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Corn field – sky interface. Urbana-Champaign, USA.

Interfaces, Confinement, and Soft Matter

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Motivated by the global challenges of water, energy and health, Dr. Espinosa-Marzal’s research aims to (1) design of functional (bio)interfaces, (2) understand their behavior at a molecular and nanoscale, and (3) exploit intermolecular interactions to tailor macroscopic properties. The research theme includes the areas of interfaces,  confinement, assembly and soft matter and it targets innovation in novel interfaces and materials, and to answer fundamental and scientifically relevant questions that can help protect our environment, improve current energy technologies and advance health-related industries.

Current research interests are:

1. Physico-chemical interfacial phenomena and interfacial forces (friction) involved e.g. in (bio)tribology, and at electrolyte-electrode interfaces
2. Surface functionalization via thin polymer films, organic monolayers, hydrogels, graphene
3. Mechano-chemical interface processes in the context of (bio)minerals
4. Behavior of nanoconfined liquids

To learn about the behavior of solid-liquid interfaces, we investigate interfacial forces, molecular adsorption,  friction, and chemical composition. The group has expertise in Atomic Force Microscopy, Surface Forces Apparatus, QCM, x-ray scattering, diffraction, and spectroscopy techniques, among others.

The application fields of this fundamental research are broad, including nanotribology, energy storage,  tissue engineering, biomineralization and nanofiltration.

NEW:   Summer Research opportunities for Undergraduate and Graduate Students!