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 3011
Evanston, IL 60208

Email Erik Luijten


Computational Soft Matter Lab


Materials Science and Engineering

Engineering Sciences and Applied Mathematics


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, and electrolytes. 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 electrolyts, 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.


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

  • 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)
  • 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)