Active Matter and Fluids Research

 My research is about the light-matter interaction of micro and nano systems. I study how light can be used to activate inert materials such as colloids to induce their self-propulsion, self-assembly into larger superstructures and how to gain optimal  control over them. This is a highly interdisciplinary field involving photonics, materials science and biomimetics.

In particular my research involves:
  • nano and micro machines
  • self-assembled active matter
  • 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

Feb 23, 2023

News&Views Article on counteracting Casimir attraction

A News&Views article by Victoria Esteso Carrizo in Nature Physics is out now on how to counterbalance undesired Casimir attractions. The current field of  micro and nano systems experiences hurdles when developing nanoscopic elements that experience un... (Link)

Read more

Feb 13, 2023

Falko Schmidt among 2023 OPTICA Ambassadors

Falko Schmidt has been announced as one of the 10 OPTICA Ambassador for 2023. This award  goes to highly exceptional members of the OPTICA society in optics and photonics, who have shown their dedication in volunteerism and mentorship. Their role is to... (Link)

Read more

Feb 1, 2023

Falko Schmidt awarded prestige SNSF Postdoctoral Fellowship at ETH

Falko Schmidt has been awarded a prestige PostDoctoral Fellowship from the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF) for an ambitious project on mapping 3D optofluidic flows. The research performed at the Nanophotonics Systems Laboratory under Prof. Rom... (Link)

Read more
View all

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.

Fluctuation-driven forces in microcavities

Optical microcavities allow the study of light-matter interactions enabling sensitive measurements of small forces.

View all


Tunable critical Casimir forces counteract Casimir–Lifshitz attraction

Falko Schmidt, Agnese Callegari, Abdallah Daddi-Moussa-Ider, Battulga Munkhbat, Ruggero Verre, Timur Shegai, Mikael Käll, Hartmut Löwen, Andrea Gambassi, Giovanni Volpe

Nature Physics, 2022

Kolloidphysik: Motorisierte Tröpfchen

Hartmut Löwen, Jens Grauer, Falko Schmidt, Benno Liebchen

Physik in unserer Zeit, vol. 53(1), 2022, pp. 9-10

Self-organization of Colloidal Systems in the Presence of Fluctuations

Falko Schmidt

Active & Intelligent Living Matter Conference, 2022 Jun 30

View all

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 a PostDoctoral researcher at the Friedrich Schiller University in Jena, Germany working on nanophotonics systems such as single photon emitters in 2D materials.
He has over 7 years of experience in building holographic optical setups for experiments on the optical manipulation of micro- and nanosystems. He is the author of 6 scientific peer-reviewed articles published in renowned journals (e.g. Nature Physics, Nature Communications, Physical Review Letters). 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

Department of Mechanical and Process Engineering

ETH Zurich

Leonhardstrasse 21, 8092 Zurich, Switzerland