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Giuseppe Pellicane: „Colloidal models and phase transitions of complex fluids”
University of Messina

During recent years, there has been an increasing interest in understanding on a molecular basis phase transitions occurring in the realm of the so-called "soft matter". Interest in materials such as micellar solutions, globular protein solutions, and so on, is due to their widespread occurrence in biology and in many industrial products. Unfortunately, a complete atomistic treatment of their interactions is not possible because of the very different time and lengthscales involved. On the other hand, sometimes one is able to deal with the huge number of degrees of freedom by resorting to a coarse-graining approach. In this seminar, we will consider two examples of complex fluids, whose phase properties can be partially understood by means of potentials of mean force as the ones widely adopted to study colloidal dispersions. For instance, we will show how a potential with two distinct length scales could explain stripe formation in 2D molecular systems with a core-corona architecture, as dendritic polymers and di-block copolymers. Similarly, we report some results suggesting that the phase diagram of two globular protein solutions could be depicted by a phenomenological use of the DLVO potential.