The Team

Assistant Professor at TU/e, Visiting Professor at SCNU

dr. ir. Danqing Liu

Danqing Liu is a materials scientist. In the work, she attempts to fill the field between molecular sciences, such as synthetic organic chemistry, and the dimensions of the more macroscopic materials including morphology and shape control. Special in the approach is the transfer or even amplification of the responsive (dielectric-, ferroelectric-, piezoelectric-, and/ or photo-chemical) effects of a single molecule to the macroscopic level of a device. This is realized by incorporating the functional molecules into suitable and cooperative host materials, such as liquid crystals.

Emeritus Professor

Prof. dr. Dirk J. Broer

Dirk J. Broer is a polymer chemist specialized in polymer structuring and self-organizing polymer networks. This entails the development of polymers with new functionalities and integrating them into devices to meet industrial and societal challenges in the fields of sustainable energy, water-management, healthcare & personal comfort. The research follows the complete chain of knowledge from molecule to device. i.e. from organic synthesis to prototype. Both top-down and bottom-up methods are employed for the preparation of hierarchically structured materials in the fields of Energy Materials, Stimuli-responsive Materials, and Nanostructured Materials.

Senior Engineer

Efstathios Barmpoutsis

PhD students

Anahita Amiri
(started on 1st December 2019)

Dongyu Zhang 
(started on 1st February 2021 )

Dongyu Zhang obtained her Mater degree in University of Science and Technology of China, majoring in applied chemistry. She is interested in stimuli responsive liquid crystal materials for liquid secretion.

By mimicking the natural liquid secretion phenomenon, smart liquid crystal polymeric materials can be made for robotic application such as “pick and place” or “chemical communication”. Her position is funded by China Scholarship Council. A fun fact about Dongyu is that she can “self-control” the motion of her ears.


Yuxin You
SCNU-TU/e joint PhD
(01-09-2020 )

Yuxin You is a materials researcher with a master’s degree in optical engineering. She is interested in developing smart coatings made of liquid crystal polymers which can generate predesigned topographies at the coating surfaces reversibly. These dynamic surfaces are anticipated to benefit many functions in the fields of optics, haptics, robotics, etc. A fun fact about Yuxin is that she always likes to invite friends to try out her cooking!


Jacques Peixoto
(started on 1st April 2021)


Mert Orhan Astam 
(started on 1st July 2021)

Mert O. Astam is a materials scientist and engineering with an MEng from Imperial College London. He is interested in turning liquid crystal materials into electrically driven devices, seeking to extract the benefits to society of this technology. He has recently shown the intelligence of soft robots in his latest paper “Self-regulating electrical rhythms with liquid crystal oligomer networks in hybrid circuitry”. His project is a part of the STORM-BOTs initiative and he is collaborating with colleagues in Spain, Finland, Italy, Germany and the UK. A fun fact about Mert is that he used to work at a chocolate factory!


Duygu Polat 
(started on 1st August 2021)

Duygu is a chemical engineer with a M.Sc. from Middle East Technical University, Turkey. She is interested in developing liquid crystal actuators which can apply force in a rapid manner. Fast responses can be accessed by designing instabilities into liquid crystal actuators Her project is a part of the STORM-BOTs initiative aiming to train next generation researchers in the field of soft robotics. A fun fact about Duygu is that her favorite artist is David Bowie.


Eliza Sopubekova
(started on 1st August 2021)


Pengrong Lv 


Vincent van der Doef 

I’m Vincent van der Doef and I have started my PhD here at ECO and SFD since 17 October. I studied Molecular Life sciences at Wageningen University where I finished my master thesis working on 3D-printed micropatterned surfaces. I also did my internship in Hokkaido University in Sapporo on hierarchical Macroscale double-network composite structures. For my PhD I will work on Programmable lenses for optical wireless communications assisted by liquid crystal elastomers which will be used in the Beam-steered Reconfigurable Optical-wireless System for Energy-efficient communication project. I also used to write short fables and horror stories for my student association.


Master Students

Ting-Hsuan Lee


Laxsa Nagalignam


Finished postdocs

dr. Yuanyuan Zhan

dr. Thierry Slot

dr. Ievgen Kurylo

Defended Master students

  • Tom Bruning (defended in March 2022)
  • Serena Calierno (defended in February 2022)
  • Gabriëlle Muermans (defended in April 2022)

Defended PhD students

  • Matthew Hendrikx (defended in 2018)
  • Wei Feng (defended in 2020, he is currently a postdoc at Max Planck Institute, Germany)
  • Yuanyuan Zhan (defended in 2021, she stays with us as a postdoc researcher)
  • Fabian Visschers (defended in 2021, he is currently working at Bosch)