|Research at R. Castillo's Group|
We are interested in several physical systems, which at first sight they do not seem quite related. However, using the new way of thinking developed in the field of complex fluids or more generally, in the field of soft condensed mater, they are very close. Examples of the systems we are interested in are:
In these systems, we are interested in understanding their structure and how molecules interact and organize in supramolecular structures, most of the times along interfaces. These interfaces can be of two types. The first type that we call macroscopic interfaces, because of they are of macroscopic dimensions, where molecules organize in very well defined and interesting forms. Examples in this case are the Lagmuir monolayers at the interface of water and air, and films on solid substrates named Langmuir-Blodgett films . In our group, we study systems such as monolayers of fatty acids, of fatty amines, of proteins with amphiphilic α-helixes, phospholipids etc.
The second type of interfaces is what we name microscopic interfaces; because of they have microscopic dimensions. These interfaces appear in ternary systems, which are formed by a surfactant, some kind of oil, and water. In this kind of systems, the addition of surfactant apparently makes the macroscopic illusion that water and oil are soluble. However, the system organizes (microscopically) in such a way creating microscopic surfaces made of surfactant molecules, separating the water and the oil. These surfaces have different shapes forming very peculiar supramolecular structures named micelles, lamellae, bicontinuous structure, etc. Here, we study phase diagrams of ternary mixtures (microemulsions or lyotropic liquid crystals) with ionic surfactants and their supramolecular structures and how these supramolecular structures are modified when a shear stress is induced in the system
Our group is also interested in colloids, mainly embedded in polymeric nets and how they scatter light, as well as in proteins and the way they interact between them.