Department of Applied Physics

Soft Matter and Wetting

Soft Matter and Wetting is a research group situated in the Aalto University Department of Applied Physics.
Spherical water droplets on a superhydrophobic surface partially submerged in water. The surface is gray copper colour, while the submerged part is silvery due to thin airfilm captured by the surface.

FACILITIES: Soft Matter and Wetting group

List of our research equipment and facilities.

Water droplet suspended on a micropillar surface

CODES: Soft Matter and Wetting group

Program codes published as part of our works.

Oscillating Droplet Tribometer. The most accurate characterization of your superhydrophobic surface.

Wetting characterization services offered by Soft Matter and Wetting group.

A ferrofluid droplet sitting on a measurement surface in the oscillating droplet tribometer measurement scheme. The magnet underneath the surface is also seen.
Photo of scanning droplet adhesion microscope's measurement probe above a butterfly wing

Droplet Instruments has launched. We offer advanced technologies, service and scientific consulting for your surface characterization needs.

Prof. Robin Ras, the head of Soft Matter and Wetting research group. Photo by Mikko Raskinen
Professor Robin Ras, the head of Soft Matter and Wetting research group. Photo by Mikko Raskinen

Robin Ras, Associate Professor

Research group

Soft Matter and Wetting (SMW) is a multidisciplinary research group consisting of physicists and chemists. We are interested in functional soft materials and the wettability of surfaces. Many of the materials we work on are inspired by nature, such as extremely water-repellent biological surfaces that provide the basis for synthetic superhydrophobicity.

ERC Consolidator grant / ERC Proof-of-Concept grant

The leader of the SMW group, Professor Robin Ras, has received a Consolidator Grant from the European Research Council (ERC). The topic of this five-year project is "Superslippery Liquid-Repellent Surfaces".


Research highlight

We developed a new concept for durable superhydrophobic surfaces by structuring surfaces at two different length scales. The microstructure is an interconnected surface frame that protects highly water-repellent and mechanically fragile nanostructures. Water repellency of the resulting superhydrophobic surfaces is preserved even after abrasion by sandpaper and by a sharp steel blade. 

Wang D., Sun Q., Hokkanen M.J., Zhang C., Lin F.-Y., Liu Q., Zhu S.-P., Zhou T., Chang Q., He B., Zhou Q., Chen L., Wang Z., Ras R.H.A., Deng X.  
Design of Robust Superhydrophobic Surfaces 
Nature 582, 55–59 (2020) (link) (PDF view only) (press release)

Research group members

Matilda Backholm

Matilda Backholm

Akatemian tutkijatohtori
Robin Ras

Robin Ras

Professori (Associate professor)
T304 Dept. Applied Physics

Sakari Lepikko

Doctoral Candidate
T304 Dept. Applied Physics
Heikki Nurmi

Heikki Nurmi

T304 Dept. Applied Physics

Kai Liu

Academy Postdoctoral Researcher

Ali Afzalifar

Academy Postdoctoral Researcher

Follow Robin Ras and his research group


What's new in Soft Matter and Wetting?

Cooperation, Research & Art Published:

School of Science researchers now involved in five Centres of Excellence

SCI researchers are partners in three new Centres of Excellence: Life-Inspired Hybrid Materials, Randomness and structures, and Virtual laboratory for molecular level atmospheric transformations.
Department of Computer Science photo Matti Ahlgren
Research & Art Published:

New Academy projects will investigate drug development, superconductivity and emotional game experience

There are altogether 12 new Academy of Finland projects at the Aalto School of Science. Funding was received from all the three Academy of Finland Research Councils: Biosciences, Health and the Environment, Culture and Society and Natural Sciences and Engineering.
Taiteellinen kuva panssaroidusta superhydrofobisesta pinnasta, joka kestää iskuja ja hylkii nesteitä tehokkaasti. Kuva: Juha Juvonen.
Cooperation, Press releases, Research & Art Published:

New funding to commercialise high-tech liquid-repelling coatings

New funding to get damage-resistant, liquid-repelling surfaces out of the laboratory and onto solar panels, skis, and more
Droplet of honey in a superhydrophobic tube
Press releases Published:

When honey flows faster than water

Physicists surprised to find that in specially coated tubes, the more viscous a liquid is, the faster it flows
Logos of the funding bodies of the SMW group (EU & the European Research Council, Academy of Finland and Business Finland)
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