Theory of Soft and Biomatter

Ulrich Schwarz and Jan Kierfeld

IMPRS, MPI of Colloids and Interfaces, University of Potsdam
winter term 2002/2003
4 hours per week


  1. US + JK, 16.10.: Introduction and Overview
    interdisciplinary research, definition of soft matter, role of thermal fluctuations and structure for soft and biomatter, examples from own research
  2. JK, 23.10.: Thermodynamics and statistical mechanics
    equilibrium, state variables, energy and entropy, the laws of thermodynamics, ensembles, Boltzmann factor, partition sum, fluctuation-dissipation theorem, thermodynamic limit, entropy as disorder
  3. US, 30.10.: Models for dilute systems
    partition function for ideal gas, equations of state for ideal gas, application of ideal gas law to biology, virial expansion, second virial coefficient
  4. JK, 6.11.: Phase transitions I
    van der Waals fluid, Lennard-Jones systems, hard spheres, first and second order phase transitions
  5. JK, 13.11.: Phase transitions II
    Ising model, mean field theory, critical phenomena, renormalization group, Ginzburg-Landau theory, liquid crystals, amphiphilic systems, Gibbs phase rule
  6. US, 20.11.: Molecular and colloidal interactions
    Van der Waals interaction, electrostatic interaction, Poisson-Boltzmann theory, strong coupling limit, Debye-Hückel theory, DLVO theory, depletion interaction, hydrophilic and hydrophobic interactions, hydrophobic effect
  7. US, 27.11.: Interfaces
    surface tension from Ginzburg-Landau model, introduction to differential geometry, surfaces of constant mean curvature, minimal surfaces, capillary waves, Rayleigh-Plateau instability
  8. US, 4.12.: Membranes
    three deformation modes for thin shells, curvature energy for membranes, role of topology, Monge representation, thermal fluctuations, Helfrich interaction, vesicles, membrane shapes
  9. JK, 11.12.: Polymers I
    synthetic and biopolymers, ideal chain, freely jointed and freely rotating chains, self-avoiding chain, Flory-Huggins theory for interacting chains
  10. JK, 18.12.: Adsorption and wetting
    physiosorption and chemisorption, Langmuir and BET isotherms, polymer adsorption, Young and Laplace equations, wetting transitions
  11. US, 8.1.: Elasticity of soft material
    strain and stress tensors, Hooke's law, Young modulus and Poisson ratio, contact mechanics, Hertz model, JKR-theory, viscoelasticity and plasticity
  12. US, 15.1.: Hydrodynamics
    viscosity, Newtonian fluids, Navier-Stokes equation, Euler and Stokes flow, shear and Poiseuille flow, Stokes drag, life at low Reynolds-number
  13. JK, 22.1.: Dynamics in a fluctuating environment
    diffusion versus directed transport, random walks, Langevin equation, fluctuation-dissipation theorem, Fokker-Planck and Smoluchowski equations
  14. JK, 29.1.: Polymers II
    semiflexible polymers, polyelectrolytes, polymer gels
  15. US, 5.2.: Soft matter in cell biology
    basic physical scales in cell biology, molecular transport (diffusion, directed transport by molecular motors, reaction kinetics), proteins as machines, membrane rafts and fusion, mechanical properties of cells


Last modified 28-05-2007 by Jan Kierfeld