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Methodologies: Materials

Greg van Anders

Assistant Professor, Physics

Soft condensed matter involves the understanding of substances with multiple competing interactions, and without clear separation between scales, and leading to an interesting range of phenomena that sit at the boundary of physics, chemistry, and materials science. Professor van Anders works on developing new understanding and control of soft matter, with a primary focus on colloidal systems. His prior work has introduced the concept of “shape entropy” as a universal mechanism to explain the entropy-driven ordering of a wide range of colloidal systems, and the statistical mechanics technique of “digital alchemy” for designing and controlling emergent behaviors in colloids. Professor van Anders is also interested in the use of statistical mechanics to give new insight into design problems in other contexts, such as molecules, materials, and complex systems.

The behavior of hard particles is determined by the emergence of directional entropic forces between pairs of particles. The highlighted pair of tetrahedra have been forced face-to-face to balance their entropy with the rest of the system.

The behavior of hard particles is determined by the emergence of directional entropic forces between pairs of particles. The highlighted pair of tetrahedra have been forced face-to-face to balance their entropy with the rest of the system.