Picture of Jacob Kirkensgaard

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Structural Food Physics and
Soft Matter Self-Assembly

Welcome to my website. I am a soft matter researcher fascinated by self-assembly and the role of geometry in material science. After a number of years at the X-ray and Neutron Science group at the Niels Bohr Institute, University of Copenhagen I moved to a permanent position at the Dept. of Food Science to establish a group in Structural Food Physics and Soft Matter Self-Assembly. However, as of April 2021 I have taken up af joint position between these two institutes to tighten relations and to head the two SAXS instruments installed at NBI and FOOD. Please explore my research, teaching and other interests from the menus above.

Latest news


July 2023: Shape2SAS is out

Our paper on Shape2SAS is out - a web-application for simulation of solution scattering from geometric shapes - going from simple to quite complex shapes. Requires no installation so we have found it very useful for teaching purposes to explore basic concepts and generate fast virtual data to import into Sasview for example to learn how to fit models. Read the paper HERE.


April 2023: Back from down under

Just returned from a 2-month research stay at Dept. of Chemistry at University of Sydney where I was visiting my long-term collaborator Prof. Stephen Hyde. The visit also allowed me to interact with a range of other scientist in Sydney, including at the Australian neutron facility ANSTO. Furher, I visited another collaborator at ANU in Canberra, Prof. Vanessa Robins and finally visited Prof. Gerd Schröder-Turk at Murdoch University in Perth where I gave a lecture for the Australian Institute of Physics about scattering methods in food science. Big thanks to the Carlsberg foundation and Niels Bohr Fondet for supporting the visit.


January 2023: Soft Matter paper accepted

Very proud of this work which had been a few years on the way. A gigantic effort by Martin Cramer Pedersen to make this work: we are presenting a new way of visualising and analysing patterns on negatively curved surfaces by mapping to the flat page using the Poincaré disc model of the hyperbolic plane. In analogy to a flat map of the earth, this allows to simplify very complex 3D patterns to 2D. Find the actual paper HERE.


May 2022: PhD School at NBI

Together with Martin Cramer Pedersen I am the local organizer of our 4th International PhD School on 'Geometry and Topology in Contemporary Material Science' which will be held from August 6-12 2022 at the Niels Bohr Institute. My fellow co-organizers and co-lecturers are Stephen Hyde (Uni. Sydney), Gerd Schröder-Turk (Murdoch, Perth), Myfanwy Evans (Uni. Potsdam), Philipp Schoenhoefer (Uni. Michigan) and Martin C. Pedersen (NBI). Read more HERE.


October 2021: Cover paper in PRL

Our latest paper on polymers under fast flow has made the cover of Phys. Rev. Letters. The paper describes a small-angle neutron scattering study of the structural relaxation of elongationally oriented, moderately stretched three-arm star polymers. Find the actual paper HERE.


September 2021: Work group leader

Together with Prof. Ben Boyd I am the new leader of the Northern Lights on Food working group on 'Food Colloids and Structured Interfaces' which is a theme under LINXS - Lund Institute of Advanced Neutron and X-ray Science. Read more about the network HERE.


April 2021: Editorial board membership

I have joined the open access journal Foods as an editorial board member. My first task will be as guest editor for a special issue on Food Physics. Browse the journal HERE.


January 2021: Agreement with Xenocs on new SAXS instrument

It is a great pleasure to announce that an agreement has been reached with Xenocs to deliver a new Nano-inXider instrument to be installed in my group at Dept. of Food Science to complement our existing x-ray scattering infrastructure at University of Copenhagen. Read more about the instrument HERE.


August 2020: Topological proximity paper out

The first paper from a collaboration with Martin Cramer Pedersen at the Niels Bohr Institute and Vanessa Robins at Applied Math, ANU is out. Using methods from the field of topological data analysis, we investigate the self-assembly and emergence of three-dimensional quasi-crystalline structures in a single-component colloidal system. From a topological perspective, there is a subtle, but direct connection between quasi-crystalline, crystalline and disordered states. Find the paper HERE.


July 2020: Nature Materials paper accepted!

Around 4 years ago I did some measurements which are now finally published as part of a larger body of work in Nature Materials. The research was led by my now long-term collaborator Prof. Matthias Arenz and the majority of the work was done by Gustav Sievers. In the paper we report on self-supported platinum-cobalt-oxide networks that break all performance records for electrochemical fuel-cell applications. Find the paper HERE.


January 2020: FOODHAY grant for new equipment

Through the new national research infrastructure initiative FOODHAY, I have received funding to buy a new combined SAXS/WAXS setup to be installed at FOOD later this year. More information (in danish) HERE.


November 2019: New member of the Nano-Science Center

I have joined the University of Copenhagen Nano-Science Center - a cross-faculty initiative between the Faculty of Science and the Faculty of Health and Medical Sciences. More information HERE.


October 2019: New paper in Soft Matter

Very proud of this new paper done in collaboration with Gerd Schröder-Turk and primarily our joint phd-student Tobias Hain - we show that star copolymers on a sphere self-assemble into patchy particles with structure and coordination corresponding to those found in the famous Thomson problem. Find the actual paper HERE.


September 2019: Paper on photosynthetic membranes

Very pleased that my PhD-student D. Jakubauskas got the first of his papers on photosynthetic membrane structure accepted into Scientific Reports. The paper contains scattering data from living cyanobacteria and details how to model this scattering. Find the actual paper HERE.


June 2019: Cover paper

A long experimental effort about self-assembly of milk proteins into well-defined nanotubes is finally out as a cover paper in Soft Matter. The study provides novel fundamental knowledge of the formation and structure of α-lactalbumin nanotubes under different conditions, which will facilitate future application of these nanotubes in food and pharmaceutical areas. Find the actual paper HERE.


November 2018: Cover paper

Our latest paper on miktoarm star self-assembly has made the cover of Polymer Physics. An integrated study using simulation and experiments allow us to understand the intricate self‐assembly across a wide range of the phase diagram in these interesting materials. Find the actual paper HERE.


August 2018: New position at FOOD

I have accepted a new tenured position at the food science department of University of Copenhagen. I will be affiliated with the Molecular Food Structure group. Read more about the department HERE.


May 2018: Springer book chapter out

I have written one of the chapters in a new book on the ’Role of Topology in Materials’. It is part of a Springer series on Solid State Sciences. Read my contribution HERE or check the full contents of the book HERE.


May 2018: Phys Rev Letters paper accepted

Our new work on three-arm star block copolymers exposed to extreme stretch has been accepted in Physical Review Letters. Read it HERE.


April 2018: Popular article in danish

I have written a small paper in danish about struc-tural complexity in soft matter which is out now in KVANT - Tidsskrift for Fysik og Astronomi. Check it out HERE.


February 2018: Invited to Berkeley

I am invited to speak at the Mathematical Sciences Research Institute at Berkeley, California. The meeting is titled 'Hot Topics: Shape and Structure of Materials', for more information see HERE.


November 2017: Visit to Murdoch University

I am currently on a 3 month stay at Murdoch University in Perth, Australia visiting my close collaborator Gerd Schröder-Turk. We are going to work on simulation problems in soft matter and biological physics. Read more about Gerd's research HERE. I am also this year guest speaker at the annual dinner of The Australian Institute of Physics's WA branch where I'll be talking about 'Soft matter as a playground for the exploration of space partitioning'.


September 2017: PhD School at NBI

I am the local organizer of our 3rd International PhD School on 'Geometry and Topology in Contemporary Material Science' which will be held from September 3-9 2017 at the Niels Bohr Institute. My fellow co-organizers and co-lecturers are Stephen Hyde (ANU, Canberra), Gerd Schröder-Turk (Murdoch, Perth), Myfanwy Evans (TU-Berlin), Toen Castle (UPenn) and Martin C. Pedersen (NBI). Read more HERE.


February 2017: Teaching award!

I am very proud to be this years recipient of the 'Jens Martin Award' - the annual Niels Bohr Institute teaching award. The award is named after Jens Martin Knudsen, the Danish Mars researcher who was known as a dedicated and gifted educator. I have received the award together with the rest of the team who re-organized and ran the 2016 Linear Algebra and Classical Mechanics course on the Nano Science education: Jonas Søgaard Juul, Tine Bryder Nielsen and Jesper Bruun. Read more HERE.