Université de Strasbourg

Cosima Stubenrauch


Institute of Physical Chemistry, University of Stuttgart, Germany & USIAS Fellow at the Charles Sadron Institute (ICS), University of Strasbourg

Cosima Stubenrauch, USIAS Fellow 2018

Professor Cosima Stubenrauch studied chemistry in Münster and Freiburg and received her PhD in Physical Chemistry (with Professor Gerhard Findenegg) at the Technical University of Berlin, Germany in 1997. After a postdoctoral year at the Paris Sud University - Paris 11 in the group of Professor Dominique Langevin, she worked at Cologne University from 1999 to 2004, where she finished her Habilitation in the group of Professor Reinhard Strey. From 2005 to 2009 she worked at University College Dublin, Ireland as Lecturer, Senior Lecturer and Assistant Professor. Since 2009 she has been Full Professor at Stuttgart University, Germany. Furthermore, she has been Dean of the Faculty Chemistry since 2014 and, since 2010, docent at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology, Stockholm (Sweden).

Cosima Stubenrauch received nine national and three international awards, the most recent one being the Distinguished Paper Award of the American Chemical Society and the most prestigious one being the Nernst-Haber-Bodenstein Prize of the German Bunsen Society for Physical Chemistry (DBG). She has published 156 articles in international peer reviewed journals, filed one patent and edited one book. All in all she has given 164 oral presentations, 139 of which were invited presentations. She supervised ten post-docs, 22 PhDs, 21 graduate students, seven master students, and 13 BSc students. Her fundraising exceeds 7 m€. Last, but not least, she co-ordinated a Marie Curie Research Training Network from 2005-2008 with a total budget of over 3 m€. Her main research activities are  liquid foam films and foams, monodisperse solid foams, gelled complex fluids, microemulsions, and  lyotropic liquid crystals.

Project - Interactions in thin liquid films: towards non-aqueous foams, emulsions & dispersions

November 2018 - June 2020

(extended until March 2021)

Dispersed systems such as foams, emulsions and solid dispersions consist of a discrete phase (gas, liquid, or solid) which is dispersed in a continuous liquid phase. They are widely used in industrial applications and everyday products, e.g. in household and personal care products, in pharmacy, food, paint or firefighting. They are also used as templates for the synthesis of porous materials. In some cases, however, they emerge as a nuisance and need to be avoided. Consequently, specific control over their stability is indispensable! Surprisingly, and despite 35 years of research, the reason for their stability - or instability - is not yet understood in detail. This is particularly true for non-aqueous systems! What we do know, however, is the fact that the stability of a dispersed system is directly related to the stability of the thin liquid film separating the bubbles (foams), the droplets (emulsions), or the particles (solid dispersions). This project thus aims at studying these thin liquid films with various techniques to learn more about the macroscopic counterparts.

The stabilisation of non-aqueous foams, emulsions or dispersions is a poorly developed field despite its relevance for a wide range of applications, for example non-aqueous emulsions in cosmetics, non-aqueous foams in food science, or non-aqueous polymer foams in material science. Since the stability of thin liquid films separating bubbles, droplets or particles is crucial for the stability of the dispersed system we will investigate for the first time the interactions in non-aqueous thin liquid films stabilised by model surfactants or amphiphilic block-copolymers and compare our results with those obtained for the corresponding aqueous systems. For this purpose, we will combine three different techniques: the Thin Film Pressure Balance (TFPB) for foam films, the Liquid Surface Force Apparatus (LSFA) for emulsion films, and the Surface Force Apparatus (SFA) for films between solid surfaces. Note that up until now almost all investigations have been carried out with aqueous systems and no systematic comparison exists between the different film types. For this project Cosima Stubenrauch will, partly during a sabbatical visit, collaborate with Dr. Wiebke Drenckhan and Dr. Patrick Kékicheff to unite the different expertise available at the Charles Sadron Institute (ICS) and to fill this scientific gap.

Post-doc biography - Katja Steck

Charles Sadron Institute (ICS), University of Strasbourg

Katja Steck

Katja Steck received her bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 2014 and her master’s degree in Complex Condensed Materials and Soft Matter (COSOM) from the University of Regensburg, Germany, in 2016. During her master, she spent six months in the Transformation and Materials Unit (UMET) of the Lille Graduate School of Chemistry (ENSCL) in France, where she worked on intumescent coatings used in fire protection of steel. In October 2016, she joined the group of Professor Cosima Stubenrauch at the University of Stuttgart, Germany, for her PhD studies, where she worked on gelled lyotropic liquid crystals. The focus of her work was to investigate the influence of the chronology of gel and lyotropic liquid crystal formation on the microstructure of the gelled lyotropic liquid crystals.

After receiving her PhD degree in March 2020, she joined the Mechanics of Interfaces and Multiphase Systems (MIM) team at the Charles Sadron Institute in Strasbourg, France, in order to work on the USIAS project together with Professor Cosima Stubenrauch and Dr. Wiebke Drenckhan.

Post-doc biography - Tetiana Orlova

Charles Sadron Institute (ICS), University of Strasbourg


Tetiana Orlova received her PhD degree in physics of molecular and liquid crystals in 2007 from the Institute of Physics of the National Academy of Science of Ukraine, where she continued her research activities until 2013. In those years, she investigated the photoisomerization of the steroid provitamin D molecule in confining soft condensed media, as well as the optical properties and structures induced in achiral and chiral liquid crystals due to the presence of the light-responsive molecular dopant. For the academic year 2013-2014, she moved to the University of Bordeaux (France) as a recipient of an Erasmus grant to study spontaneously created topological orientational states in chiral nematic droplets. She subsequently worked at the University of Twente (The Netherlands) in 2015, where she examined the dynamic self-organized patterns of gold nanoparticles in photoresponsive cholesteric materials, before returning to Bordeaux for 2016 and 2017 as recipient of a Marie Sklodowska-Curie individual fellowship to investigate light-powered supramolecular architectures in chiral liquid crystals under non-equilibrium conditions. In 2018, she temporarily occupied a senior researcher position at the National Research Tomsk Polytechnic University (Russia), where she worked on the development of hybrid lead-free polymer-based scaffolds for biomedical applications. In December 2018, she moved to the Charles Sadron Institute to work on the USIAS project, where she stayed for one year, until December 2019.

In general, her scientific activity is mainly experimental and relates primarily to the fundamental and applied researches in the field of physics and physical chemistry of soft condensed media.

Investissements d'Avenir