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Matter and Complexity

Disciplines Physics
Research fields Biomechanics, Statistical physics
Supporting organisms CNRS, ENS de Lyon, UCBL
Geographical location ENS de Lyon (Campus Charles Mérieux)
Lab LP
Team leader Jean-Christophe Géminard

This group studies a wide range of aspects in the field of soft condensed matter physics and biological systems, combining experimental work with theory and numerical simulations. Research interests are focused on the physics of soft materials, such as liquid crystals, melted polymers, elastomers, emulsions, gels, foams, sand, and biological materials including proteins, DNA, cells and certain bacteria and biological tissues. Emphasis is placed on understanding their transport properties (diffusivities, thermo-mechanical coupling coefficient), in addition to their rheology (linear and non-linear), phase transitions, mechanical instabilities, interfacial properties, defects and aging. Both microscopic and macroscopic approaches are used to understand the structure-property relationships in these different systems.

Continuum mechanics, combined with statistical physics, optics and non-linear analysis are some of the primary tools used by the group. A strong effort is placed on bridging the gap between fundamental studies and real-world applications. This later point is witnessed by the work concerning washboard effects on the roads or viruses and air purification using non-thermal plasma, with well established collaborations in the public health sector. Recent works have also addressed cell adhesion, the motion of bacteria nearby a substrate and bio-mechanical aspects of the brain and trauma effects on biological tissue. Finally, effort is placed on understanding natural occurring phenomena such as the formation of crack patterns in soils and the dynamics of degassing processes on volcanoes, studies conducted in international collaboration with geophysicists.