2017 Physics of Soft Matter

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Academic unit or major
Graduate major in Physics
Takeuchi Kazumasa 
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Course description and aims

The course will cover (i) a general overview of soft matter and its physical properties, and (ii) introductions to physics of colloidal dispersions, polymers, liquid crystals and amphiphiles, which constitute important soft matter systems. The aim of the course is to provide basic knowledge on soft matter, through understanding of particular models as well as general viewpoints on soft matter. This will also serve as a basis for learning modern subjects in physics of glassy and complex materials, non-equilibrium physics, and biophysics.

Student learning outcomes

By completing this course, students are expected to be able to:
1) explain general features and properties of soft matter
2) describe some characteristic properties of colloidal dispersions, polymers, liquid crystals and amphiphiles, on the basis of an elementary model for each system.


soft matter, viscoelasticity, rheology, liquid solution, colloidal dispersion, polymer, liquid crystal, amphiphile

Competencies that will be developed

Intercultural skills Communication skills Specialist skills Critical thinking skills Practical and/or problem-solving skills
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Class flow

Classic blackboard lecture

Course schedule/Required learning

  Course schedule Required learning
Class 1 Introduction Describe examples of soft matter and its general features
Class 2 Viscoelasticity and rheology Describe relationship between strain and stress
Class 3 Liquid solution and colloidal dispersion Describe conditions for phase separation
Class 4 Polymer (part 1) Describe relationship between length and size of polymers
Class 5 Polymer (part 2) Describe the Flory-Huggins theory on polymer solutions
Class 6 Liquid crystal (part 1) Describe various liquid-crystal phases in terms of symmetry
Class 7 Liquid crystal (part 2) Describe elastic energy of liquid crystal
Class 8 Amphiphile Describe why micelles are formed in terms of thermodynamics


Masao Doi, Introduction to soft matter physics (Japanese), Iwanami (2010)

Reference books, course materials, etc.

Ian W. Hamley, Introduction to Soft Matter, Wiley (2000)

Assessment criteria and methods

Learning achievement is evaluated by a report.

Related courses

  • PHY.C445 : Surface Physics
  • PHY.S440 : Statistical Mechanics III

Prerequisites (i.e., required knowledge, skills, courses, etc.)

No prerequisites.

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