Former Max Planck Research Groups at MPIDS

Studying the physics and physical chemistry of interfaces in multiphase flows has a practical relevance to understand the behaviour of foams (used for example in food technology...), emulsions (cosmetics, medicine, biotechnology,...) or membranes (material sciences, cell biology...). The focus of our group is the fundamental study of interfaces in liquid systems through the dynamics of droplets, bubbles and emulsions. Using microfluidic tools we produce controlled liquid structures and investigate the transient states in droplet formation, emulsification or coalescence and the influence of external fields on the dynamics of droplet interfaces. We also collaborate with biologists and biochemists on applications of droplet-based microfluidics to create new tools for the miniaturization of bio-chemical assays.
How does evolution work? Although (since Darwin) the principles of biological evolution are known, we are unable to predict her course. Rapid biotechnological advances allow, however, a direct view onto the temporal changes in the genome. The Max Planck Research Group develops theoretical models of evolutionary dynamics at the molecular level that are tested with genetic data or in experiments. Partially related biophysical projects deal with the mechanics of growing tissues.
The Max Planck Research Group concerns itself with the origin of complex dynamical behavior in nonlinear systems. Main focus is the transition in shear flows from laminar to turbulent. Here new methods from nonlinear dynamics are applied to gain a deeper understanding of these processes. Further projects deal with elastic turbulence, the reduction of flow resistance in polymer solutions and phase transitions in granular materials.
What are the organizing principles of biological matter? The Max Planck Research Group is trying to understand the physics behind the morphological and functional attributes of living organisms. Our main focus is on understanding biological distribution systems. We use ideas from physics, mathematics and computer science to decipher the complexity of vascular webs and understand their evolution and function. In other biologically inspired projects, we investigate how structures with intricate geometries fold, and we explore questions related to thin shell elasticity and mechanics.
We are interested in how seemingly simple physical systems create unexpectedly complex patterns and dynamical behaviour. Examples are complex laminar turbulent patterns in shear flows, the formation of intricate coral like solids when crystals grow in solution, patterns in actively forced Navier-Stokes which models biological systems, the role of elasticity in micro-swimmers as well as free-surface flows in microfluidic applications. We study these systems using several aspects of continuum mechanics and transport theory entwinded with dynamical systems methods and large computer simulations.
The members of the Max Planck Research Group deal with the structure and dynamics of complex networks. A main focus of their work is the analysis and the mathematical modelling of the activity in neural networks in the brain. In oder to do this, the scientists develop the necessary mathematical tools. Apart from that, they study applications relevant for computer science, statistical physics, robotics, and artificial neural networks.
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