The goal of our group is to understand the physics involved in the key points of Soft Matter in order to control nanostructuration in three (volume) and two (surface) dimensions of Soft Materials and their applications in several fields like, to cite a few examples, (nano) electronics and opto-electronics, environment responsive (nano) materials and life sciences....
There are three key aspects that make Soft Matter to be different from other systems:
Structurally: The relevance of length scales between those defined by the atomic and the macroscopic scale. In a simple fluid, for example, mobile molecules may freely exchange their positions, so that their new positions are permutations of their old ones. By contrast, in a complex fluid large groups of molecules may be interconnected so that the permutation freedom within the group is lost while the permutation between the groups is possible. In this case the dominant characteristic length, which may define the properties of the system, is not the molecular size but that of the groups.
Dynamically: The importance of molecular fluctuations and Brownian motion produce new kinds of organized motion in Soft Matter. In complex fluids the thermal fluctuations, which dominate the fluid state, coexist with the stringent constraints impose by the molecular interactions, characteristic of the solid state. The dynamics of a complex fluids, which is related to important macroscopic physical properties such as the viscosity, is not exclusively related to the molecular motions but also to the dynamics of larger macromolecular groups.
Structure-Dynamics relationship: A central aspect of Soft Matter is self-organization characterized by the spontaneous creation of regular structures, which may posses a certain hierarchy, at different length scales that control the dynamics of the system .
A special section on Application of Synchrotron Radiation in Polymer Science has been published in Volume 81 of European Polymer Journal. The Guest Editors of this issue are Mari Cruz García, Aurora Nogales and Tiberio Ezquerra.