SOFT MATTER PHYSICS
6 credits during the 2nd year of 9017 Materials Science and Engineering (LM-53) GENOVA
6 credits during the 1st year of 9017 Materials Science and Engineering (LM-53) GENOVA
The term "soft matter" refers to those systems characterized by binding energies comparable to thermal energy and by the tendency of the constituents to spontaneously form mesoscopic structures. The course deals with the study of these systems, including colloids, polymers and liquid crystals, with particular attention to applications in biophysics and nanotechnology.
The course is aimed to provide an introduction to the study of soft matter, which is characterized by weak interactions between nano-sized building blocks and important effects of thermal fluctuations. Students will acquire knowledge on the characteristic features of soft materials, the forces acting in these systems, the physical models which describe their behavior.
AIMS AND LEARNING OUTCOMES
At the end of the course, the student will be able to: understand the origin of the interactions that take place in soft matter and know their properties; recognize the different types of soft systems (colloidal suspensions, gels, liquid crystals ...); describe the behavior of polymeric molecules using models based on general physical properties; apply the concept of critical packing parameter in self-assembly processes; describe the conformational transitions occurring at the molecular level in a liquid crystal display; understand how the knowledge of the general properties of soft matter opens the way to the design of nanomaterials with specific desired properties.
To effectively address the contents of the course, knowledge of the basic concepts of electromagnetism and statistical mechanics provided in the three-year degree course is advisable.
Traditional lessons (48 h)
Intermolecular forces – Hydrophobic interaction – Surface tension – Van der Waals forces between particles and surfaces – Electrostatic forces between surfaces in liquid: the Poisson-Botzmann equation; the Grahame equation; the Debye length – Colloids – DLVO interaction and stability of a colloidal suspension – Brownian motion – Polymers – Polymer models: freely jointed chain, worm-like chain – Thermodynamic principles of molecular self-assembly – Micelles, liposomes, planar bilayers, mesophases – Liquid crystals – The Frederiks transition and the liquid crystal display – Soft matter and biological molecules.
• Israelachvili J. Intermolecular and Surface Forces, 2011 Academic Press - Elsevier
• Jones, R. A. Soft condensed matter, 2002 Oxford University Press
• Berg, J.C. An introduction to interfaces and colloids - The bridge to nanoscience. 2010 World Scientific
• Rubinstein M., Colby R. H., Polymer physics, Oxford University Press, 2010
• Chaikin P. M., Lubensky T. C., Principles of condensed matter physics, 1997 Cambridge University Press
• Phillips, R., Kondev, J., Theriot, J., Physical Biology of the Cell, 2009 Garland Science.
Ricevimento: At the end of every lesson or on request
ANNALISA RELINI (President)
ORNELLA CAVALLERI (President Substitute)
Traditional lessons (48 h)
Second semester - Class schedules will be available at https://corsi.unige.it/8758/p/studenti-orario
Oral exam on the topics of the course. The detailed program is available on Aulaweb.
The oral exam is always conducted by the professor who is responsible for the course and by another expert in the subject (usually another professor). The oral exam takes about 50 minutes and it consists of a fixed number of questions (the same for all students) on the course topics. It allows the commission to assess the student's understanding of the course topics and the student's ability to discern the validity limits of the models used.