Driven systems often exhibit striking patterns as they become unstable. For example, when you use too thick of a coat of paint on a wall, it drips down. If you look closely, you will see that these drips are quite regularly spaced; this spacing is set by the relative strength of the stresses acting on the system (gravational vs. surface tension vs. viscosity). Thus, the pattern that emerged in the dripping paint encoded information about the dynamics driving it.
The Driscoll lab is a newly established experimental lab in the Department of Physics and Astronomy at Northwestern University; our research lies at the junction between soft-matter physics and fluid dynamics.
We focus on trying to understand emergent structures in a variety of soft matter systems, and how to use this structure formation as a new way to probe nonequillibrium systems. By developing a deeper understanding of patterns and structures which emerge dynamically in a driven material, we can learn not only how these structures can be controlled, but also how to use them to connect macroscopic behavior to microscopic properties.
I am part of the Complex Systems/Biophysics group here at Northwestern. The group hosts seminar series on select Thursdays of each month at 2:00 PM in Tech F160.