Informations Contextuelles


In order to illustrate the team’s research, we selected some highlights.

The group is active in the diffusion of knowledge through a number of independent routes.

    • Firstly, at the most local level several CNRS researchers are active in the teaching of students at ESPCI.
    • E. Raphael organizes a remarkable series of external colloquia “Les Chantiers du Savoir” which bring in the highest-level presentations for students and staff members at ESPCI.
    • Many members of the French academy of Sciences are thus introduced to the ESPCI through this event.
    • T. Salez et S. Rogue organize a yearly Soft Matter retreat for all members of ESPCI.
    • Beyond this, members of the group are also involved in organizing schools and workshops on a regular basis.

Click here for more information on other activities

Selected production

Non-equilibrium statistical physics and biophysics

In recent years, we have witnessed an impressive accumulation of fundamental developments in nonequilibrium statistical physics, which have deepened our understanding of fluctuations. We now know how to quantify whether fluctuations are rare or not, what is their information content and their deep link to thermodynamics. On a more applied level, the need to extract relevant information from non-equilibrium fluctuations becomes particularly important for applications to Biology. Our laboratory has made important contributions on these topics during the period 2012-2017.

Polymers at interfaces

Complex fluids at interfaces are a modern research field continuously raising fundamental and applied questions. It is characterized by soft, liquid or amorphous-solid objects whose typical size becomes comparable to the one of their inner constituents (molecules, colloids, etc.), or whose surface effects dominate the volume ones. At this submicrometric scale, material structure and dynamics are expected to change drastically with respect to their bulk counterparts.

Fig 1 : The free interface of a glassy film truncates a string-like cooperative motion (red), with respect to a bulk motion (blue). Artwork by Etienne Raphaël.

Algorithms and simulations

The exploration of condensed matter systems is more and more often approached through numerical methods.
An important part of our reflection is turned towards the development of new methods. These methods can either improve, substantially, the efficiency of existing codes (Anthony Maggs, Coulomb interactions through constrained
algorithms) or allow one to pull out material properties from new experimental techniques (Michael Schindler, Anthony Maggs, confocal microscopy). A final, important realization of this axis is the development with Olivier Dauchot of algorithms and models for the study of self-propelled particles. Over the previous five years this has formed the strongest axis linking the theory group to the experimentalists in Gulliver.

Fig 2 : Visualisation of the effective interaction matrix between moving hard disks, arranged in a hexagonal crystal. The position indicates the position of the neighbor with respect to the center particle, the color code shows sign and logarithm of various matrix elements and symmetry aspects of the matrishows sign and logarithm of various matrix elements and symmetry aspects of the matrix. Taken from : Michael Schindler and A. C. Maggs The range and nature of effective interactions in hard-sphere solids Soft Matter 12 (2016) 2612

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