Soft Matter and Complex Fluids

Systems whose physical and mechanical properties are comparable to thermal energy at room temperature and thus easily deformed by thermal forces are considered soft materials. Examples include polymers, colloids, foams, or droplets in the form of suspensions, liquid crystals, gels, and glasses. Complex fluids refer to the subset of multi-component soft materials that can flow, but display non-Newtonian rheology. Lipid membranes, cytoskeletal protein gels, cell suspensions, and many other biological systems fit this description. Soft matter and complex fluids are ubiquitous in nature and have a number of important industrial applications.

Research groups at Yale in soft matter and complex fluids are exploring colloidal and interfacial phenomena (Dufresne, Elimelech, Loewenberg, Rosner, Vanderlick, Van Tassel), physics of synthetic and biological macromolecules (O’Hern, Osuji, Van Tassel, Wilson), jamming and slow dynamics of glasses, gels, and granular materials (Dufresne, O’Hern), the development of novel microfluidic biosensors (Dufresne, Loewenberg, Osuji, Van Tassel), self-assembly of new soft materials for biomedical applications (Osuji, Van Tassel), and turbulent flow of complex fluids (Ouellette).

Research activities include transport phenomena, colloids, emulsions, foams, biocolloids, particle aggregation kinetics, membrane separations, drop microphysics, phase behavior, photon-correlation spectroscopy, polymer physics, self-assembly, microfluidics, rheology, colloidal gelation, jamming, granular materials, protein folding, lipid membranes, surface forces, protein adsorption, biomaterial interactions, biomimetic materials, biosensing, aerosols, biomolecular recognition, layer-by-layer assembly.

Faculty involved with research:

Eric Dufresne
– ME & MSE
– ChE & EnvE
– Physics
– Cell Biology

Menachem Elimelech
– ChE & EnvE

Thierry Emonet
– MCDB

Abbas Firoozabadi
– ChE & EnvE

Michael Loewenberg
– ChE & EnvE

Simon Mochrie
– Applied Physics
– Physics

Corey O’Hern
– ME & MSE
– Physics

Chinedum Osuji
– ChE & EnvE

Nicholas T. Ouellette
– ME & MSE

Lynne Regan
– MBB
– Chemistry

Elizabeth Rhoades
– MBB
– Physics

Daniel Rosner
– ChE & EnvE

Paul Van Tassel
– ChE & EnvE

T. Kyle Vanderlick
– ChE & EnvE

Corey Wilson
– ChE & EnvE