Phase Transitions in Active Matter

Time: Tue 9 20 am; Location: TUD, Zellescher Weg 17, room BZW/A120/P


Ever wondered why oil droplets in pastis emerge and then grow in size clouding the liquid? Why a rubber band wrinkles as getting stretched? Or, a seemingly unorganised bunch of fish suddenly self-organizes as coherently moving flock? All these sudden changes in the physical state of the system fall into the class of instabilities and phase transitions. Their occurrence typically causes a severe change in the physical properties of the system, such as the propensity to flow, deform and conduct momentum. The dynamics of a phase transition may lead to fascinating, spatially inhomogeneous patterns including swirling and swarming flocks, demixed phases and periodically deformed solid-like materials (and many more). In this lecture we discuss many examples of systems which undergo a phase transition or an instability, in turn triggering the development of patterns. The examples are picked from soft matter and biophysics. Along the way we discuss the necessary theoretical concepts from non-linear dynamics, bifurcation theory, statistical mechanics and non-equilibrium thermodynamics.

There will be plenty of interactive opportunities to discuss the content of the lecture and the problem sets. The solutions of weekly appearing problem sets will fit on one page. Instead of a written exam, students may select or suggest a lecture-related topic about which the student should give a talk at the end of the semester. The talk will be complemented by a discussion about the lecture.

More information see: https://trello.com/b/JjWk05um

Courses and lectures given in the past

Winter term 2019 Lecturing for the EMBO course "Methods for studying phase separation in biology" at CBG/CSBD Dresden
Summer term 2018 Lecturing of the class "Pattern formation in soft matter and biophysics" at MPIPKS/TUD
Winter term 2017 Organization and lecturing of the class "Instabilities and Patterns in Soft Matter and Biophysics" at Harvard University
Jun 2017 - Aug 2017Supervision of two student in the framework of the REU (Research Experiences for Undergrates, NSF)  at Harvard University
Nov 2015Project Supervision in the DIPP Predoc Course - Practicals 2015
Nov 2014 Project Supervision in the DIPP Predoc Course - Practicals 2014
Nov 2013Project Supervision in the DIPP Predoc Course - Practicals 2013
May 2012 - Jun 2012Substituting Prof. Erwin Frey for the lecture part "Kinetic Theory" of the Advanced Statistical Mechanics course
Summer term 2012Organization of tutoring classes of the Advanced Statistical Mechanics  (Prof. Frey)
Summer term 2011Organization and design of a Reading Course Theoretical Biological Hyodrodynamics
Dec 2010  - Apr 2011Organization and design of a seminar on Hydrodynamics
Summer term 2010Organization and lecturing of tutoring classes of the Non-linear Dynamics & Pattern formation (Prof. Frey)
Winter term 2009Tutoring classes of the Statistical Physics (Prof. Frey)
Summer term 2009utoring classes of the Introduction to theoretical Biophysics (Prof. Gerland)
Winter term 2008Tutoring classes of the Statistical Physics (Prof. Frey)
Winter term 2007Tutoring classes of the Mathematics 3 (Prof. Winkler)
Summer term 2007Tutoring classes of the Electrodynamics (Prof. Frey)
Winter term 2006Tutoring classes of the Mathematics 1 (Prof. Winkler)
Summer term 2006Tutoring classes of the Analysis 1 (Prof. Donder)
Winter term 2005Tutoring classes of the Linear Algebra (Prof. Dürr)



PHD candidates

Jun 2016   - present         David C. Fronk (Harvard University, Cambridge)

Oct 2016   - present         Siheng Chen (Harvard University, Cambridge)

Mar 2015  - present          Omar Adame (Max-Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden): 

Dec 2013  - present          Wolfram Pönisch (Max-Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden)

Sept 2013 - present          Samuel Krüger (Max-Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems, Dresden)


Mar 2014 - Dec 2015          Felix Maria Kempf (Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich):  Defects in a Flocking Model at High Density

Nov 2011 - Dec 2012          Simon Weber (Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich): Phase Separation of Two Species with different Activity

Sept 2011 - Sept 2012        Timo Hanke  (Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich):  Collective Dynamics of Soft Active Colloids through Binary Scattering

Sept 2010 - Oct 2011          Christopher Bock (Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich):  Active matter at high densities


May 2011 - July 2012            Benedikt Hoock (Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich):  Onset of horizontal motion of vibrated polar disks

Jun 2010 - Aug 2010           Timo Hanke  (Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich):  Ordering by repulsive interaction

Apr 2010 - Jun 2010            Michael Hartmann  (Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich):  Hydrodynamic scattering of driven particles on a wall

Mar 2009 - May 2009          Alej Zielinski  (Ludwig-Maximilian University, Munich):  Chemical cell trapping in controlled alternating gradient fields  

PHD candidates

Jun 2016   - present      

Oct 2016   - present       

Mar 2015  - present           

Dec 2013  - present         

Sept 2013 - present         


Mar 2014 - Dec 2015       

Nov 2011 - Dec 2012        

Sept 2011 - Sept 2012      

Sept 2010 - Oct 2011      


May 2011 - July 2012        

Jun 2010 - Aug 2010       

Apr 2010 - Jun 2010         

Mar 2009 - May 2009