Oak Ridge National Laboratory

Physics Division

Physics Division Seminars

Physics Division Seminars bring us speakers on a variety of physics related subjects. Usually these are held in the Building 6008 large Conference Room, at 3:00 pm on the chosen day, but times and locations may vary. For more information, contact our seminar chairman,

Alfredo Galindo-Uribarri
Tel (Office): (865) 574-6124  (FAX): (865) 574-1268


Thu., March 10, 2016, at 11:00 AM - 12:00PM (refreshments served at 10:40 AM)

Soft Matter is Hard but Ripe with Opportunities

Bobby G. Sumpter, Center for Nanophase Materials Sciences and Computer Science and Mathematics Division, ORNL
Physics Division, Bldg. 6008 Large Conference Room

Soft matter is a class of materials that is referred to as “soft” because their structure is typically easily deformed by temperature, composition, external stimuli or other associated variables. These materials span numerous technologically important systems including liquid, colloid, foam, gel, biomolecular, polymer, and granular materials. Due to the vast chemical diversity touted with compositions based on earth abundant elements and the ability for large-scale production, many of these systems can offer attractive, cost-effective alternatives to traditional materials. However, soft matter in general poses many new challenges that task our current theoretical and experimental capabilities. For example, most soft materials are disordered, so the typical tools of solid-state physics cannot be easily applied. They may also be far from equilibrium, so they cannot be easily understood using standard statistical mechanics. And finally, they are highly correlated many-¬body systems, with complex structures, dynamics and transport processes spanning a wide range of length and time scales. Unraveling the underlying multiscale physicochemical processes that control the morphologies and macroscopic physical, mechanical, electrical, and transport properties therefore requires an integrated approach where theory, modeling and simulation works in concert with precision synthesis, advanced experimental characterization and device measurements. This is the approach we use in pursuit of understanding how to design and control the nanoscale organization of macromolecular nanomaterials and their nanocomposites in order to achieve improved structure, properties, and functionality. In this talk results will be discussed that highlight recent progress for polymer-based materials targeting applications for energy storage, energy conversion and lightweight structural materials.

Contact: Alfredo Galindo-Uribarri, (865) 574-6124