New MCEC members at Twente

At the University of Twente there are three new MCEC members appointed in a staff position. Xuehua Zhang en Roberto Verzicco are Part time Professors in the research group Physics of Fluids. Xuehua’s research area is “Colloid and interface science”. Roberto’s research research interest is “Numerical simulation of complex flows and turbulence”. Mathieu Odijk is appointed on a Tenure Track Assistant Professor position on “Micro- and Nanodevices for Chemical Analysis” within the MESA+ institute for Nanotechnology.

Read more about their work and research interest.


Mathieu Odijk                     

Assistant Professor

My name is Mathieu Odijk. I am recently appointed as Assistant Professor starting a tenure track on Micro- and Nanodevices for Chemical Analysis within the MESA+ institute for Nanotechnology in Twente. I have a background in Electrical Engineering, but I did my PhD on the development of miniaturized electrochemical cells for drug screening (finished 2011). After my PhD, I have conducted several research visits, including EPFL (prof. Girault, 2012), the Wyss institute at Harvard (2013), and MIT (prof. Jensen, 2014). My expertise is in microfluidics, electrochemistry and microfabrication. I also have a strong interest in teaching, especially in the development of new courses and methods. One the educational projects I have been involved in is the development of a high-school (NLT) module Lab-on-Chip.

Research theme: Micro- and nanodevices for chemical analysis aims at engineering novel devices to measure chemical quantities, pushing boundaries in applications to explore unknown territory. Often, this relates to faster, or better spatially resolved measurements at lower concentrations in small volumes. Micro- and nanofabrication techniques are used to enhance electrochemical, optical or mass spectrometric readout. The ultimate goal is to create new, yet robust tools for routine use in the lab or point-of-care applications.

Recently started project in MCEC: Recent studies indicate that heterogeneous catalysts vary tremendously, induced by dynamic changes in the active sites due to gradients in reaction conditions over the catalyst bed, both between and within single particles. Traditional characterization of catalyst particles in large vessels results in measurements representing ensemble averages. On the other hand, individual particle characterization is costly and time consuming and can therefore only be done on a limited amount of particles. In this project a single catalyst diagnostic platform for on-line evaluation of the catalytic performance of individual catalyst particles will be developed, to increase fundamental understanding of the catalytic conversion process. This platform will use high-throughput microfluidic droplets for particle encapsulation, and both fluorescence and impedance spectroscopy to analyze each catalyst particle individually. This project will be conducted by PhD students Afshan Jamshaid and Miguel Solsona.

Other matters: I will be involved in the social activities team within MCEC, promoting social cohesion and enhancing collaborations between PhDs from different institutes with different backgrounds. If you have any ideas on how to make MCEC more than just the sum of the efforts of the individual participants, let me know!


Roberto Verzicco               

Part time professor

Since 2010 he is a Part Time Professor at the University of Twente in the group Physics of Fluids chaired by Prof. Detlef Lohse and we are happy that he continues his work as part of our Program. He visits the group several times per year and (co-)supervises a group of five PhD students and one Postdoc.
His main research interest is “Numerical simulation of complex flows and turbulence” for which he has developed a numerical scheme for the integration of the Navier-Stokes equations and an immersed boundary method to simulate complex geometry flows within the ease and efficiency of simple and regular meshes.

Recent efforts have been made to improve the efficiency of the computations and to modify the schemes in order to benefit from the parallel computing of up to tens of thousands of processors. These tools have been used to investigate a wide range of phenomena in the field of Physics of Fluids ranging from basic vertical flows with and without background rotation up to wall bounded turbulence and bubbly flows. The computer codes based on the above approaches have been made available to the scientific community worldwide and they are currently used by many research groups.
Although a lot of effort has been devoted to the development of original and efficient computational methods, Roberto Verzicco’s research has been always physics and problem driven rather than adapted to the available methodology.
His latest applications have focussed on high Rayleigh number thermally driven turbulence (Rayleigh-Benard flows), high Taylor number shear driven turbulence (Taylor-Couette flows) and bubbly flows. The latter are particularly relevant to the activities of MCEC since many problems of chemical reactions, energy conversion and harvesting involve multiphase bubbly flows.


Xuehua Zhang                    

Part time professor

She joint the staff of RMIT University in Melbourne as an Associate Professor and as a group leader in July 2014 and in October 2014 she was also appointed as a part time professor at the University of Twente. In 2012 she spend her sabbatical at Twente which opened new opportunities for further collaboration and she still visits the group several times a year. We are happy to welcome her to our program. Her research area is “Colloid and interface science”.

Specifically, Xuehua’s research concerns nanoscale bubbles and droplets on a solid surface immersed in a liquid environment, their formation, physical properties, stability, and effects on the interfacial phenomena on or near the solid surface. She has projects together with Detlef Lohse and Harold Zandvliet at the University of Twente and involved in some new project ideas about experimental studies on nanobubbles and nanodroplets.

However she is very keen to establish collaborations with other groups, particularly with the groups in Twente and Utrecht. She believes that her research in surface nanobubbles and nanodroplets will find applications in catalysis through the close collaboration with them. She have extensive experience in atomic force microscopy and she is generally interested in the techniques that provide high-spatial resolution, and even better, high temporal resolution and molecular spectroscopy