FY8203 - Soft Condensed Matter


Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Home examination
Grade: Passed/Failed

Evaluation form Weighting Duration Examination aids Grade deviation
Home examination 100/100 A

Course content

The course is given every other year, next time spring 2014. The physics of soft condensed matter involves materials that are easily deformable by externally applied stresses, by electric or magnetic fields, or simply by thermal fluctuations, The “level of description” for such complex materials typically starts at the nano scale, i.e. at scales much larger than atomic or molecular scales, and the structure and dynamics at the nano scale determine macroscopic physical properties at the human scale. One overall goal of research into this growing field of science is thus to probe and understand the relationship between nano scale and macro scale physics. The materials under study include both natural, synthetic and biological materials, and the broad range of research interests range from fundamental physics to technological applications, from basic materials questions to specific biological problems.
The following general and popularized literature may be recommended as background:
1) http://folk.ntnu.no/fossumj
2) The webpages of the “Experimental Soft Condensed Matter Group” at the Division of Engineering&Department of Physics, Harvard University, Cambridge, MA, USA: http://www.deas.harvard.edu/projects/weitzlab/ (Part of the text above was copied from these pages)
3) Chapter on "Soft and Complex Matter" in the report from Committee on CMMP 2010, Solid State Sciences, National Research Council, USA, Condensed-Matter and Materials Physics (CMMP): The Science of the World Around Us: http://www.nap.edu/catalog.php?record_id=11967 .
4) A Radio talk: “Physical Phenomena in Clays”: given at The National Norwegian Broadcasting NRK P2 Akademiet February 2nd 2000, by Jon Otto Fossum (published in the P2 Akademiet Book series 2001 ISBN 82-7118-276-5): See http://www.phys.ntnu.no/~fossumj/P2Akademiet/index.htm.

Learning outcome

The student is expected to obtain a theoretical understanding of the physics of soft condensed matter, from nanoparticles and interactions on the nanoscale to soft materials dynamics and stability on the macro scale. Further, obtain a theoretical and partly practical insight into parts of some experimental techniques that are relevant for studies of soft material physics, like for example Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM), scattering techniques and rheology.

Learning methods and activities

Guided self study, lectures given by students, mid-term test, one laboratory exercise, one project, written home exam.

Compulsory assignments

  • Study groups by students

Specific conditions

Exam registration requires that class registration is approved in the same semester, or that compulsory activities are approved in a previous semester.

Recommended previous knowledge

TFY4220 Solid state physics, TFY4245 Solid state physics, advanced course.

Required previous knowledge


Course materials

The course material will be decided later, but will for example be collected from:
"Intermolecular and Surface Forces: With Applications to Colloidal and Biological Systems" J. Israelachvili, 2nd ed. Academic Press 1992
”Soft Matter Physics: An Introduction” M. Kleman and O.D. Lavrentovich, Springer Verlag 2003
”Soft Condensed Matter”, R.A.L. Jones, Oxford University Press Inc. 2002
”Introduction to Soft Matter: Polymers, Colloids, Amphiphiles and Liquid Crystals” I.W. Hamley, John Wiley & Sons, Inc. 2000
”Sands, Powders and Grains: An Introduction to the Physics of Granular Materials”, J. Duran, Springer Verlag 2000
”The Structure and Rheology of Complex Fluids” Ronald G. Larson, Oxford University Press 1999
"Introduction to Nanotechnology", C.P. Poole Jr., and F.J. Owens, John Wiley&Sons Inc. 2003
”Travels to the Nanoworld: Miniature Machinery in Nature and Technology”, M. Gross, Plenum Trade 1999
”Nanotechnology, Basic Science and Emerging Technologies”, M. Wilson, K. Kannangara, M. Simmons, B. Raguse, Chapman&Hall 2002
”Made to Measure: New Materials for the 21st Century”, P. Ball, Princeton University Press 1997



Examination arrangement: Home examination

Term Evaluation form Weighting Examination aids Date Time Room *
Spring Home examination 100/100 A
* The location (room) for a written examination is published 3 days before examination date.
If more than one room is listed, you will find your room at Studentweb.