My goal is to create new materials that are just as fantastic as those developed by nature!
Wouter’s research group ‘Responsive Soft Matter’ focuses on physical foundations of novel high-tech materials that respond to mechanical stimuli or other changes in their environment. Taking inspiration from natural materials and processes, he unravels molecular mechanisms and develops proofs of concept in order to create new materials. To achieve this goal, he and his team are continuously developing new ways of extracting relevant information from vast data sets and developing advanced computer simulations. The group currently focuses on a number of recent advances in polymeric materials, including toughening mechanisms in elastomers and gels, stress relaxation in vitrimers, and structure-function relations in biocompatible hydrogels. Wouter has a broad experience in soft matter physics, and always looks for ways to make connections between its subfields, be it colloids, granular media, or biological materials. He also enjoys working closely together with a variety of academic disciplines, such as chemistry, biomedical and mechanical engineering, to establish new experimental techniques and develop materials for new applications.
Wouter Ellenbroek joined Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) in October 2010 as a postdoc funded by NWO through a Veni grant. In 2013, he became Assistant Professor, and was tenured in 2016. After obtaining his MSc in Theoretical Physics from Radboud University Nijmegen in 2003, Wouter Ellenbroek obtained his PhD at Leiden University, where he studied the mechanics and statistics of granular media. During a three-year stay as a postdoc in the Soft Matter Theory group of the University of Pennsylvania, Wouter expanded his field of work to include soft matter at smaller scales, particularly colloids, lipids and polymers. Here, he was awarded the Herbert Callen Memorial Prize in 2010.