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Personal profile


"Liquid crystals: vibrating soft matter"

Research profile

Dirk J. Broer is a polymer chemist specialized in polymer structuring and self-organizing polymer networks. This entails the development of polymers with new functionalities and integrating them into devices to meet industrial and societal challenges in the fields of sustainable energy, water-management, healthcare & personal comfort. The research follows the complete chain of knowledge from molecule to device. i.e. from organic synthesis to prototype. Both top-down and bottom-up methods are employed for the preparation of hierarchically structured materials in the fields of Energy Materials, Stimuli-responsive Materials, and Nanostructured Materials.

Academic background

Dirk J. Broer has worked the better part of his career at Philips Research (Eindhoven, Netherlands) which he joined 1973. He worked on a manifold of research topics such as vapor phase polymerization, optical data storage, telecommunication and display optics. In 1990/1991, he worked at DuPont Experimental Station (Delaware, USA) on nonlinear optics and vapor phase deposition of pi-conjugated polymers. In 1990, in line with his Philips research into liquid crystal materials, Broer obtained his PhD degree at Groningen University with his thesis 'In-situ photopolymerization of oriented liquid-crystalline acrylates' supervised by Prof. Ger Challa. He returned to Philips Research in 1991 where he worked, amongst others, on LCD enhancement and new LCD manufacturing technologies. From 2003 to 2010 he was senior research fellow and vice president at the Philips Research Laboratories specializing on biomedical devices and applications of polymeric materials. Broer has been a part-time professor at Eindhoven University of Technology (TU/e) since 1996, covering research topics such as liquid crystals, polymer waveguides, solar energy, organic semiconductors, nanolithography, soft lithography and polymer actuators for biomedical microfluidic systems. In 2010, he was appointed fulltime professor at TU/e to chair the research group Functional Organic Materials and Devices. Since 2010 he is member of the Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences (KNAW). In 2013 he was appointed Distinguished Professor at South China Normal University, South China Academy of Advanced Optoelectronics, Guangzhou, China.

Affiliated with

  • Institute for Complex Molecular Systems
  • Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences (member since 2010)
  • South China Normal University, South China Academy of Advanced Optoelectronics,, Guangzhou, China

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Research Output 1987 2019

10 Citations (Scopus)

Protruding organic surfaces triggered by in-plane electric fields

Liu, D., Tito, N. B. & Broer, D. J., 1 Dec 2017, In : Nature Communications. 8, 1, 1526

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Liquid Crystals
Surface topography
569 Citations (Scopus)

Printed artificial cilia from liquid-crystal network actuators modularly driven by light

Oosten, van, C. L., Bastiaansen, C. W. M. & Broer, D. J., 2009, In : Nature Materials. 8, 8, p. 677-682

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Liquid Crystals
Liquid crystals
455 Citations (Scopus)

Molecular machines : nanomotor rotates microscale objects

Eelkema, R., Pollard, M. M., Vicario, J., Katsonis, N., Serrano Ramon, B., Bastiaansen, C. W. M., Broer, D. J. & Feringa, B. L., 2006, In : Nature. 440, 7081, p. 163-

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Liquid Crystal

3D helix engineering in chiral photonic materials

Kragt, A. J. J., Hoekstra, D. C., Stallinga, S., Broer, D. J. & Schenning, A. P. H. J., 1 Jan 2019, (Accepted/In press) In : Advanced Materials. 1903120

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Light polarization
Nematic liquid crystals
Polymer films

Combined light and electric response of topographic liquid crystal network surfaces

Feng, W., Broer, D. J. & Liu, D., 1 Jan 2019, In : Advanced Functional Materials. 1901681

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Open Access
Liquid Crystals
Liquid crystals
liquid crystals


resonant vibration
liquid crystals


Physical chemistry of soft matter



Student theses

Accordion-like deformation of plastic sheets

Author: Verjans, J., 28 Feb 2013

Supervisor: Broer, D. (Supervisor 1), Bastiaansen, C. (Supervisor 2), Schenning, A. (Supervisor 2), Goossens, J. (Supervisor 2) & de Haan, L. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master

Alignment of dichroic dyes at photo-aligned polymer surfaces

Author: van Rooij, R., 31 Oct 1998

Supervisor: Broer, D. (Supervisor 1) & Bastiaansen, C. (Coach)

Student thesis: Master

Analysis on migration processes in polymer devices

Author: Kivits, K., 28 Feb 2001

Supervisor: Leewis, C. (Supervisor 1), de Jong, A. (Supervisor 2), de Voigt, M. (Supervisor 2) & Broer, D. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master


Assembly of supramolecules into well defined morphologies

Author: Jansma, S., 21 Dec 2016

Supervisor: Schenning, A. (Supervisor 1), Murphy, J. (Supervisor 2), Nickmans, K. (Supervisor 2), Broer, D. (Supervisor 2) & Sijbesma, R. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master


Dynamic Lotus Effect

Author: Wang, D., 2014

Supervisor: Liu, D. (Supervisor 1) & Broer, D. (Supervisor 2)

Student thesis: Master