Staff Publications

Staff Publications

  • external user (warningwarning)
  • Log in as
  • language uk
  • About

    'Staff publications' is the digital repository of Wageningen University & Research

    'Staff publications' contains references to publications authored by Wageningen University staff from 1976 onward.

    Publications authored by the staff of the Research Institutes are available from 1995 onwards.

    Full text documents are added when available. The database is updated daily and currently holds about 240,000 items, of which 72,000 in open access.

    We have a manual that explains all the features 

Record number 541220
Title Grand challenges in soft matter physics
Author(s) Gucht, Jasper van der
Source Frontiers in Physics 6 (2018)AUG.
DOI https://doi.org/10.3389/fphy.2018.00087
Department(s) Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter
VLAG
Publication type Refereed Article in a scientific journal
Publication year 2018
Keyword(s) Active matter - Colloids - Non-equilibrium physics - Polymers - Self-assembly - Soft matter physics
Abstract

As its name implies, soft matter science deals with materials that are easily deformed. These materials, which include polymers, gels, colloids, emulsions, foams, surfactant assemblies, liquid crystals, granular materials, and many biological materials, have in common that they are organized on mesoscopic length scales, with structural features that are much larger than an atom, but much smaller than the overall size of the material. The large size of the basic structural units and the relatively weak interactions that hold them together are responsible for the characteristic softness of these materials1, but they also lead to many other distinct features of soft materials [1], such as sensitivity toward thermal fluctuations and external stimuli and a slow response with long relaxation times, often resulting in non-trivial flow behavior and arrest in non-equilibrium states. These features make soft matter problems challenging. In hard condensed matter physics, it is often possible to accurately predict material properties based on the interactions between the individual atoms, which are typically organized on a regular crystalline lattice. For soft matter systems, with their intrinsically heterogeneous structure, complex interactions across different length scales, and slow dynamics, this is much more difficult. The subtle interplay between interactions and thermal fluctuations can lead to complex emergent behavior, such as spontaneous pattern formation, self-assembly, and a large response to small external stimuli. Because of the wide range of materials and systems that can be classified as soft matter, soft matter science is an inherently interdisciplinary field, in which physics, chemistry, materials science, biology, nanotechnology, and engineering come together. For a field that is so broad in scope, it is impossible to do justice to the entire range of outstanding problems or even to identify two or three key challenges. For this reason, I will only highlight a small (and highly personal) selection of current challenges in the field. The interdisciplinary nature of the field will be evident from these examples.

Comments
There are no comments yet. You can post the first one!
Post a comment
 
Please log in to use this service. Login as Wageningen University & Research user or guest user in upper right hand corner of this page.