Fakultät für Physik




TVI/TMP-TE3: Introduction to Soft Condensed Matter Physics – Overview


Organization of the lecture:

  • The first lecture takes place on Friday, 17.10.2014, room A249
  • The lecture takes place on
    • Wednesday, 10:15 - 12:00,
    • Friday, 10:15 - 12:00    

      in room A249, Theresienstr. 37.
  • Credits: 4 SWS lecture + 2 SWS exercise class, 9 ECTS


Soft condensed matter constitutes a class of materials that show a complex behaviour between those of viscous fluids and elastic solids, and we encounter every day in form of food, glues, soaps, digital displays and in fact most materials of biological origin. Soft matter such us polymers, colloids, surfactants and liquid crystals is built up of subunits larger than single molecules and its overall structures are governed by the interplay of thermal energy and weak interactions. As a result, these materials display a rich and fascinating phase behaviour. They are the basis of many modern technologies and their study has already yielded new insights into condensed matter and fundamental physics in general. These lectures are intended as an introduction to soft condensed matter physics. The techniques we will use are classical mechanics, thermodynamics and statistical physics. We will emphasise the general principles underlying the macroscopic properties of soft matter, with the aim to provide students with the physical concepts necessary to understand and discuss soft matter properties in further detail.


  • Polymer physics
  • Surface forces, capillarity and wetting.
  • Self-assembly
  • Liquid crystals
  • Brownian motion, thermal fluctuations and diffusion.
  • Viscoelasticity, flow and deformation of soft matter.
  • Ionic soft matter


  • Masao Doi, Soft Matter Physics, OUP 2013.
  • R.A.L. Jones, Soft Condensed Matter, OUP 2002.
  • M. Rubenstein and R. Colby, Polymer Physics, OUP 2003.
  • P.G. de Gennes, F. Brochard-Wyart and D. Quéré, Capillarity and Wetting Phenomena, Springer 2002.
  • S.A. Safran, Statistical Thermodynamics of Surfaces, Interfaces and Membranes, Addison Wesley 1994.
  • K.W. Dill and S. Bromberg, Molecular Driving Forces, Garland Science 2003.
  • J.N. Israelachvili, Intermolecular and Surface Forces, Academic 1985.
  • P.M. Chaikin and T.C. Lubensky, Principles of Condensed Matter Physics, CUP 1995.