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PHY 417: Soft Condensed Matter (4)

Introduction and Overview:  What is soft condensed matter, forces, energies and timescales in soft condensed matter.

Colloids:  A single colloidal particle in a liquid (Stoke’s law and Brownian motion), forces between colloidal particles (Van der Waals, electrostatic double layer, stearic, depletion interaction), stability and phase behaviour of colloids (hard sphere, long ranged repulsion, weakly attractive, strongly attractive), flow in concentrated dispersions.

Polymers:  Polymeric materials, freely jointed chains and its Gaussian limit,  real polymer chains, excluded volume, theta temperature, viscoelastic  behaviour of polymers, linear viscoelasticity, time-temperature superposition, entanglements, tube model and theory of reptation.

Liquid Crystals:  Types of liquid crystals, characteristics and identification of liquid crystal phases, nematic/isotropic transition,  rigidity and elastic constants of a nematic liquid crystal, boundary effects, disinclination, dislocation and other topological defects, polymer liquid crystals.

Amphiphiles: Self-assembled phases in solutions of amphiphilic molecules, spherical micelles and critical micelle concentration, cylindrical micelles, bilayers and vesicles, phase behaviour of concentrated amphiphile solutions, complex phases in surfactant solutions and microemulsions.

Biological Soft Matter: DNA (structure, condensation), proteins (structure, folding, crystallization), membranes (lipid membranes, instabilities).

Experimental Techniques in Soft Matter:  Rheology (shear rheometry, microrheology), light scattering (dynamic light scattering, static light scattering), microscopy (optical microscopy, video microscopy and particle tracking).

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