Prof. Geissler's research concerns the microscopic behavior of complex biological and material systems. Using the tools and concepts of statistical mechanics, he and his group will develop theories and simplified models for chemical phenomena (e.g., the transport of protons in ice), for biomolecular structure and dynamics (e.g., response and design of a protein's external surface), and for the role of fluctuations in nanoscale materials (e.g., the effects of finite size on structural transitions in nanocrystals). His students will also use and devise modern techniques of computer simulation to investigate such systems on atomic length scales.
His group will interact closely with experimental researchers in order both to inspire and to be inspired by state-of-the-art studies of real physical systems. As a postdoctoral fellow, Prof. Geissler collaborated with experimentalists to interpret results of nonlinear vibrational spectroscopy in terms of molecular motions, underscoring the importance of collective motions in liquid water.
He and his coworkers recently formulated a lattice model for the self-assembly of nanoparticles in an evaporating thin film solution. Numerical simulations of this model exhibited a wide variety of intricate patterns in space and in time (such as those in figure below). These results revealed the physical origins of structures observed in experiments and pointed to new and potentially useful aggregate morphologies.