FY8203 - Soft Condensed Matter


Lessons are not given in the academic year 2024/2025

Examination arrangement

Examination arrangement: Home examination
Grade: Passed / Not Passed

Evaluation Weighting Duration Grade deviation Examination aids
Home examination 100/100 2 days A

Course content

The course is given every other year, next time spring 2026.

The physics of soft matter involves matter that is easily deformable by external fields such as applied stresses or mechanical confinement, by electric or magnetic fields, or simply by thermal fluctuations,

The "level of description" for soft and complex materials (in this context, "material" is a sub-area of the more general term "matter") 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 or geological scale.

Soft matter science also includes so-called active matter, which involves cooperative flocking or swarming of "active particles", that can be entities (individuals) "living" at the nano-scale (e.g. virus), at the micro-scale (e.g. bacteria), or at the macro-scale (e.g. birds or fish). One overall goal of research into the growing field of soft matter science is thus to probe and understand the relationship between individual scale and cooperative scale physics.

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 problems related to energy technology cosmetics, household products, agriculture, food, design of nano-structured materials or surfaces, biological systems and materials, etc.

Themes of focus in the course are decided before semester start and depends on for example the scientific areas of interest for participating students, and which international experts are available for guest lectures one given semester.

The following general and popularized literature may be recommended as background:

0) wikipedia



Learning outcome

The student is expected to obtain a theoretical understanding of the physics of soft and complex 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, such as microscopy, scattering techniques (light, X-ray, neutron), rheometry, microfluidics, nanofluidics and "special purpose table-top" experiments. Numerical examples are part of the course.

Learning methods and activities

Guided self study, lectures given by the course professors and by invited international experts, colloquia given by students, groupwork that can be laboratory based, written home exam.

In certain semesters a remote PhD School such as the Geilo PhD Schools may be part of the lectures.

Compulsory assignments

  • Oblig report

Further on evaluation

The final grade is based on a final home exam, written exam, passed or not passed. In order to take the exam an obligatory written report must be handed in and approved.

Retake of examination may be given as an oral examination.

Specific conditions

Admission to a programme of study is required:
Biophysics (PHBIFY)
Physics (PHFY)

Course materials

The course material will be decided before semester start, and will in addition to recently published scientific papers, be collected mainly from:

Essentials of Soft Matter Science, Francoise Brochard-Wyart, Pierre Nassoy, Pierre-Henri Puech, CRC Press, 2019

Capillarity and wetting phenomena : drops, bubbles, pearls, waves., David Quéré, Pierre-Gilles de Gennes; Françoise Brochard-Wyart; New York, NY: Springer 2010

Introduction to Microfluidics, Patrick Tabeling, Oxford University Press

Condensed Matter Physics, Crystals, Liquids, Liquid Crystals, and Polymers, Gert R. Strobl, Springer 2004

Supported by literature such as:

Soft Matter Physics, Masao Doi, Oxford University Press 2014

Nanofluidics and Microfluidics, Shaurya Prakash and Junghoon Yeom, William Andrew, 2014

Fundamentals of Soft Matter Science, Linda S. Hirst, CRC Press 2012

Structured Fluids: Polymers, Colloids, Surfactants, Thomas A. Witten, Oxford University Press, 2004

Credit reductions

Course code Reduction From To
TFY4203 7.5 AUTUMN 2022
More on the course



Version: 1
Credits:  7.5 SP
Study level: Doctoral degree level



Language of instruction: English, Norwegian

Location: Trondheim

Subject area(s)
  • Materials Science and Engineering
  • Energy- and Environmental Physics
  • Polymer Physics
  • Thermodynamics
  • Materials Science and Solid State Physics
  • Biophysics
  • Petroleum Engineering
  • Applied Mechanics - Fluid Mechanics
  • Solid State Physics
  • Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Chemistry and processing
Contact information

Department with academic responsibility
Department of Physics


Examination arrangement: Home examination

Term Status code Evaluation Weighting Examination aids Date Time Examination system Room *
Autumn UTS Home examination 100/100 A INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
Spring ORD Home examination 100/100 A INSPERA
Room Building Number of candidates
  • * 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.

For more information regarding registration for examination and examination procedures, see "Innsida - Exams"

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