Jaeger Lab at The University of Chicago
We are working on a wide range of topics in soft condensed matter. A main theme is the investigation of materials under conditions far from equilibrium. Such conditions give rise to a wealth of complex phenomena that push the boundaries of what is currently known in physics. At the same time, the insights gained can be used to control properties in unique ways or design whole new classes of smart materials. One example in our lab is granular matter, which exists almost exclusively under far-from-equilibrium conditions and whose jamming/unjamming transition has become a model for understanding glassy behavior, while also providing a path to new types of high-efficiency particulate materials and enabling novel soft robotic systems. Another example is drying-mediated self-assembly, a process that takes place far from equilibrium, yet can be exploited to produce nanoparticle monolayer sheets with exquisite precision. A third example is ultrasonic levitation of small particles, which provides a unique testbed for the investigation of many-body emergent behavior in an underdamped, completely substrate-free environment, which is difficult to achieve with other experiments.