkerkerker. He subsequently moved to the Ecole Normale Supérieure as a Marie Curie Fellow, joining the group of Prof. Daniel Bonn. In 2007 he took up a lecturership at the Physical and Theoretical Chemistry Laboratory of the University of Oxford, combined with a Studentship at Christ Church. He was made full professor in 2013.

More about Professor Dirk Aarts

Professor Roel Dullens

Roel has moved per 1 August 2021 to the Institute for Molecules and Materials at the Radboud University in Nijmegen (Netherlands).

More about Professor Roel Dullens


Postdoctoral Researchers

Arran Curran
Dr Arran Curran
Optical trapping and colloidal holography (Personal Website)

Arran obtained his PhD in physics from Herriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, working with ZnSe-based microcavities, and subsequently worked as a postdoctoral researcher at the University of Glasgow, where he worked with optical tweezers. He joined the group in 2012, funded by the ERC, and brings expertise in optics which has allowed us to develop more complex experimental systems.

Arran's research interests include single-particle behaviour, in particular thermally-activated transitions and resonance, and driven systems. He is interested in everything to do with light, and is essential in managing the group's microscopy infrastructure. Elsewhere, Arran is an officer of a local cycling club, demonstrates in the physics teaching laboratory, and is interested in web design. He is co-founder of VeloVedic, a local company which provides cycling and yoga retreats.

Lucia Parolini
Dr Lucia Parolini
Droplet sorting using microfluidics and fluorescence

Lucia is from Italy, where she studied her undergraduate and master degrees in Physics at the Università Statale di Milano. She obtained her PhD at the University of Cambridge under the supervision of Prof. Pietro Cicuta, where she studied lipid membranes. After a further year in Cambridge as a postdoctoral researcher, she joined the Oxford Colloid Group as part of a collaboration with the group of Prof. John Frater in the Nuffield Department of Medicine.

Lucia is using microfluidics to sort droplets based on fluorescence, which will be applied to sort latent HIV infected cells for sequencing. These cells persist during antiretroviral therapy and are the major obstacle to the eradication of the virus. Outside of the lab, Lucia loves to travel and visits new places whenever she can.



DPhil Students

Lachlan Alexander
Active colloidal particles (LinkedIn Profile)

As an undergraduate, Lachlan studied chemistry at Christ Church, Oxford, and completed his Part II research project in the Oxford Colloid Group, studying the motion of electrophoretic Janus particles. On graduation, he stayed in the group as a DPhil, funded by the EPSRC and IDEX Bordeaux, and will spend half of his time in France at the Centre de Recherche Paul Pascal.

Lachlan is working on the interactions between active particles and colloidal liquid crystals, and hopes that one day his research will be used to inspire real-world applications. Outside of chemistry, he is an avid amateur Ballroom and Latin dancer and is secretary of the Oxford Amateur Dancesport Association. Despite his rather Gaelic name he is technically French, which stems from being of dual nationality.

Balkis Dohni
Optical deformation of colloidal liquid-gas interfaces

Balkis is from France, and completed a bachelor's degree in fundamental physics at the École Normale Supérieure (ENS), Lyon, jointly with the Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1. During this time, she was involved in various public engagement programmes, and interned at the Laboratory of the Future (LOF) in Bordeaux. She previously completed an internship in the Oxford Colloid Group working on the flow of rods in micro-channels, and has returned to the group for a DPhil, funded by the ERC.

Balkis is working on actively deforming a colloidal liquid-gas interface using optical tweezers, and is looking forward to augmenting her physics knowledge with colloidal synthesis expertise! Outside of the laboratory, she has a passion for competitive video gaming, enjoys playing Latin jazz on the piano and draws comic sketches.

Joseph Hutchinson
Two-dimensional binary colloidal systems

As an undergraduate, Joseph studied chemistry at Lincoln College, Oxford, and completed his Part II research project in the Oxford Colloid Group, studying the glass transition in two-dimensional binary colloidal systems. After graduating, he stayed in the group as a DPhil, funded by the EPSRC.

Joseph works on two-dimensional binary colloidal systems, with particular interest in coarsening dynamics in impurity doped crystals and in the glass transition in amorphous systems. Outside of chemistry, he enjoys going to indie music concerts, watching classic cinema and foreign language films, sampling real ales, visiting art galleries, collecting vinyl records, and occasionally attempting to jog around Oxford. He is open to suggestions for more pretentious hobbies!

Nicholas Orr
Grain boundaries in colloidal crystals

Nick studied MChem Chemistry at New College, Oxford, gaining a first-class degree. He first joined the group for a six week project working on microscopy of colloidal crystals in the summer of 2016 and stayed for his Part II research year, for which he received a departmental thesis prize. He is now a DPhil student studying interfaces and crystallites in colloidal systems, and is funded by the ERC.

Nick’s studies include the synthesis of colloidal crystals, small angle x-ray diffraction and development of algorithms to identify the location and misorientation of the grain boundaries within such crystals. Outside of the lab, he is president of the Donut Kings Big Band, “Oxford’s sweetest big band sound”, and plays drums in other pop and rock bands. College hockey also keeps him busy on the weekend!

Miranda Bell-Davies
Stochastic Thermodynamics

As an undergraduate, Miranda studied chemistry at Lincoln College, Oxford, and completed her Part II project in the Oxford Colloid Group, working on two-particle microrheology of colloidal particles in 2D random confinement. Having found our research interesting, and having enjoyed working in the group, she decided to stay following her graduation to pursue a DPhil, funded by the ERC.

Presently, Miranda is working on measuring colloidal pair potentials using optical trapping, after which she intends to look at the stochastic thermodynamics of various driven colloidal systems. Outside of the laboratory, Miranda enjoys ballroom dancing, drawing and sailing. She also enjoys reading and skiing.

Camille Boulet
Rheology of gels

Camille hails from France, where she studied a Masters degree in food science at the ENSAIA, during which she worked with the CSIRO on pathogenic bacteria and in the USA on food processing. She completed her thesis work in biochemistry at the Nestlé Research Centre in Lausanne, Switzerland. Camille joins the group as a DPhil, funded by an EPSRC iCase studentship in partnership with Syngenta.

Camille is working on the rheological properties of gels, which fascinates her because it links chemical and physical properties, and is very tangible with useful, everyday applications. Outside of science, she enjoys sports (dancing, running and horse-riding), cooking, reading and going to the theatre.


Mariana de Oliveira Silva
Colloidal liquid crystals

Mariana is from Brazil, and studied technological chemistry at the University of Campinas, which included projects in metabolomics and quality control for pharmaceuticals, as well as a year abroad at the University of Bristol. She subsequently completed a Masters degree in biomaterials. Mariana joins the group as a DPhil funded by a Brazilian government scholarship (CAPES), and is particularly interested in the thermodynamics of soft matter.

Mariana is working on producing novel colloidal particles for liquid crystal studies, and also plans to study the behaviour of active matter in a liquid-crystalline environment. Outside of the laboratory, Mariana loves to hang out with friends at BBQs, and enjoys travelling, martial arts, dancing and yoga. She is partial to a nice beer or a glass of wine! 



Postdoctoral Researchers​

  • Bo Peng 2013-2016, Synthesis and characterisation of (magnetic) colloidal systems.
  • Kazem Edmond, 2014-2016, Confocal microscopy of 3D colloidal crystals and TPM particle synthesis, now at Exxon Mobil.
  • Yongxiang Gao, 2013-2016. LinkedIn profile. Yongxiang's research focused on the physics of active colloidal particles and their synthesis.
  • Lia Verhoeff, 2012-2016. LinkedIn profile. Lia's research focused on emulsions and interfaces.
  • Marjolein van der Linden, 2015-2018. Marjolein worked on active particles.
  • Ivo Buttinoni, 2017-2020. Personal Website. Ivo worked with active particles at oil-water interfaces. Ivo is now a group leader at Heinrich-Heine University, in Dusseldorf.
  • Taiki Yanagishima 2017-2021, Confocal microscopy&optical tweezing of 3D colloidal crystals and TPM particle synthesis. Taiki is now an Assistant Professor at Kyoto University.

DPhil Students

  • Carla Fernandez-Rico, 2021. LinkedIn profile. Personal Website. Colloidal SU-8 Rods and Bananas: Synthesis and Self-assembly. Carla is now a post-doc at ETH Zurich with Prof. Eric Dufresne.
  • Adam Stones, 2019. LinkedIn profile. Structure and Interactions of Colloidal Fluids. Now at Company Watch Financial Analytics.
  • Louis Cortes, 2019. LinkedIn profile. Personal Website. Colloidal liquid crystals: phase behaviour, dynamics and confinement.
  • Michael Mordan, 2019. LinkedIn profile. Properties and dynamics of two-dimensional colloid-polymer mixtures. Now works for Syngenta.
  • Siyu Chen, 2019. LinkedIn profile. The ice-water interface and its interactions with colloidal monolayers. He is now a post-doc at the Max Planck Institute for Self-Organisation working with Karen Alim.
  • Joshua Abbott, 2018. LinkedIn profile. Driven colloidal particles in optical landscapes. Joshua works now for Oxford Nanoimaging.
  • Huzaifah Abdul Razak, 2017, wetting in colloid-polymer mixtures.
  • Yanyan Liu, 2017, Colloidal particles for confocal microscopy and optical tweezing.
  • Raam Chauhan, 2017, The Effect of Colloidal Aggregates on Fat Crystal Networks, currently at Softwire.
  • Kira Klop, 2016. Colloidal Rods in Confinement. 
  • Colin Reynolds, 2016, Field induced assembly of superparamagnetic colloidal particles, currently at Metaswitch.
  • Francois Lavergne, 2016. LinkedIn Profile. Personal Website. François studied the dynamics of grain boundaries in two-dimensional colloidal crystals. He then worked as postdoc in the group of Clemens Bechinger at the University of Konstanz, Germany. He now works for Veronique Trappe in Fribourg.
  • Paola Ferrari, 2016.
  • Julia Schollick,2015. LinkedIn Profile. In collaboration with Unilever, Julia researched freezing suspensions of colloidal particles. Currently works at BAE systems.
  • Alice Thorneywork, 2015. LinkedIn Profile. Alice researched quasi-2D colloidal hard-sphere particles as an accurate model of liquid state theory. She is now a postdoc with Ulrich Keyser at Cambridge University. 
  • Min Setu, 2014/2015.
  • Sam Ivell, 2014, currently Cyber analyst at Darktrace.
  • Mike Juniper, 2014, Dynamics of driven colloidal systems in one-dimensional potential energy landscapes. Currently works at Nikon.
  • Ioannis Zacharoudiou, 2013, Viscous Fingering and Liquid Crystals in Con finement. Currently at Imperial.
  • Oli Dammone, 2013, Confinement of Colloidal Liquid Crystals, currently at BAE systems.
  • Tom Skinner, 2012, Two-dimensional colloidal systems: grain boundaries and confinement, currently at BAE systems.
  • Liz Jamie, 2011, Colloidal Interfaces in Confinement, currently with Schlumberger.

Visiting Scientists

  • Francisco Alarcon Oseguera, 2018.
  • Taiki Yanagishima, 2017.
  • Andrei Petukhov, 2017.
  • Urs Zimmerman, 2012.
  • Laura Campo Deano, 2012.
  • Francisco Galindo Rosales, 2012.