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Soft Matter Physics @ Bath

Using mathematical and computational methods to understand soft materials

[Lock-and-key colloids:
Soft Matter, 2013]

Soft matter is everywhere: from gels, pastes, and liquid crystals, to glassy fluids and biological organisms. These systems are typically made up of components with fairly simple interactions between them, but the resulting behaviour can be complex and surprising. In our research, we explore the fundamental physical principles that determine this behaviour. For example,
  • What kinds of structure can emerge in these systems?
  • How do these structures evolve with time?
  • How can this behaviour be predicted and controlled?
To accomplish this, we use theoretical arguments and ideas as well as high-performance computing.

June-2015: Paper on Critical drying of water at hydrophobic surfaces appears in Phys. Rev. Lett.
June-2015: Paper on Porous liquids in indented colloids appears in Phys. Rev. Lett.
Dec-2014: Paper on Self assembly of indented colloids appears on arXiv.
Aug-2014: Paper using information theory to study glassy dynamics appears in Phys. Rev. Lett.
Jul-2014: Preprint of review on self-assembly pathways appears on arXiv.
Jun-2014: Paper on random pinning in stable glasses appears in Phys. Rev. Lett.


Ongoing research directions...
[Links lead to open-access full text of illustrative papers]
  • Lock and key colloids: using particles' shapes to control their self-assembly into chains and networks. [2013‑paper]
  • Size-asymmetric mixtures: Mixtures where some particles are much smaller than others [2013‑preprint]
  • Glass transitions: the strange properties of materials that are neither rigid solids nor conventional liquids. [2011‑paper]
  • Competing interactions: understanding the inhomogeneous states that form when particles attract their neighbours but repel particles that are already far away. [2007‑paper]
  • Dynamics of self-assembly: what are the pitfalls when trying to assemble complex ordered structures. And how can these be avoided? [2013‑paper]
  • Rare events and large deviations: "looking for the least unlikely way to do a very unlikely thing", and using such questions to understand physical situations. [2010‑paper]
  • Cluster crystals: what happens to high-density crystal states when particles are so soft that they can overlap each other? [2013‑paper]
  • Protein folding: how do biological molecules `fold' themselves into their highly-ordered functional states. [2013‑paper]
  • Polydispersity: Some particles are more equal than others... and this has consequences... [2010‑paper]

Cluster Crystals

Size asymmetry

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