Department of Applied Physics and Materials Science - Applied Physics


Sandra M. Troian

Sandra M. Troian

Professor of Applied Physics, Aeronautics, and Mechanical Engineering

Degrees and Appointments

B.A., Harvard University, 1980; M.S., Cornell University, 1984; Ph.D., 1987. Moore Distinguished Scholar, Caltech, 2004-05; Professor, 2006-.


Research Group Matters
Cecilia Gamboa
224 Watson Laboratory
(626) 395-4400

Research Group Website Personal Website

Research Overview

The Laboratory of Interfacial and Small Scale Transport {LIS2T} specializes in problems involving interface-mediated transport and "interface sculpting" in systems ranging in scale from microns to nanometers. Current topical areas include the study of free surface instabilities and self-assembling structures in liquefiable films triggered by thermal, electrical, Marangoni or magnetic field modulation; intrinsic 3D lithographic patterning of nanofilms; layering transitions and symmetry breaking in nanofilms; fluid interface modulation for micro-optic, photonic and field emission micropropulsion systems;  non-normality and unstable flows at low Reynolds number; biological flows governed by Marangoni forces; development of a universal slip condition for liquid on solid flows; and study of breakdown regimes in continuum flow vs molecular dynamics simulations. We complement full scale experimentation with analytic work, numerical computations and non-equilibrium molecular dynamics simulations to develop physical insight for theoretical advances as well as reliable design principles for application driven work.

List of Research Areas

Condensed matter physics; Fluid dynamics; Pattern formation and symmetry breaking; Lyapunov free energy; Nonlinear dynamics; Linear stability analysis (modal and non-modal types); Unconventional  lithographic techniques; Nanofluidics; Optofluidics; Microfluidics; Vesicle dynamics

APh News about Sandra M. Troian

  • 2017 Library Thesis Prize »
  • Undergraduate Receives Fulbright to Study Experimental Biophysics in Germany »
  • Experiments Settle Long-Standing Debate about Mysterious Array Formations in Nanofilms »

  • Read more news about Sandra M. Troian »