Soft Matter are materials that can be easily deformed by external stresses, electric or magnetic fields, or by thermal fluctuations. These materials have structures much larger than atomic or molecular scale. The amazing properties of soft materials come from their a ‘subtle balance’ between energy and entropy which leads to rich phase behavior and spontaneous (and often surprising) complexity. They are considered ‘structured fluids’ because they have the local mobility of liquids, but their constituents are polyatomic structures.
Biology studies life in its variety and complexity. It describes how organisms go about getting food, communicating, sensing the environment, and reproducing. On the other hand, physics looks for mathematical laws of nature and makes detailed predictions about the forces that drive idealized systems. Spanning the distance between the complexity of life and the simplicity of physical laws is the challenge of biophysics. Looking for the patterns in life and analyzing them with math and physics is a powerful way to gain insights. Accodingly, biophysicists study life at every level, from atoms and molecules to cells, organisms, and environments. As innovations come out of physics and biology labs, biophysicists find new areas to explore where they can apply their expertise, create new tools, and learn new things.
In particular, we investigate in two concrete fields of Soft Matter and Biophysics: