2006 Alfons van Blaaderen

Professor Van Blaaderen studied Chemistry and Physics at Utrecht University, gaining his PhD (in the area of synthesis and model studies of colloidal silica particles) in1992 under Professor A. Vrij. For this work he was awarded the DSM prize for best Dutch Chemistry Thesis. He then worked as a Post-Doctoral researcher at Bell Laboratories with C. A. Murray and P. Wiltzius. He became full Professor of Physics at Utrecht University in 1999.
   His recent work has focused on synthesis of model colloids, and the study of their equilibrium and non-equilibrium states, as well as particle assemblies in the presence of external fields. 
    Over the last several years he has initiated the study of, or greatly developed the field of, many aspects the structure and dynamics of colloidal systems. For example, he obtained the first three-dimensional particle co-ordinates (and thereby structures) of particle colloid glasses and other states, and has continued to develop these techniques to image a rich new variety of ordered phases.  In itself his development of the use of confocal microscopy for this application has subsequently spawned many works in the field of colloidal and materials science, and is now a vibrant and important field of colloidal Physics and Chemistry. In his recent works he has pioneered the study of binary ionic colloidal crystals, leading to the observation of remarkable and striking new ordered structures, several of which have not been observed before in Nature. 
    Professor Van Blaaderen has been a leading proponent of the use of external fields (including electrical, light, shear)  to guide self-organization of colloidal particle systems, and though still in its infancy, this approach promises to be a rich area of study for applications of colloids to advanced and functional materials science.
    In one of the most elegant examples (published in 2005) of this recent work he has shown how to tune the interactions between PMMA particles from hard to very soft repulsion, as well as dipolar interactions, leading to both new crystal phases, as well as (for example in the use of electrical fields) new ways of inducing the transitions between them.
    Professor Van Blaaderen is one of the leading examples of the new generation of Colloidal Scientists, internationally renowned for his research and expositions. It is the great pleasure of the European Colloidal and Interface Society to award him the Rhodia Prize for 2006.