Soft Condensed Matter: Graduate Course Phys 7430, Fall 2017

Prof. Ivan I. Smalyukh, Instructor 

When: Tuesdays and Thursdays, 9:30 AM - 10:45 AM 

Welcome to the Graduate Course Phys 7430 "Soft Condensed Matter"  

"Soft Condensed Matter Physics " is a course about the science of liquid crystals, polymers, biological membranes, biopolymers, block copolymers, molecular monolayers, colloids, nanoparticle suspensions, emulsions, foams, gels, elastomers, and other soft materials. The course is intended for graduate students. Soft materials are attractive not only because of the richness of observed physics phenomena but also because of the wealth of potential technological applications and because of their significance for the fields of biology, biotechnology, and medicine. These materials combine properties of crystalline solids and ordinary liquids in unexpected ways, often possessing fluidity along with orientational order and varying degrees of positional order. The constituent molecules (or particles and other building blocks) of soft matter interact via many different types of interactions, ranging from van der Waals interactions, to screened electrostatic and steric interactions, and to specific chemical binding. However, the interactions are usually weak and comparable in strength to thermal fluctuations. Therefore, these relatively fragile forms of matter easily respond to mechanical stresses, electric and magnetic fields, temperature variations, presence of ions, optical fields of focused laser beams, etc. Often possessing birefringence, optical activity, and self-organized structures with periodicity in the nanometer and micrometer ranges, these materials can be used to deflect laser beams in telecommunications and to visualize information in displays. At the same time, electric and magnetic fields, tiny temperature changes, and light (in a form of focused laser beams) can be used to control these materials by shaping patterns of molecular orientations, manipulation of colloidal particles and defects, etc. Course is geared toward graduate students interested in conducting research in soft condensed matter. In the course, hands-on experience will be widely used to promote interest & understanding of the material.

Syllabus, Information, & Policies

Lecture Notes

Homework Assignments & Solutions

Useful web-based tutorials & applets