Delft University of Technology

Magnetic Cilia as permanent walls in new Applied Sciences building





I have a background in physics and received a PhD in France on polymer gels. After a few years at Ecole de Physique et de Chimie Industrielles de la Ville de Paris (ParisTech) as a CNRS fellow, I moved to the Lab. des Fluides Complexes (Strasbourg). I am in Delft since 2003 where I hold an Associate Professor position.
In 2014 I spend a semester in Cornell as a visiting professor.

My research focus on "Functional Soft Matter” and it
encompasses  fundamentals and application aspects. Mainly working with gels and self-assembled molecules, I make use of micro fabrication, microfluidics and 3D printing techniques to formulate new responsive / functional / soft materials. Studies spam from magneto or light responsive micro-structured surfaces to drug nano carriers, tissue engineering and lab-on-a-chip virus detection.  My research group is embedded in a larger structure and many interdisciplinary projects are carried out in cooperation with chemist and biologist colleagues, on campus or abroad.

Advanced Soft Matter Group, Dept. of Chem. Eng.
Delft University of Technology, Van der Maasweg 9

2629HZ Delft (The Netherlands),



ART & Education



Functional, active and passive, self-assembled
soft matter in relation to health and micro-actuation.

I teach  Statistical Physics, Polymer Science and Soft Matter
at MSc and BSc levels and & 2 Art Embedded Courses

Responsive biomimetic networks from polyisocyanopeptide hydrogels

Nature 493, 618-619 (2013)

P.H. J. Kouwer, M. Koepf, V. A. A. Le Sage, M. Jaspers, A. M. van Buul, Z. H. Eksteen-Akeroyd, T. Woltinge, E. Schwartz, H. J. Kitto, R. Hoogenboom, S. J. Picken, R. J. M. Nolte, E. Mendes & A. E. Rowan

Comments on our article

here, here, here and here.

Advanced Soft Matter

Catalytic control over
supramolecular gel formation

Nature Chemistry 5, 433-437 (2013)

J. Boekhoven, J. M. Poolman, C. Maity, F. Li, L. van der Mee,
C. B. Minkenberg, E. Mendes, J. H. van Esch and R. Eelkema


Art, Empathy & Ethics
AS 3131 (AEE)    ECTS: 4

MSc Program Applied Sciences

Join on 2nd or 3rd Term 2020-21

Course theme

Last years: “Body Enhancement”
Coming year: “Connectivity Technologies”

“Under the supervision of an artist and using the tools and media suggested by the artist you will develop an art project around an ethical or a societal problem related to the design and use of technology as well as the access to such technologies around the globe.” - “This empathic and aesthetic exercise is to be complemented by a systematic conceptual reflection on the chosen ethical or societal problem, both carried out in parallel.”

Read an Interview on Art, Empathy & Ethics here

Early formation pathways of surfactant micelle directed ultrasmall silica ring and cage structures

J. Am. Chem. Soc., 2018, 140 (50), pp 17343–17348

Kai Ma, Katherine A. Spoth, Ying Cong, Duhan Zhang, Tangi Aubert, Melik Z. Turker, Lena F. Kourkoutis, Eduardo Mendes and Ulrich Wiesner

Spatial Manipulation and Integration of Supramolecular Filaments on Hydrogel Substrates towards Advanced Soft Devices

Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2020, 59, 8601-8607

Kai Zhang, Sander Oldenhof, Yiming Wang, Jan H. van Esch, and Eduardo Mendes

Some Highlighted Papers

Education Highlights

“Awareness & Culture”
a BSc, Art Embedded Learning Honours Specialization

Joining forces with enthusiastic colleagues and artists, with strong support from TU Delft Management, I just put together a
new 20 ECTS Bachelor Honours Program named “Awareness & Culture”. starting now in 20-21:

The focus is on you, as a person, on your own awareness of the “self” and your understanding of the relations that bind you to others – a unique, multi-sensory experience to explore
your relation to the world and the impact
of technology. You will have invigorating
weekly interactions with professional
artists, developing ‘living experiences’:
hands-on experimentation and discovery
through the production and
performance of art !

Graduate School approved: graduate students can join as part of their PhD program