Geometric Routes to Soft Assembly and Dynamics
IRG Leaders: Kathleen Stebe & Randall D. Kamien
Senior Investigators; Tobias Baumgart, Peter Collings, Dennis E. Discher, Tom C. Lubensky, Ravi Radhakrishnan, Shu Yang, Arjun Yodh
Soft matter conforms, assembles, and reconfigures in response to the geometry and chemistry of bounding surfaces and interfaces. IRG-1 aims to harness these effects to create new responsive materials and structures using complex fluids, embedded particles, micro-patterned substrates, and confining volumes. The substrates and particles will be designed with topographies, geometries, and surface chemistries selected to impose constraints on complex fluids, including wetting conditions to three-phase contact lines, anchoring conditions to liquid-crystal director fields, and curvature gradients to fluid interfaces & lipid bilayers. In this way fuller understanding of how such factors affect physical properties of soft materials will be developed, and this understanding will be used to create new materials with distinctive, dynamically reconfigurable structures and to develop design rules for controlling positions, orientations, and migration of "particles" on and within these structures.