University of Montpellier, FR
Soft condensed matter, colloids
LUCA CIPELLETTI has graduated in Physics and earned a PhD in Physics at University of Milan (1997, under the supervision of M. Giglio). After a postdoc with D. Weitz (UPENN, Harvard University, 1997-99), He moved to Montpellier, France, where he is full professor of Physics since 2003.
He studies experimentally glassy and jammed soft matter systems whose constituents interact via attractive forces, thereby forming a network, as in gels, or are crowded, as in concentrated, glassy colloidal suspensions. He aims at elucidating the relationship between their microscopic structure and dynamics and their behavior under an external drive (mechanical, thermal, etc.). He is particularly interested in:
– Understanding how microscopic motion is related to the macroscopic mechanical properties in the non-linear regime;
– The plastic, irreversible rearrangements induced in soft materials by a mechanical drive, the mechanisms through which their accumulation leads to material failure;
– The development of new experimental methods to tackle the above questions, including in problems of industrial interest.
Since his postodoc in the US, he has been involved in microgravity experiments. As a postdoc, He has contributed to the design and implementation of a light scattering apparatus for investigating the structure and dynamics of colloidal gels (NASA project, experiments on board the International Space Station, ISS, in the early 2000). Since 2004, He is the co-PI of the ESA-sponsored project “Colloidal solids”, aiming at understanding the structure and dynamics of soft solids (gels, colloidal glasses) by performing long-duration experiments onboard the ISS.