Department of Complex Matter
Jamova cesta 39, 1000 Ljubljana, Slovenia

Dynamics of Quantum matter

We explore non-equilibrium many-body dynamics in quantum systems that experience symmetry-breaking, topological, or jamming transitions. These systems encompass superconductors, charge-density wave, and magnetic materials.

Experimental Soft Matter Physics

The research is conducted within the “Light and Matter” research program. The interaction of light with matter is one of the most important fields of physics and optical processes are indispensable in many branches of modern industry.

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April 11, 2024
Dr. Dragan Mihailović, a leading researcher in the field of quantum systems at the Jožef Stefan Institute (IJS), has successfully won the third project of the European Research Council (ERC), HIMMS (High-Resolution ...
Home / Research / Experimental Soft Matter Physics

Experimental Soft Matter Physics

Experimental Soft Matter Physics research is conducted within the “Light and Matter” research program.  The interaction of light with matter is one of the most important fields of physics and optical processes are indispensable in many branches of modern industry. Although the latter predominantly involves solid-state materials, soft materials offer a vast horizon of novel possibilities and challenges.

Soft matter physics deals with materials that are easily deformed by thermal fluctuations and external forces. Examples are liquids, colloids, foams, polymers, biomaterials, liquid crystals or granular materials. Their physics is directly intertwined with the ability of their constituent molecules to self-assemble or to organize into mesoscale and even macroscale structures, giving rise to many novel and unexpected physical phenomena.

Our group comprises experimental investigations of optical phenomena in soft matter, interactions of light with soft matter, as well as possible applications in photonics, information technology and medicine. Among the main topics of research are the investigation of polar nematic liquid crystalline materials, liquid crystalline elastomers, magneto-active polymers, self-assembled biological materials and biomedical optics.

The group’s forefront soft matter material research on new materials is accompanied by the development of optical methods. The work is done closely with the Faculty of Mathematics and Physics, University of Ljubljana.

Active research focuses

The recent experimental realization of ferroelectric nematic liquid crystalline phases has stimulated numerous experimental studies of these phases. We focus on phase and properties characterization, fabrication of custom polarization structures,…

Among magnetically responsive soft matter we investigate the physical properties and behavior, as well as the fundamental principles of magnetic actuation of magneto-active elastomers, colloidal suspensions of magnetic particles and…

We study active colloidal systems in the form of magnetically and electrically driven micro- and nanoparticles. Activity-induced self-organisation is observed and investigated in dense particle suspensions or large groups. Optical…

Our recent activities include non-invasive characterization of human skin and select pathologies, objective monitoring and optimization of laser treatments, investigation of novel nanostructures for bioimaging and therapeutics, and development of…

We focus on guanine-rich DNA sequences in which four guanines self-assemble into highly stable quadruplex helices and can form LC phases in dense solutions. In collaboration with pharma industry we…

Recent articles

Correlations of scattering properties in human skin with person’s age assessed using a non-invasive technique
Neža Golmajer Zima, Nina Verdel, and Boris Majaron

Biomedical Optics Express (2024), vol. 15, iss. 6, 3817–30, DOI: 10.1364/BOE.523183, COBISS.SI-ID 196204803

Electrically tunable two-color cholesteric laser
Lotfi Saadaoui, Donghao Yang, Yu Wang, Faheem Hassan, Irena Drevenšek Olenik, Xinzheng Zhang, Zenghua Gan, Yigang Li, Jingjun Xu

Polymers, vol. 15, iss. 24, art. no. 4656 (2023), DOI: 10.3390/polym15244656, COBISS.SI-ID: 177366275

Optical manipulation of sessile droplets of nematic liquid crystalline materials on the surface of a photovoltaic crystal
Ridvan Karapinar, Luka Cmok, Xinzheng Zhang, Irena Drevenšek Olenik

Journal of optical microsystems, vol. 3, iss. 4 (2023), DOI: 10.1117/1.JOM.3.4.041209, COBISS.SI-ID: 176890371

Synthesis of barium hexaferrite nano-platelets for ethylene glycol ferrofluids
Y. Ahmed, Alison Paul, Patricija Hribar Boštjančič, Alenka Mertelj, Darja Lisjak, Daniel Ząbek

Journal of materials chemistry. C, Materials for optical and electronic devices, vol. 11, iss. 45 (2023), DOI: 10.1039/D3TC03833E, COBISS.SI-ID: 173219331

Ongoing projects

P1-0192 | 1.1.2022 – 31.12.2027
Irena Drevenšek Olenik
MAGNELIQ | 1.11.2020 – 30.4.2025
Department of Complex matter is project partner. Head of the participating research group: Alenka Mertelj
J1-3006 | 1.10.2021 - 30.9.2024
Irena Drevenšek Olenik
J1-2459 | 1.9.2020 - 31.8.2024
Nerea Sebastian Ugarteche
J1-50004 | 1.10.2023 - 30.9.2026
Alenka Mertelj


The research is driven by people. We are happy to be part of the successful, friendly and inspiring team!

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