Course: Soft Matter Physics, 2022B

  • Week              Topic

    Introduction. Review of Statistical Mechanics. Second Virial Coefficient.


    Molecular interactions. Van der Waals forces. Mixing energy. Liquid structure: radial distribution function, Frenkel liquid (Tonks gas).


    Liquid structure theory. Distribution functions. Yvon-Born-Green hierarchy. Kirkwood closure. Density-density correlation function. Structure factor


    Ideal Polymers. Types of solvents: good, theta and bad. Ideal polymer models: Freely Jointed Chain, Freely Rotating Chain and Worm-like Chain. Entropic elasticity of an Ideal polymer. Confinement of an Ideal polymer to a tube.


    WLC continuation. Gaussian chain. Real chain: Flory theory, force-extension, Pincus blobs.


    Real Chain in a tube. Flory-Huggins theory of polymer solutions. Dilute, semi-dilute and dense regimes. Osmotic pressure.


    Debye-Huckel theory of screening in electrolytes. Overlap concentration. Screening in polymer solutions: Edwards' theory. Mesh size/screening length: scaling theory. Osmotic pressure of semidilute solutions. Coil size in semidilute solutions.

     8 Polymer Dynamics. Brownian motion. Smoluchowski/Langevin equations. Smoluchowski time. Ballistic and diffusion regimes. Rouse model of polymer dynamics. Rouse modes. 
     9 Rouse model: segmental mean square displacement. Hydrodynamic interactions. Zimm model. Dynamics of semidilute solutions: individual vs. collective dynamics. Reptation: tube, tube time, individual diffusion coefficient. 
     10 Segmental mean-square displacement dynamics in semidilute solutions. Collective diffusion coefficient in semidilute solutions. Dynamic (quasielastic) light scattering technique. Fluorescence Correlation spectroscopy. 
     11 Fluorescence Correlation spectroscopy (FCS). Scanning FCS. Surfactants, spherical and rod-like micelles, bilayers. Interactions between micelles. Interactions within soap films: Newton and black films. Free energy of a bilayers. 
     12 Self-assembled structures: dependence on surfactant head area and tail volume. Free energy of a membrane confined to a slit. 
     13 Critical micelle concentration. Cases of spherical and rod-like micelles. Emulsions. 

  • Lecture: Sundays 10:00 - 13:00
    Reception hours: fix by email to
    • Home exercises (3-4 in total): obligatory submission
    • Final grade (default option): exam based on home exercises