Faculty Directory
Erik Luijten

Professor of Materials Science and Engineering, Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics, and (by courtesy) Physics and Astronomy

Chair of Materials Science and Engineering


2220 Campus Drive
Cook Hall 2045
Evanston, IL 60208

Email Erik Luijten


Computational Soft Matter Lab


Materials Science and Engineering

Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics


PhD Program in Applied Physics


Ph.D. Physics, Delft University of Technology, Delft, Netherlands

M.Sc. Physics, Institute for Theoretical Physics, Utrecht University, Utrecht, Netherlands

Research Interests

Computational Materials Science of Soft Matter

My research focuses on the statistical mechanics and thermodynamics of materials, with a strong emphasis on complex fluids, such as polymeric systems, colloids, electrolytes, and active matter. These systems are studied predominantly by means of computer simulations, through which we aim to realize our primary goals: First, to understand experimentally observed phenomena from the underlying microscopic features of a system, and second, to test the predictive value of analytic theories describing these systems. The insight thus gained allows the prediction of yet unknown properties of materials and the design of new materials.

Current research projects concern problems in self-assembly (from colloidal materials to nanoparticles for drug delivery), self-organization, charge transport in electrolytes, programmable and active matter, and dielectric materials.

Despite the steady increase in available computer power, many of these problems hover on the verge of what is feasible. Therefore, in order to obtain scientifically worthwhile results within an acceptable time frame, it is essential to employ state-of-the-art techniques. We take an active interest in the development of new methodologies, both simulation techniques and advanced approaches to data analysis. Notable advances have been achieved in the development of Monte Carlo algorithms for systems with long-range interactions and systems containing components with large size disparities; in both cases, our methods accelerate the simulations by many orders of magnitude. Important recent advances also include highly efficient methods for dynamic dielectric materials and electrokinetic phenomena.


Significant Recognition

  • Fellow, American Physical Society (2013)
  • Xerox Award for Faculty Research (2006)
  • NSF CAREER Award (2004)
  • Helmholtz Award, International Association for the Properties of Water and Steam (2003)
  • Collins Scholar, Academy for Excellence in Engineering Education (2001-2002)

Significant Professional Service

  • Racheff Assistant Professor (2001-2003)

Selected Publications

  • Jiaxing Yuan, Hanne S. Antila, Erik Luijten, “Dielectric Effects on Ion Transport in Polyelectrolyte Brushes”, ACS Macro Letters, (2019)
  • Ming Han, Jonathan K. Whitmer, Erik Luijten, “Dynamics and structure of colloidal aggregates under microchannel flow”, Soft Matter, (2019)
  • Hanne S. Antila, Erik Luijten, “Dielectric Modulation of Ion Transport near Interfaces”, Physical Review Letters, (2018)
  • Ronit Freeman, Ming Han, Zaida lvarez, Jacob A. Lewis, James R. Wester, Nicholas Stephanopoulos, Mark T. McClendon, Cheyenne Lynsky, Jacqueline M. Godbe, Hussain Sangji, Erik Luijten, Samuel Stupp, “Reversible self-assembly of superstructured networks”, Science, (2018)
  • Michelle W. Lee, Ming Han, Guilherme Volpe Bossa, Carly Snell, Ziyuan Song, Haoyu Tang, Lichen Yin, Jianjun Cheng, Sylvio May, Erik Luijten, Gerard C.L. Wong, “Interactions between Membranes and "metaphilic" Polypeptide Architectures with Diverse Side-Chain Populations”, ACS Nano, (2017)
  • Zbigniew Rozynek, Ming Han, Filip Dutka, Piotr Garstecki, Arkadiusz Jzefczak, Erik Luijten, “Formation of printable granular and colloidal chains through capillary effects and dielectrophoresis”, Nature Communications, (2017)
  • Ming Han, Jing Yan, Steve Granick, Erik Luijten, “Effective temperature concept evaluated in an active colloid mixture”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, (2017)
  • Jing Yan, Ming Han, Jie Zhang, Cong Xu, Erik Luijten, Steve Granick, “Reconfiguring active particles by electrostatic imbalance”, Nature Materials, (2016)
  • Huanxin Wu, Ming Han, Erik Luijten, “Dielectric effects on the ion distribution near a Janus colloid”, Soft Matter, (2016)
  • Benjamin D. Myers, Qing Yuan Lin, Huanxin Wu, Erik Luijten, Chad A. Mirkin, Vinayak P. Dravid, “Size-Selective Nanoparticle Assembly on Substrates by DNA Density Patterning”, ACS Nano, (2016)
  • Zecheng Gan, Shidong Jiang, Erik Luijten, Zhenli Xu, “A hybrid method for systems of closely spaced dielectric spheres and ions”, SIAM Journal of Scientific Computing, (2016)
  • Zonghui Wei, Yong Ren, John Michael Williford, Wei Qu, Kevin Huang, Shirley Ng, Hai Quan Mao, Erik Luijten, “Simulation and Experimental Assembly of DNA-Graft Copolymer Micelles with Controlled Morphology”, ACS Biomaterial Science and Engineering, (2015)
  • Zonghui Wei, Erik Luijten, “Systematic coarse-grained modeling of complexation between small interfering RNA and polycations”, Journal of Chemical Physics, (2015)
  • Luijten, Erik; Granick, Steve; Zhang, Jie, “Toward design rules of directional janus colloidal assembly”, Annual Review of Physical Chemistry, (2015)
  • Luijten, Erik; Barros, Kipton; Gan, Zecheng; Wu, Huanxin; Xu, Zhenli, “Comparison of efficient techniques for the simulation of dielectric objects in electrolytes”, Journal of Computational Physics, (2015)
  • Luijten, Erik; Barros, Kipton, “Dielectric effects in the self-assembly of binary colloidal aggregates”, Physical Review Letters, (2014)
  • Barros, K.; Sinkovits, D.; Luijten, E., “Efficient and accurate simulation of dynamic dielectric objects”, Journal of Chemical Physics, (2014)
  • Farr, Benjamin; Kalogera, Vicky; Luijten, Erik, “A more efficient approach to parallel-tempered Markov-chain Monte Carlo for the highly structured posteriors of gravitational-wave signals”, Physical Review D, (2014)
  • Granick, Steve; Jiang, Shan; Yan, Jing; Whitmer, Jonathan K.; Anthony, Stephen M., “Orientationally glassy crystals of Janus spheres”, Physical Review Letters, (2014)
  • Jiang, Xuan; Qu, Wei; Pan, Deng; Ren, Yong; Williford, John-Michael, “Plasmid-templated shape control of condensed DNA-block copolymer nanoparticles”, Advanced Materials, (2013)
  • Tseng, Boo Shan; Harrison, Joe J.; Luijten, Erik; Zhao, Kun; Beckerman, Bernard, “Psl trails guide exploration and microcolony formation in Pseudomonas aeruginosa biofilms”, Nature, (2013)
  • Luijten, Erik; Yan, Jing; Bloom, Moses; Bae, Sung Chul; Granick, Steve, “Linking synchronization to self-assembly using magnetic Janus colloids”, Nature, (2012)
  • D. W. Sinkovits and E. Luijten, “Nanoparticle-Controlled Aggregation of Colloidal Tetrapods”, Nano Letters, (2012)
  • M. Zasloff, A. P. Adams, B. Beckerman, A. Campbell, Z. Han, E. Luijten, I. Meza, J. Julander, A. Mishra, W. Qu, J. M. Taylor, S. C. Weaver and G. C. L. Wong, “Squalamine as a broad-spectrum systemic antiviral agent with therapeutic potential”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, (2011)
  • JK Whitmer;E Luijten, “Sedimentation of aggregating colloids”, Journal of Chemical Physics, (2011)
  • JK Whitmer;E Luijten, “Influence of Hydrodynamics on Cluster Formation in Colloid-Polymer Mixtures”, Journal of Physical Chemistry B, (2011)
  • Qian Chen;Erich Diesel;Jonathan K. Whitmer;Sung Chul Bae;Erik Luijten;Steve Granick, “Triblock Colloids for Directed Self-Assembly”, Journal of the American Chemical Society, (2011)
  • Q Chen;JK Whitmer;S Jiang;SC Bae;E Luijten;S Granick, “Supracolloidal Reaction Kinetics of Janus Spheres”, Science, (2011)
  • SA BARR;E LUIJTEN, “Structural properties of materials created through freeze casting”, Acta Materialia, (2010)
  • S JIANG;Q CHEN;M TRIPATHY;E LUIJTEN;KS SCHWEIZER;S GRANICK, “Janus Particle Synthesis and Assembly”, Advanced Materials, (2010)
  • JK WHITMER;E LUIJTEN, “Fluid-solid boundary conditions for multiparticle collision dynamics”, Journal of Physics-Condensed Matter, (2010)