Controlled structural formation of soft matter

Date :From 2015-08-03 To 2015-08-28
Advisory committee :
Local coordinators :Masao Doi (Beihang Univ), Wenbing Hu (Nanjing Univ), YantingWang (ITP), Dadong Yan (Beijing Normal Univ.), Fangfu Ye (IOP), Xingkun Man (Beihang Univ.), Yong Cheng (Beihang Univ.), Ying Jiang (Beihang Univ.)
International coordinators :David Andelman (Tel Aviv University), Kurt Kremer (MPI Polymer, Mainz) Tom Russell (University of Massachusetts), David Weitz (Harvard University) Daan Frenkel (Cambridge University, UK), Ou-Yang Zhong-can (ITP, CAS)
Soft matter, e.g., polymers, liquid crystals, biological membranes and colloids, shows ordered microscopic and nanoscopic structures as they are brought through phase transitions and transformations such as phase separation, crystallization, order-disorder transition, gelation, and glass transition. Initially, the nuclei of the ordered structures are not perfect, for example, an embryo of colloid crystal has translational and rotational degrees of freedom. Without controlling these degrees of freedom, the final structure will have many defects and misalignments. A conventional way of getting a mono-domain crystal is to use external fields that break the symmetry in space, for example by introducing a boundary, a field gradient (in temperature, chemical potential, gravity, etc.) or coupled external fields (E-field, H-field, flow). Similar practical problems also exist in manufacturing large-scale ordered structure of block polymers.
 
Chemists and engineers have developed various techniques to generate functional materials by applying external fields that are thermodynamic, chemical, gravitational or electromagnetic in nature, or by using patterned substrates. With these techniques, they have produced various materials with controlled micro/nano structures. However, to date, the dynamics involved in such structure formation have rarely been studied by physical modelling and experiments. Such studies can shed light on the development of micro/nano structured materials, and will greatly contribute to the advancement of science and technology in this area.
 
The objective of this workshop to delineate the state-of-the-art in the structural- formation processes of soft matter subjected to external fields. This will be achieved via a series of seminars to be delivered by leading scientists in theoretical and experimental soft matter physics, chemistry, materials science and engineering, and by allowing ample of time for thorough discussions between the participants. We would like to offer a forum for sharing the knowledge and understanding of key issues in current material (and process) development by assessing the state of the field and explore fruitful avenues to accelerate future developments. We would also like to germinate discussions on the relation between the structural and physical properties of final industrial products.
 
More specifically, we would like to propose scientific discussions on the following topics:
I. Effects of field gradients on self-assembling structures in equilibrium and non-equilibrium states. As examples, we mention directed self- assembling of block-polymers, fabrication of mono-domain colloidal crystals and structural control in liquid crystals.
II. Phase transition dynamics that involve solidification or gelation.
Structural evolution of dynamically asymmetric systems, formation of porous or fibrous structures in polymeric materials, kinetics of gelation, and more.
III. Fundamental theory for the structural evolution of soft matter. Topics include the flow and deformation of soft matter under field gradients, wetting and de-wetting kinetics, and motion induced by chemical potential gradients.
A special issue is planned to be published in European Physical Journal E (Soft Matter), and will focus on the topics planned for the workshop. Participants will be encouraged to submit their relevant work in this issue.