Joyce Chair Professor Scott T. Milner | Motivations
My research is focused on microscopic, physical understanding of the origin of the unique material properties of polymers and complex fluids. The hallmarks of these "soft" systems are:
- Interplay between thermal fluctuations and energetic tendency to order
- Exquisite sensitivity of structure to imposed fields, particularly deformation and flow.
These features of soft systems afford unique opportunities for design and control of material properties, but also pose substantial theoretical challenges. Material design in the huge parameter space of complex fluids cannot be achieved by a strictly empirical approach, but requires a conceptual understanding as well, to successfully exploit the potential of these remarkable materials.