Colloids as Big Atoms
Prof. Dr. Zexin ZHANG
Center for Soft Condensed Matter Physics and Interdisciplinary Research, Soochow University, Suzhou, China
In general, colloids can be anything from emulsions, paints, foams, gels to even biological tissues. For physicist, colloids typically refer to tiny particles (~ 1000 nm) suspended in a liquid. In addition to their wide industrial applications, colloids have increasingly been employed to model atoms, hence the idea of "colloids as big atoms", is using colloids to study condensed matter physics of crystallization, glass transition and gelation. Although this idea is proposed more than 100 years ago by Nobel laureates Einstein and Perrin, it is the latest development of experimental techniques and data analysis methods that invigorates the field of colloid physics. With modern video microscopy and particle tracking algorithm, colloids can be studied in three dimensions with great precision over large time scales, offering valuable real-space information on microscopic structures and dynamics. In this talk, to illustrate the "colloids as big atoms" idea, I will present recent work in my group studying attractive colloidal glass and crystal.
About the Speaker
Dr. Zhang is currently a professor of physics, professor of polymer science at Soochow University. He received a B. S. degree in chemistry from Jilin University in 2000, and a M. S. degree in polymer science from Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2003. From University of Bristol (UK), he received PhD degree in Physical Chemistry in 2007. Then he spent three years at University of Pennsylvania (US) as a Rhodia-LRSM Postdoctoral Fellow, working on jamming and glass transition of soft materials. He joined Soochow University as a full professor in May 2010.
Dr. Zhang’s research focuses on chemistry and physics of soft materials, such as colloids, polymers and liquid crystals. His group studies both synthetic and commercially available soft materials, with interests ranging from fundamental physics to technological applications.