Prof. An-Chang Shi Taught an Excellent Short Course on “Phase Transition Theory and Soft Matter”

At the invitation of AISMST, Prof. An-Chang Shi from McMaster University visited us from December 9 to 13. In a short course titled “Phase Transition Theory and Soft Matter”, Prof. Shi introduced to our students and faculty a broad range of soft matter systems and how thermodynamics and statistical mechanics can be used to understand various interesting phase transition phenomena occurred in these systems.  

 Prof. An-Chang Shi from McMaster University

“Soft matter includes a wide variety of materials, such as polymers, colloids, liquid crystals and biological materials. Soft matter phase transition and condensed matter physics is an important and very active research area”. During the three-day course from December 11 to 13, Prof. Shi introduced the statistical mechanical basis for different phase transition theories and their application in soft matter systems. 

Audience attending the course

Detailed contents of the course include: introduction of soft matter (common features, phases and phase transitions), review of thermodynamics and statistical mechanics (theoretical basis of phase transitions, ideal gas, Van der Waal theory, fluctuation-dissipation theorem, scattering functions), simple model of phase transition (Ising model and lattice gas model), Landau theory of phase transition (order parameter and Landau free energy functional, 2nd & 1st order phase transitions, multi-critical points, modulated phases), physics of phase separation (lattice model & mean-field theory for binary mixture, phase separation of polymer blends: critical point, binodal and spinodal), kinetics of first order phase transition (stable and metastable phases, nucleation and growth), and polymer-polymer phase behavior (polymers and their phases, self-assembly of block copolymers, self-consistent field theory). 

Discussion in the course

Prof. An-Chang Shi is a world-renowned soft matter theorist. His research interests include theory of phases and phase transition of soft matter, self-assembly and morphology of block copolymers, statistical mechanics of conformation of macromolecules, and theory of bilayer membranes. He has published over 200 papers (>7000 citations) in peer-reviewed journals including PNAS, PRL, JACS, and given more than 50 invited talks in international conferences. He was elected as a Fellow of the American Physical Society in 2010.

On December 10, Prof. Shi also attended the SCUT-PKU joint symposium held at AISMST and had a fruitful discussion with soft matter scholars from both universities.

Source from South China Advanced Institute for Soft Matter Science and Technology

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