Colloids form a fascinating platform to explore the physics of solid materials. We use a variety of tailored colloidal systems to study the structure and dynamics of highly correlated colloidal solids.

In practical situations, colloids often experience extremely non-equilibrium conditions. For example when strongly confined and sheared during microprocessing, or during drying and cracking in the formation of paint films. We develop new optical tools to study how colloids behave in these scenarios. 

Conjugated polymers exhibit a unique coupling between mechanically-induced conformational changes and their electronic structure. This results in mechanochromism which can be exploited to measure forces at the nanoscale. We exploit this approach, combined with molecular engineering, spectroscopy and imaging to shed new light on soft materials.