The group research agenda covers areas of soft condensed matter that are common to physics, biology, chemistry and materials science.
Broadly speaking, we are interested in those physical systems where non trivial collective behavior emerges from the competition among elasticity, electrostatics and entropy. Systems under scrutiny include synthetic and bio-polymers, artificial and biological membranes,
and complex fluids.
We are currently interested in understanding the process of self-assembly in colloidal and biological systems, and in developing methods to reverse engineer this process by providing robust design strategies to target desired structures. One particular field that we are interested in is active matter. Unlike traditional nanoparticles whose motion follows Brownian trajectories resulting from the random collisions with solvent molecules, active particles have the ability of turning energy available in solution into directed movement. This unique property is usually associated with the living state, and is observed in biological systems at any length-scale, from the cytoskeletal-driven motion of a single cell to bird flocking. The combination of these unique non-equilibrium driving forces and the inherent stochastic nature of microscopic processes have endowed active systems with remarkable collective behavior. Our goal is to exploit these active random forces to develop the next generation of smart and active materials.
SA Mallory, A Cacciuto, “Activity-assisted self-assembly of colloidal particles” PRE 94, 022607 (2016)
J Harder, SA Mallory, C Tung, C Valeriani, A Cacciuto “The role of particle shape in active depletion”, J. Chem. Phys. 141, 194901 (2014)
SA Mallory, A Šarić, C Valeriani, A Cacciuto , “Anomalous thermomechanical properties of a self-propelled colloidal fluid”, Physical Review E 89, 052303 (2014)
BM Mognetti, A Šarić, S Angioletti-Uberti, A Cacciuto, C Valeriani, D. Frenkel, “Living clusters and crystals from low-density suspensions of active colloids”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 111, 245702 (2013)
J. C. Pàmies and A. Cacciuto. “Reshaping elastic nanotubes via self-assembly of surface-adhesive nanoparticles”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 106, 045702 (2011) (Cover paper of the weekly issue).
A. Šarić, J. C. Pàmies, and A. Cacciuto. “Effective elasticity of a flexible filament bound to a deformable cylindrical surface”, Phys. Rev. Lett. 104, 226101 (2010).
W. L. Miller, B. Bozorgui, and A. Cacciuto. “Crystallization of hard aspherical particles”, J. Chem. Phys. 132, 134901 (2010).