To content

Research Topics

Soft condensed matter and biological physics

Research focuses on the statistical physics of soft matter or biological systems, which is research at the interface of biology, chemical physics, condensed/soft matter physics, and materials science. The subjects cover a wide range of fluctuating equilibrium and driven systems, which are treated using analytical and numerical methods from statisical mechanics, stochastic dynamics, elasticity theory, and hydrodynamics.

One main area of current research are semiflexible polymers and cytoskeletal filaments where we investigate the physics from the single polymer level up to the level of biological structures consisting of assemblies of interacting filaments and from thermal equilibrium properties to filaments which are chemically driven by polymerization or by molecular motors. This requires exploring the interplay of thermal fluctuations, external forces, interactions, and active fluctuations.

A topic of particular interest is the polymerization kinetics and force generation of microtubules and actin, which is biochemically driven by hydrolysis of ATP or GTP.

Another main area of current research are elastic capsules, where we work on shape analysis and elastic instabilities, i.e., buckling and wrinkling. We also explore the use of elastic capsules as microswimmers.

Current research topics

Our current research topics include:

  • Semiflexible polymers and cytoskeletal filaments
    • Polymerization kinetics and force generation of microtubules and actin
    • Coupling of hydrolysis and polymerization
    • Chemomechanical models of microtubule dynamics
    • Microtubule dynamics in the mitotic spindle
    • Adsorption, unbinding, desorption of semiflexible polymers
    • Localization in random potentials
    • Self-assembly of filament bundles
    • Buckling instabilities of filaments
    • Single polymer manipulation: stretching, unzipping, force-induced desorption, activated dynamics on structured surfaces
  • Active filament systems
    • Gliding assays, interaction of filaments and molecular motors
    • Growing bundles, force generation in the cytoskeleton
  • Elastic shells, capsules, and polymer networks Modelling of elastic capsules
    • Elastic instabilities: wrinkling and buckling
    • Elastometry of capsules: determination of elastic moduli from shape and wrinkling analysis
    • Actuation of capsules by magnetic fields, hydrodynamics flows, at liquid-liquid interfaces
    • Elastic properties of semiflexible polymer networks
    • Elastic capsules as microswimmers (within DFG Priority Programm SPP 1726)
  • Novel event-chain cluster Monte-Carlo algorithms for soft matter
    • Many-particle interactions
    • Large scale polymer simulations
    • Liquid crystal and colloid simulations
  • Wetting and droplet morphologies
    • Machine learning in pendant drop tensiometry
    • Wetting on structured substrates
    • Line tension effects
  • Crack propagation
    • Crack (non-)propagation in disordered/heterogeneous materials

Past research topics

Our past research topics include:

  • Vortex matter in type-II/high-Tc superconductors
    • Phase diagram of high-Tc superconductors
    • Equilibrium description of vortex phases: Lattice/Crystal, Glass, Liquid
    • Phase transitions: Melting, Amorphization
    • Plastic properties, toplogical defects in the vortex lattice
    • Glassy dynamics (creep)
  • Topological defects, Plasticity
    • Stat mech of (disordered) systems containing topological defects
    • 2D XY models in random fields
    • Defect-mediated melting
    • Dislocation dynamics
  • Surface Growth
    • Surface reconstruction and quenched disorder


To event list

Location & approach

The campus of TU Dort­mund University is located close to interstate junction Dort­mund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dort­mund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dort­mund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Campus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dort­mund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Campus). Signs for the uni­ver­si­ty are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dort­mund.

To get from North Campus to South Campus by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Campus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.

TU Dort­mund University has its own train station (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dort­mund main station (“Dort­mund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The uni­ver­si­ty is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.

You can also take the bus or subway train from Dort­mund city to the uni­ver­si­ty: From Dort­mund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dort­mund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dort­mund main station to the stop “Dort­mund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dort­mund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”.

The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.

The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dort­mund University. There are two stations on North Campus. One (“Dort­mund Uni­ver­si­tät S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the uni­ver­si­ty directly with the city of Dort­mund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Campus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Campus and offers a direct connection to South Campus every five minutes.

The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.

Site Map of TU Dortmund University (Second Page in English).