Daniela Kraft

Flexible Colloidal Structures: From Diffusion to Activity


Many functional (bio-)molecules possess structural flexibility which provides functionality. For example, different conformations may enhance or inhibit a protein’s activity in allosteric regulation or enable the catalytic activity of enzymes. Colloidal structures currently lack this property, restricting their use as building blocks in reconfigurable materials and model systems.

In this talk, I will show how we can create flexible colloidal structures by exploiting colloidal joints, that enable the formation of strong and specific but flexible bonds. I will describe how this bond mobility affects their diffusive and self-assembly behavior and illustrate the variety of flexible structures that we obtained. We dream of creating a new class of shape-changing materials by integrating self-propelled particles that locally exert forces. As a first step towards that end, we studied their self-propulsion behavior and developed a new way to make them using 3D printing.



Daniela Kraft is an associate professor in Soft Matter Physics at the Huygens-Kamerlingh Onnes Laboratory at Leiden University, The Netherlands. She obtained her Ph.D. cum laude from the University of Utrecht, The Netherlands, under supervision of Willem Kegel. Supported by a Rubicon grant, she then joined the Center for Soft Matter Research at New York University, USA, as a postdoctoral researcher. In 2013, she moved to Leiden, where she established her own group. Her research focuses on self-assembly in biological and soft matter systems, ranging from anisotropic colloidal particles to lipid membranes, emulsions, and viruses. Dr. Kraft has been awarded a VENI fellowship from the Netherlands Organisation for Scientific Research, an ERC starting grant and the paper of the year award 2017 from Biophysical Journal.


Leiden University

Associate professor in the department Soft Matter Physic