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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Syllabus for

Academic year
TIF015 - Soft matter physics
Syllabus adopted 2012-02-22 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPAPP
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Not passed
Education cycle: Second-cycle
Major subject: Engineering Physics
Department: 16 - PHYSICS

Teaching language: English
Open for exchange students
Block schedule: B

Course module   Credit distribution   Examination dates
Sp1 Sp2 Sp3 Sp4 Summer course No Sp
0105 Examination 7,5c Grading: TH   7,5c   26 Oct 2012 pm V,  18 Jan 2013 pm M,  21 Aug 2013 am V

In programs

MPAPP APPLIED PHYSICS, MSC PROGR, Year 1 (compulsory elective)


Professor  Aleksandar Matic
Professor  Per Jacobsson

Course evaluation:

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For single subject courses within Chalmers programmes the same eligibility requirements apply, as to the programme(s) that the course is part of.

Course specific prerequisites

The students are expected to have knowledge on the basic level of solid-state physics or solid-state chemistry and thermodynamics, with statistical physics/statistical mechanics.


Soft condensed matter is a rapidly expanding discipline in the interface between physics, chemistry and chemical engineering, often including biophysics and biochemistry. The area encompasses materials such as glasses, colloids, polymers, gels and biological macromolecules (e.g. proteins). These materials present a vast number of fundamental and technological challenges since the materials are often disordered, fragile and with low contrast between phases and therefore difficult to treat with the standard tools, both theoretical and experimental, of traditional solid state physics.

The aim of this course is to provide a foundation for understanding and utilisation of properties and behaviour of soft matter. The course provides core competence for students aiming at either a career in science or in R&D-industry. It is also a base for more specialised courses in soft matter on the graduate level.

Learning outcomes (after completion of the course the student should be able to)

After the course the student should be able to:
define and discuss the basic concepts and physics of soft matter
explain universalities between and within subclasses of soft matter
and how they are interrelated
apply elementary models to explain phase behavior of soft matter
analyze the behavior and phenomena in soft matter systems based on energy and
entropy arguments
suggest suitable experimental tools to study a particular problem in soft matter
to read and understand advanced literature on soft matter, e.g. review articles
present a topic in soft matter in a written report of review type
pursue graduate studies on materials science or physics with a soft matter profile


The course covers structure and dynamics of soft matter, universal behaviour, scaling concepts, phase transitions and transport properties. The main covered topics:
Concepts, classification and applications of soft matter
Phase transitions and phase diagrams
Structural and dynamical properties of:
glasses and glass transition: definitions, applications, structure,
thermodynamics vs. kinetics free volume concepts,
polymers & polymer solutions: definitions, applications, real, ideal and gaussian
chains; entanglement, reptation and excluded
volume; scaling predictions
gels: definitions, applications, chemical and physical
cross-links, percolation models
colloidal systems: definitions, applications, forces, electrostatic
interactions, repulsive interactions, depletion,
phase behavior
liquid crystals: definitions, applications, phase behavior
surfactants: definitions, applications, interactions,
self assembly,
Experimental tools for soft matter


The course is based on a series of lectures. In the lectures demonstrations and problem solving are integrated. In addition to the lectures there will be seminars given by experts, both from academia and industrial R&D, in soft matter science. The course also includes a project work giving the students the opportunity for deeper studies in one of the course topics. During the course three home-work problems are handed out. Correctly solved problem give a bonus for the written exam.


- Richard A. L. Jones - Soft Condensed Matter, Oxford University Press 2002
- Extra material in the form of scientific articels, ppt-presentations and seminar slides will be available on the homepage in connection to each lecture.


There is a written exam at the end of the course. In addition written report on the project work should be handed in before the end of the course.

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.