We investigate principles of condensed matter at the micron scale: Structure formation, solidification and melting, dynamics of diffusion, and mechanical rigidity. The understanding of these principes is both of fundamental scientific interest as well as of importance for industrial applications. We investigate these principles in soft matter, materials composed of micrometer and sub-micrometer size units ubiquitous in nature, biology, and numerous consumer products ranging from cosmetics to foods. These soft materials exhibit elastic moduli of around a Pa, about eleven orders of magnitude smaller than those of atomic solids. The great advantage for fundamental studies is that the constituent particles can be conveniently imaged at the particle scale and in real time. Many of the collective phenomena observed in these systems are largely similar to those of atomic systems, described by the same statistical physics.Our experiments aim at a fundamental understanding of basic mechanisms in both soft and atomic matter, while they also provide interesting perspectives for consumer product applications.