Welcome to the Soft Matter Theory group, part of the Physics and Materials Science research unit at the Université du Luxembourg. The head of the group is professor Tanja Schilling.
Soft matter theory is about understanding the everyday materials that make up our world: polymers, colloids, pastes and complex fluids such as blood or yoghurt. The behaviour of these materials is often very surprising - think of water freezing to make a solid with a lower density than the liquid, or a swimming pool full of corn-starch solution that you can either swim through or run over.
If you are interested in doing your Bachelor/Master/PhD thesis with us, you are welcome to apply! Please send your application to Tanja.
The classic example of a rare event is nucleation, such as the formation of a raindrop from water vapour - this happens every day, but it is rare on the timescale of motion of the water molecules.
You can read about our method for calculating rare-event pathways off-equilibrium on wikipedia, or you can download some example code here.
A `hard ellipsoid' fluid is completely characterized by the fixed aspect ratio of the particles of which it is made. Even at aspect ratios close to unity (near-spherical particles), packing fractions exist where the over-compressed fluid enters a glassy state. Because dynamics are arrested in the glassy regime, certain commonly made assumptions from classical statistical physics can fail, and new types of behaviour are seen.
We employ event-driven molecular dynamics simulation, accelerated using our own novel rare-event techniques, to probe behaviour in the glassy regime.
Nucleation rates can vary greatly with different boundary conditions. The influence of a solid wall on nucleation within the fluid is shown here. The wall is characterized by its lattice constant a; very distinct nucleation regimes exist as a function of a .
You can read about our latest heterogenous nucleation work (here)
The DFG priority program SFB Tr6
The DFG priority program SPP 1296
The EU network of excellence SoftComp
The Luxembourgish national research agency Fonds National de la Recherche Luxembourg