Active Matter 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

May 13, 2022

Presentation by Falko Schmidt on "Self-organisation of colloidal systems in the presence of fluctuations" at Erice, IT

Falko Schmidt is presenting the latest research findings on self-organized colloidal system using critical phenomena and light at the Artifical and living matter workshop in Erice Italy. The workshop takes places between the 26th of June and 1st of Ju...

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Feb 23, 2022

New preprint published in arXiv

A new preprint of our latest work on "Tunable critical Casimir forces counteract Casimir-Lifshitz attraction" has just been published on arXiv. Link to article:

Feb 17, 2022

Falko Schmidt wins best Poster prize at the WE-Heraeus-Seminar

Falko Schmidt wins together with Agnese Callegari the best Poster prize at the WE-Heraeus-Seminar on fluctuation-induced forces for there joint work on QED Casimir vs. critical Casimir forces. Falko Schmidt presented the experimental part of this work...

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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.

Fluctuation-driven forces in microcavities

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


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

arXiv, 2202.10926, 2022

Kolloidphysik: Motorisierte Tröpfchen

Hartmut Löwen, Jens Grauer, Falko Schmidt, Benno Liebchen

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

Active droploids

Jens Grauer*, Falko Schmidt*, Jesùs Pineda, Benjamin Midtvedt, Hartmut Löwen, Giovanni Volpe, Benno Liebchen

Nature communications, vol. 12(1), 2021, pp. 1--8. *contributed equally

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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 has over 6 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 Communications, Physical Review Letters). He is also the 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

PostDoctoral Researcher

Institute of Applied Physics

Friedrich Schiller University Jena

Albert Einstein Str. 15, 07745 Jena