Details of PH4209 (Spring 2017)

Level: 4 Type: Theory Credits: 3.0

Course CodeCourse NameInstructor(s)
PH4209 Soft Condensed Matter Physics Arindam Kundagrami

This is an introductory course on the physics of soft matters. This course is aimed at the 1st year graduate students (level 4). This course is suitable for 1st/2nd year IPhD and 4th/5th year BS-MS students. Ideally their should be a higher level course on the same topic for interested students who will continue their research in the field of soft matters.


  • Introduction to soft matter

    Concepts of broken symmetry, rigidity, long-wavelength fluctuations, order parameters, topological defects

  • Review of basic Thermodynamics and Statistical Physics

    Basics of First and Second laws of Thermodynamics, homogeneous functions, densities of thermodynamics variables and their relations, basics of Microcanonical, Canonical, and Grandcanonical ensembles

  • Phase transitions: Basics and simple models

    Concepts, Bragg-Williams theory or Ising spins, liquid-gas transition, Landau theory for homogeneous order parameter, I-st and II-nd order transitions

  • Structure of soft matter systems

    Structure factor, density correlation functions, applications to liquid crystals, periodic objects, surfactants, fractals, polymers

  • Introducing candidate soft matter systems: Interactions and Free energies

    Forces and energies in colloids, polymers, liquid crystals, membranes

  • Phase transitions in soft matter systems

    Colloidal phase transitions, coil-globule transition in polymers - single chain and solutions, isotropic-nematic transition in liquid crystals

  • Elasticity in soft matter systems

    Classical theory, stress tensor, generalized elasticity, elastic free energies for nematics, smectics, membranes, rubber elasticity in polymers

  • Hydrodynamics and its application to soft matter

    Basic of hyrdrodynamics

  • Advanced properties

    Viscoelasticity, Rheology, Topological defects

Basic Statistical Mechanics, Intermediate Classical Mechanics, Intermediate Quantum Mechanics


  1. P. M. Chaikin, T. C. Lubensky, Principles of Condensed Matter Physics, Cambridge University Press; Reprint edition (October 9, 2000).
  2. Maurice Kleman, Oleg D. Laverntovich, Soft Matter Physics: An Introduction (Partially Ordered Systems), Springer; 2003 edition (October 7, 2002).

Course Credit Options

Sl. No.ProgrammeSemester NoCourse Choice
1 IP 2 Elective
2 IP 4 Elective
3 IP 6 Not Allowed
4 MR 2 Elective
5 MR 4 Not Allowed
6 MS 8 Elective
7 RS 1 Elective
8 RS 2 Elective