Dr Daniele Vigolo PhD

Dr Daniele Vigolo

School of Chemical Engineering

Contact details

School of Chemical Engineering
The University of Birmingham
B15 2TT

Daniele aims to answer fundamental scientific questions in the field of Experimental Soft Condensed Matter and Fluid Dynamics, and provide technology advancement by developing innovative applications. His main scientific interests are in multiphase flows in laminar regime, transport phenomena in nonequilibrium systems, such as thermophoresis, and the design and realization of advanced biocompatible materials exploiting microfluidics. He has published several research papers in high impact peer-reviewed journals, and presented his results at major conferences and invited talks worldwide.


  • PhD in Radiation Science and Technology, Politecnico di Milano, Italy, 2010
  • MEng in Nuclear Engineering, Politecnico di Milano, Italy, 2006


Daniele received his Laurea (5-year Master program) in Nuclear Engineering at Politecnico di Milano, Italy, in 2006. At the same institution, in 2010, he got his Ph.D. in Radiation Science and Technology working on "Thermophoresis in complex fluids" under the supervision of Prof Roberto Piazza. He investigated the behaviour of colloidal suspension in a temperature gradient with optical methods (e.g., the beam deflection technique), and in microfluidic devices during his internship at Harvard University, USA, in the group of Prof Howard A. Stone.

In 2011 he moved to Princeton University, USA, working as a Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Complex Fluids Group of Prof Howard A. Stone. Here he worked on an experimental and theoretical fluid mechanical investigation of particle-wall impacts and air-bubble behaviour in a T-junction. He also developed a microfluidic microbial fuel cell and investigated the dependence of the electric output on the shear stress induced by the flow.

In December 2012 Daniele joined the group of Prof Andrew deMello at ETH Zurich, Switzerland, after been awarded of the ETH Postdoctoral Fellowship (Marie Curie Actions). At ETH Daniele worked on several projects exploiting flow in microfluidic geometry such as the development of a biocompatible material that presents a gradient of mechanical properties induced by thermophoresis, and the investigation of the fluid dynamics of fast phenomena via optical methodologies.

Finally, he joined the University of Birmingham as a Lecturer in July 2015.

Postgraduate supervision


Daniele’s research interests span from the Soft Condensed Matter, with a focus on Complex fluids, to the Fluid Dynamics. He is interested in understanding the physics that involves fluids and how the flow of a specific fluid can affect other physical and chemical phenomena. Daniele is also interested in studying biological fluids and cells.

Daniele’s most recent research:
• Exploitation of thermophoretic transport to create biocompatible substrates with intrinsic concentration gradients. In the presence of a temperature gradient, a particle population will experience a thermophoretic force, which will drive particles to regions of high or low temperature, depending on their thermophoretic behavior. The formed concentration gradient will then be “frozen” via polymerization to create a rigid substrate that will present a gradient of mechanical properties (e.g. elasticity).
• Fluid dynamics of fast happening phenomena. The velocity fields of quick phenomena at the micro-scale, such as microfluidic droplet formation, are easily investigated taking advantage of the Ghost Particle Velocimetry technique simply using bright-field microscopy with white light illumination and a high-speed camera.
• Trapping of Particles at a Bifurcation. Low-density material, such as air bubbles, can be influenced by the flow in which they are dispersed. In particular, we discovered that at a bifurcation these suspended particles can get trapped and accumulate. The implications from an industrial and biological point of view demand an extensive experimental and computational work to fully understand this phenomenon.

Previously Daniele was also involved in other scientific researches:
• Efficient emulsion generation by bubble bursting at a compound interface. When an air bubble burst at an interface between water and oil in the presence of a surfactant, an O/W nanoemulsion is formed. Moreover, the bubble bursting is one to two order of magnitude more energy-efficient than standard high-shear rate techniques.
Particles impacting at a T-junction. Understanding the behaviour of particles entrained in a fluid flow upon changes in flow direction is crucial in problems where particle inertia is important, such as the erosion process in pipe bends. Experimental results for the impact are compared with the trajectories predicted by theoretical particle-tracing models and numerical simulations for a range of configurations to determine the role of the viscous boundary layer in retarding the particles and reducing the rate of collision with the substrate.
Microbial Fuel Cell. Optimizing the continuous flow of nutrient exploiting the laminar flow condition in microfluidic geometry enhanced the power density output of a microbial fuel cell.


  1. T. Pirbodaghi, D. Vigolo, S. Akbari and A. deMello (2015) Investigating the fluid dynamics of rapid processes within microfluidic devices using bright-field microscopy. Lab Chip, 15: 2140-2144.
  2. D. Vigolo, S. Radl, and H.A. Stone (2014) Unexpected Trapping of Particles at a T-junction. PNAS, 111 (13): 4770-4775.
  3. J. Feng, M. Roché, D. Vigolo, L. N. Arnaudov, S. D. Stoyanov, T. D. Gurkov, G. G. Tsutsumanova, and H. A. Stone (2014). Nanoemulsions obtained via bubble bursting at a compound interface. Nature Physics, 10: 606–612.
  4. D. Vigolo, T. Al-Housseiny, Y. Shen, F. O. Akinlawon, S. Al-Housseiny, R. K. Hobson, A. Sahu, K. I. Bedkowski, T. J. DiChristina and H.A. Stone (2014). Flow dependent performance of microfluidic microbial fuel cells. Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 16 (24): 12535 – 12543.
  5. D. Vigolo, I.M. Griffiths, S. Radl, and H.A. Stone (2013). An experimental and theoretical investigation of particle–wall impacts in a T-junction. Journal of Fluid Mechanics, 727: 236-255.
  6. S. Wongsuwarn, D. Vigolo, R. Cerbino, A. M. Howe, A. Vailati, R. Piazza, and P. Cicuta (2012). Giant thermophoresis of poly(N-isopropylacrylamide) microgel particles. Soft Matter, 8 (21): 5857–5863.
  7. D. Vigolo, R. Rusconi, R. Piazza, and H. A. Stone (2010). A portable device for temperature control along microchannels. Lab Chip, 10 (6): 795–798.
  8. D. Vigolo, R. Rusconi, H. A. Stone, and R. Piazza (2010). Thermophoresis: microfluidics characterization and separation. Soft Matter, 6 (15): 3489–3493.
  9. D. Vigolo, S. Buzzaccaro, and R. Piazza (2010). Thermophoresis and Thermoelectricity in Surfactant Solutions. Langmuir, 26 (11): 7792–7801.
  10. M. Braibanti, D. Vigolo, and R. Piazza (2008). Does thermophoretic mobility depend on particle size? Physical Review Letters, 100 (10): 108303.
  11. S. Buzzaccaro, A. Tripodi, R. Rusconi, D. Vigolo, and R. Piazza (2008). Kinetics of sedimentation in colloidal suspensions. Journal of Physics: Condensed Matter, 20 (49): 494219.
  12. D. Vigolo, G. Brambilla, and R. Piazza (2007). Thermophoresis of microemulsion droplets: Size dependence of the Soret effect. Physical Review E, 75 (4): 40401.