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Applied Physics 225 : Introduction to Soft Matter.

Catalog Number: 5298

Ian D. Morrison

Half course (fall term). M., W., 2:30–4. EXAM GROUP: 7, 8

Maxwell Dworkin G135

Introduction to soft condensed matter, or “complex fluids,” including polymers, surfactants, emulsions, foams, and biological structures. Emphasis is on physical principles that govern bulk behavior. Students will understand the concepts, experimental techniques, and open questions. Prerequisite: Knowledge of thermodynamics and basic statistical mechanics and some familiarity with phase diagrams and differential equations.

Applied Physics 226 : Introduction to Soft Matter - Capillarity and Wetting

Harvard College/GSAS: 5796 Spring 2008-2009

Ian D. Morrison

Meeting times: M., W., 2:30-4 and (tentatively) 4:00-5:30

Maxwell Dworkin 319

This introductory course considers phenomena strongly influenced by surface tensions, high curvatures, thin films, diffusion, adsorption, or wetting, which are variously mobile, dynamic, polymeric, transient, or fragile. Emphasis is on the physics, thermodynamics, rheological and scaling laws that govern bulk behavior.


  • Textbooks for AP225 are:
    • Soft condensed matter by R.A.L. Jones; Oxford University Press: New York; 2002
    • Structured fluids: Polymers, colloids, surfactants by T. A. Witten (with P. A. Pincus); Oxford University Press: New York; 2004
  • Textbooks for AP226 are:
    • Capillarity and wetting phenomena by P.-G. de Gennes, F. Brochard-Wyatt and D. Quéré.
    • Theory of stability of colloids and thin films by B.V. Derjaguin.

Office Hours

Ian Morrison-- Pierce 402

Mondays: 6:30 - 8:30 pm

Wednesdays: 7:00 - 9:00 pm

SEAS Faculty - Selected publications

Joanna Aizenberg

Michael Brenner

Philippe Cluzel

Jene Golovchenko

L. Mahadevan

Vinny Manoharan

Daniel Needleman

David Nelson

Peter Pershan

Sharad Ramanathan

Frans Spaepen

Howard Stone

David Weitz

George Whitesides

And others

Weekly wiki entries for AP225

Schedule Topic
Week 1 General Introduction
Week 2 Surface Forces
Weeks 3-4 Capillarity and wetting
Weeks 5-6 Polymers and polymer solutions
Week 7 Surfactants
Week 8 Phases and Phase Diagrams
Week 9 Charged interfaces
Week 10 Thin "soft" films and colloidal stability
Week 11 Viscosity, elasticity, and viscoelasticity
Week 12 Emulsions and foams
Week 13 Soft matter - Course review

Final Wiki Entries for AP225

Tom Alimsijah Joe Martel Michael Petralia
Nefeli Georgoulia Lidiya Mishchenko Julia Rasmussen
Dahlia Goldfeld Alex Nemiroski Raji Shankar
Clinton Hansen Nan Niu Naveen Sinha
Nick Hutzler Brandy Pappas David Vader
SeungYeon Kang Amanda Peters Ilija Zeljkovic

Weekly Wiki Entries for AP226

Tom Alimsijah Sung Hoon Kang Tony Orth
Donald Aubrecht Tom Kodger Naveen Sinha
Alexander Epstein Sorell Massenburg Scott Tsai
Nefeli Georgoulia Lidiya Mishchenko Zach Wissner-Gross

Stubs - Questions/Information to be entered

What is surface modification by oxygen plasma?

What is surface modification by silanes?

What is the surface chemistry of silica?

Why is glass hydrophillic?

Why do silanols attract water?

What is piranah cleaning?

Computational Methods

Profile of a large drop

Special Interest Topics