Department of Applied Physics

Living Matter

The Living Matter research group is located at the Aalto University Department of Applied Physics. We develop our own experimental and analytical tools to probe the dynamics and flow in soft, living and/or fluid materials.
Optical microscopy images from force measurements on tiny worms and water droplets.

Current Focus

  • Swimming dynamics of micro- to mesoscale organisms
  • Biomechanics of tiny plant roots
  • Wetting and capillary phenomena
Matilda Backholm

Group Leader

Matilda Backholm (CV.pdf)

  • Tenure-track Assistant Professor (2022–), Department of Applied Physics, Aalto University
  • Postdoc (2015–2017) and Academy of Finland postdoc (2017–2022), Aalto University
  • PhD in Physics, McMaster University, Canada (2015)
  • MSc in Nanoscience, Aarhus University, Denmark (2011)
  • BSc in Physics, University of Helsinki, Finland (2009)

Personal webpage: 

Identifiers: ORCID, WoS, Google scholar

Twitter, LinkedIn

Research Highlights


Professor Matilda Backholm: Between the micro and the macro

Driven by curiosity, new Department of Applied Physics professor Matilda Backholm studies the physics of the mesoscale.

Professor Matilda Backholm facing the camera

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

Droplet of honey in a superhydrophobic tube

Measuring forces of living cells and microorganisms

Force sensors to study living cells and microorganisms with extraordinary precision

A nematode worm held in a micropipette

Three Academy of Finland postdoctoral researcher positions to HYBER CoE researchers

Matilda Backholm, Sesilja Aranko and Suvi Arola received funding from the Academy of Finland

Latest publications

Force-Based Wetting Characterization of Stochastic Superhydrophobic Coatings at Nanonewton Sensitivity

Matti J. Hokkanen, Matilda Backholm, Maja Vuckovac, Quan Zhou, Robin H.A. Ras 2021 Advanced Materials

Water droplet friction and rolling dynamics on superhydrophobic surfaces

Matilda Backholm, Daniel Molpeceres, Maja Vuckovac, Heikki Nurmi, Matti Hokkanen, Ville Jokinen, Jaakko Timonen, Robin Ras 2020 Communications Materials

Ferrofluid Microdroplet Splitting for Population-Based Microfluidics and Interfacial Tensiometry

Mika Latikka, Matilda Backholm, Avijit Baidya, Alberto Ballesio, Amandine Serve, Grégory Beaune, Jaakko V.I. Timonen, Thalappil Pradeep, Robin H.A. Ras 2020 Advanced Science

Viscosity-enhanced droplet motion in sealed superhydrophobic capillaries

Maja Vuckovac, Matilda Backholm, Jaakko V.I. Timonen, Robin H.A. Ras 2020 Science Advances

Designed inorganic porous nanovector with controlled release and MRI features for safe administration of doxorubicin

Simo Näkki, Julie T.W. Wang, Jianwei Wu, Li Fan, Jimi Rantanen, Tuomo Nissinen, Mikko I. Kettunen, Matilda Backholm, Robin H.A. Ras, Khuloud T. Al-Jamal, Vesa Pekka Lehto, Wujun Xu 2019 International Journal of Pharmaceutics

Wetting of ferrofluids

Mika Latikka, Matilda Backholm, Jaakko V.I. Timonen, Robin H.A. Ras 2018 Current Opinion in Colloid and Interface Science

Absence of single critical dose for the amorphization of quartz under ion irradiation

S. Zhang, O. H. Pakarinen, M. Backholm, F. Djurabekova, K. Nordlund, J. Keinonen, T. S. Wang 2018 Journal of Physics Condensed Matter

Oscillating Ferrofluid Droplet Microrheology of Liquid-Immersed Sessile Droplets

Matilda Backholm, Maja Vuckovac, Jan Schreier, Mika Latikka, Michael Hummel, Markus B. Linder, Robin H.A. Ras 2017 Langmuir

Slippery and never wet

Matilda Backholm, Jaakko V.I. Timonen, Robin H.A. Ras 2017 Europhysics News
More information on our research in the Research database.
Research database
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