Active Matter and Fluids Research

 My research is about the light-matter interaction of micro and nano systems. I study how light can be utilized to manipulate the motion of small particles and create fast fluid flows. This work investigates the fundamental aspects of light, temperature and hydrodynamics. Our studies employ inert materials such as colloids to induce self-propulsion, self-assembly and manipulation across multiple length scales. This is a highly interdisciplinary field involving photonics, materials science and biomimetics.

In particular my research involves:
  • nano and micro machines
  • optofluidics
  • microcavities and small forces
This addresses current scientific and technological challenges in developing novel methods, for example, in smart drug delivery systems, automated search-and-rescue missions, and soil and water remediation from environmental pollutants. Moreover, the study of small forces in micro cavities allows to understand and build a new generation of sensors whose enhanced sensitivity enables the detection of transient effects and molecules.

News & Events

Jul 2, 2024

New article published in Applied Optical Materials

Our article on "Quantitative Investigation of Quantum Emitter Yield in Drop-Casted Hexagonal Boron Nitride Nanoflakes" is finally out in Applied Optical Materials Advances. Congratulations to Falko Schmidt for his first last author publication! This w...

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Jun 16, 2024

New article published in Nature Communications

Our article on "Nanoalignment by critical Casimir torques" is finally out in Nature Communications. Big congratulations to the lead author Gan Wang!

Apr 11, 2024

Falko Schmidt visits the Bechinger Group at Konstanz University

Falko Schmidt went to visit the Softmatter Group by Prof. Clemens Bechinger at the Konstanz University presenting his work on Optofluidics3D.  Big thanks to Clemens and Felix, as well as the whole group, for sharing  their inspiring work on active mat...

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Research Projects

Light-induced micro and nano machines

Optical tweezers are used to induce rotational motion of nanoparticles and microparticles effectively creating miniaturised versions of macroscopic engines.

Self-assembled active matter

Under light illumination a suspension of binary colloids self-assembles into active hierarchical superstructures providing insights into the formation process of biological systems.

3D Optofluidics and Thermal Imaging

The local heating of fluids with light leads to complex pattern of flows that can be steered and measured with light using optofluidics and thermometry.

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Non–steady state thermometry with optical diffraction tomography

Adarsh B Vasista, Bernard Ciraulo, Falko Schmidt, Jaime Ortega Arroyo, Romain Quidant

Science Advances, vol. 10(12), 2024, pp. eadk5440

Nanoalignment by Critical Casimir Torques

Gan Wang, Piotr Nowakowski, Nima Farahmand Bafi, Benjamin Midtvedt, Falko Schmidt, Ruggero Verre, Mikael Käll, S. Dietrich, Svyatoslav Kondrat, Giovanni Volpe

Nature Communications, vol. 15(5086), 2024

Quantitative investigation of quantum emitter yield in drop-casted hexagonal boron nitride nanoflakes

Tom Kretzschmar, Sebastian Ritter, Anand Kumar, Tobias Vogl, Falk Eilenberger, Falko Schmidt

ACS Applied Optical Materials, 2024

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About Me:

Dr. Falko Schmidt has defended his doctoral thesis in 2021 from the physics department at the University of Gothenburg in Sweden. He is currently an independent PostDoctoral Fellow at the Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) in Zurich, Switzerland working on 3D optofluidics.
He has over 9 years of experience in building holographic optical setups for experiments on the optical manipulation of micro- and nanosystems. He is the author of 7 scientific peer-reviewed articles published in renowned journals (e.g. Nature Physics, Nature Communications, Physical Review Letters, ACS Photonics). He is also the co-founder of Lucero AB, a spin-off from research at the University of Gothenburg developing automated manipulation solutions for single cells in drug screening purposes.


Dr. Falko Schmidt

SNSF PostDoctoral Fellow

Nanophotonics Systems Laboratory

ETH Zurich

Tannenstrasse 3, CLA E15.2, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland


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