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Graduate courses

Departments' graduate courses for PhD-students.


Syllabus for

Academic year
TIF015 - Soft matter physics
Syllabus adopted 2014-02-25 by Head of Programme (or corresponding)
Owner: MPAPP
7,5 Credits
Grading: TH - Five, Four, Three, Fail
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 7,5 c Grading: TH   7,5 c   23 Oct 2017 am SB,  21 Dec 2017 am SB

In programs



Professor  Aleksandar Matic

  Go to Course Homepage


In order to be eligible for a second cycle course the applicant needs to fulfil the general and specific entry requirements of the programme that owns the course. (If the second cycle course is owned by a first cycle programme, second cycle entry requirements apply.)
Exemption from the eligibility requirement: Applicants enrolled in a programme at Chalmers where the course is included in the study programme are exempted from fulfilling these requirements.

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)

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,

pursue graduate studies on materials science or physics with a soft matter profile


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,relaxations
polymers & polymer solutions: definitions, applications, real, ideal and gaussian chains; entanglement, reptation, excluded volume, and polymers on surfaces; 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. During the course three home-work problems are handed out. Correctly solved problem give a bonus for the written exam.


Introduction to Soft Matter: Synthetic and Biological Self-Assembling Materials, Revised Edition Ian W. Hamley ( John Wiley & Sons, ISBN: 978-0-470-51609-6

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.

Page manager Published: Thu 04 Feb 2021.