Kies de Nederlandse taal
Course module: 6EMA54
Physical chemistry of soft matter
Course info
Course module6EMA54
Credits (ECTS)5
Course typeGraduate School
Language of instructionEnglish
Offered byEindhoven University of Technology; Chemical Engineering and Chemistry; Materials and Interface Chemistry;
Is part of
Chemical Engineering
Contact personprof.dr. N.A.J.M. Sommerdijk
prof.dr. D.J. Broer
Other course modules lecturer
Co-lecturer J.C.M. van Hest
Other course modules lecturer
Responsible lecturer
prof.dr. N.A.J.M. Sommerdijk
Other course modules lecturer
Subject matter expert
prof.dr. N.A.J.M. Sommerdijk
Other course modules lecturer
Contactperson for the course
prof.dr. N.A.J.M. Sommerdijk
Other course modules lecturer
Academic year2017
GS3  (05/02/2018 to 22/04/2018)
Starting block
TimeslotB: B - Mo 5-8, Tu 9-10, We 1-4
Course mode
Registration openfrom 15/11/2017 up to and including 07/01/2018
Application procedureYou apply via OSIRIS Student
Registration using OSIRISYes
Registration open for students from other department(s)Yes
Waiting listNo
Number of insufficient tests-
Number of groups of preference0
Learning objectives

Aim of the course:

The course Physical Chemistry of Soft Matter builds on the principles of physical chemistry introduced in earlier courses, with specific attention to deepening the fundamental aspects underlying the structure, organization and behaviour of soft matter. The materials that will be studied include surfactants amphiphiles, liquid crystals and macromolecules, both from synthetic and biological origin. The student will deepen his/her knowledge on how the chemistry of the building blocks relates to their mutual interactions, which in turn, determine their phase behavior, structural organization and ultimately their macroscopic properties. The structure and properties of these systems will be understood, also in relation to possible applications.
The students are expected to reproduce this knowledge but also to apply this to understand and predict properties of (macro)molecules and materials in a variety of synthetic as well as biological contexts.

Contents of the course:

INTRODUCTION (Sommerdijk/Schenning)

An overview of the course contents and refreshment of required knowledge

AMPHIPHILES (Sommerdijk)

- Applications and types of amphiphiles
- Surface activity (surface tension, interfacial tension)
- Surfactant monolayers and Langmuir Blodgett films
- Adsorption at solid interfaces (wetting, contact angle Langmuir adsorption)
- Micelles (CMC, Gibbs Adsorption equation, Kraft temperature, Models,
- Detergency and solubilization in Micelles
- Interfacial curvature (capping, Gaussian curvatures, packing parameter)
- Lyotropic phases (Phase rule, phase diagrams)
- Membranes (Lamellar phases, vesicles)
- Designer amphiphiles ( p- conjugated amphiphiles, H-bonding , chirality)
- Characterization of amphiphilic assemblies (Diffraction, DSC,TEM)
- Polymer surfactants (stability, versatility)
- Templating (epitaxy, dynamics)

LIQUID CRYSTALS (Broer/Schenning)

- Types of liquid crystals (thermotropic, lyotropic systems) and molecular design
- Characterization of liquid crystals (degree of order, anisotropy, phases)
- Identification of liquid crystal phases (textures, light scattering, diffraction, spectroscopy, DSC)
- Orientational order (definitions, theory and measurements)
- Phase transitions (smectic- nematic etc, phase diagrams, frustrated smectics)
- Application of liquid crystals in displays (nematic, twisted and supertwisted nematic, TFT, ferroelectric, PDLC)
- Liquid crystal polymers


- Lipid membranes (cell membranes, rafts, fusion, instabilities)
- DNA (structure, condensation, Manning model)
- Proteins (ctructure, folding, crystallization, fibrillization)
- Biomacromolecular assemblies (viruses, microtubule)
Entrance requirements
Entrance requirements tests
Assumed previous knowledge
Polymer chemistry and organic chemistry, as taught at a BSc chemistry level. Physical chemistry as taught in Polymers and Colloids at MSc level.
Previous knowledge can be gained by
Resources for self study
Secretariaat SMG, Tel: 2770, Kamer: STO 2.34
Required materials
Recommended materials
Lecture slides and papers available from the TU/e library, will be made available on OASE
Instructional modes



This course combines different learning methods, being: lectures and project assignments (in small groups of max. 4 students)

Written examination
Test weight100
Minimum grade-
Test typeFinal examination
Number of opportunities2
OpportunitiesBlock GS3, Block GS4
Test duration in minutes180

The examination of this course consists of one final exam (100%) Intermediate tests will be held during the course to prepare the students for the exam and to test their progress, but will not contribute to the final mark.


Kies de Nederlandse taal