Statistical Mechanics of Liquids and Complex Fluids
The study of structure and dynamics of complex fluids holds the key to understanding some of the most relevant problems in chemistry, biology, and engineering. Examples of complex fluids include self-assembling molecular systems, proteins, colloids, fibers, cellular filaments, films, glasses, membranes, granular materials, but also …. ketchup and sand!
The challenge in the study of complex fluids is the fact that these are liquids where the relevant physical processes often occur over a logarithmically varying range of characteristic length and time scales. To make the matter even more challenging, phenomena occurring at different length scales can be strongly correlated leading to the complex physical behaviors observed in nature.
The tools to study and model these phenomena are Statistical Mechanics, and Spectroscopy.
The effort in the study of complex fluids is the design of new experimental techniques (Marcus) and innovative theoretical approaches (Guenza) to increase the range of time and spatial scales in which complex fluid properties can be measured and modeled.
Research at the University of Oregon in this field crosses from Physics to Chemistry to Biology and includes the study of structure, phase behavior and dynamics of systems such as membranes, macromolecules, and biological cells.