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Nanostructured Soft Materials 2

Module PH2049

This module handbook serves to describe contents, learning outcome, methods and examination type as well as linking to current dates for courses and module examination in the respective sections.

Module version of SS 2022 (current)

There are historic module descriptions of this module. A module description is valid until replaced by a newer one.

Whether the module’s courses are offered during a specific semester is listed in the section Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature below.

available module versions
SS 2022SS 2021SS 2020SS 2019SS 2018SS 2017SS 2011

Basic Information

PH2049 is a semester module in English language at Master’s level which is offered in summer semester.

This Module is included in the following catalogues within the study programs in physics.

  • Specific catalogue of special courses for condensed matter physics
  • Specific catalogue of special courses for Applied and Engineering Physics
  • Focus Area Bio-Sensors in M.Sc. Biomedical Engineering and Medical Physics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for nuclear, particle, and astrophysics
  • Complementary catalogue of special courses for Biophysics

If not stated otherwise for export to a non-physics program the student workload is given in the following table.

Total workloadContact hoursCredits (ECTS)
150 h 60 h 5 CP

Responsible coordinator of the module PH2049 is Christine Papadakis.

Content, Learning Outcome and Preconditions


This module gives an introduction into Nanostructured Soft Materials with emphasis on multicomponent and biological systems as well as on optical and electrical properties:

  • Emulsions: classification, thermodynamics, preparation, stability and breakdown, hydrophile-lipophile balance, Pickering emulsions
  • Microemulsions: phase behavior, role of interfacial tension, interfacial film properties
  • Foams: nature and preparation, stability and lifetime, foaming agents, antifoam action
  • Biological membranes: structure, role of membrane lipids, vesicles, role of membranes in nature
  • Proteins: structures on different levels, folding and misfolding, interactions between proteins, protein nanoparticles
  • Thermoresponsive polymers: phase behavior, coil-to-globule transition, applications
  • Polymer gels: chemical and physical gels, models for gel formation, ideal gels, functional gels, self-assembled gels
  • Metal-polymer composites: top down and bottom up nanofabrication, metal nanoparticle self-assemblies
  • Conductive polymers: mechanisms of conduction, effect of doping
  • Photonic crystals: self-assembly processes, optical properties, 3D ordered macroporous materials and applications
  • Nanoplasmonics
  • Nanostructured soft matter in recent developments of devices for energy conversion and storage: lithium ion batteries, super capacitors and thermoelectrics

Learning Outcome

After participation in the module the students are able to:

  • evaluate different types of emulsions, understand the mechanism behind stability and breakdown and the concept of hydrophile-lipophile balance
  • understand the difference between macro- and microemulsions, analyze the phase behavior,
  • evaluate the role of interfacial film properties
  • evaluate the factors governing foam stability, understand the role of foaming and antifoaming agents
  • analyze the structure of biological membranes and proteins, evaluate their role in biological systems
  • understand the behavior of thermoresponsive polymers in terms of the polymer-water interactions
  • analyze the different types of polymer-metal composites including metal nanoparticles in polymer matrix
  • analyze the different conduction mechanisms in conjugated polymers and the effect of doping
  • evaluate different areas of application of photonic crystals
  • understand the interactions of light with nanostructured materials and its use for optical devices
  • understand the role of nanostructured soft materials for devices in the field of energy conversion and energy storage


No preconditions in addition to the requirements for the Master’s program in Physics.

Courses, Learning and Teaching Methods and Literature

Courses and Schedule

Learning and Teaching Methods

This module consists of a lecture and exercise classes. The contents of the lectures will be given by presentation with the beamer and discussion with board work. The exercise class will consist of group work where the students solve problems under the guidance of a tutor. Consultation hours are an optional additional offer for clarification of further questions on the lecture contents in individual talks with the lecturer.


Presentation, blackboard. Exercises will be made available one week before each class via accompanying internet site.


  • I.W. Hamley: Introduction to Soft Matter, Wiley, (2000)
  • R.A.L. Jones: Soft Condensed Matter, Oxford University Press, (2002)
  • M. Kleman & O.D. Lavrentovich: Soft Matter Physics, Springer, (2003)
  • M. Daoud & C.E. Williams: Soft Matter Physics, Springer, (1999)

Module Exam

Description of exams and course work

There will be an oral exam of 30 minutes duration. Therein the achievement of the competencies given in section learning outcome is tested exemplarily at least to the given cognition level using comprehension questions and examples.

For example an assignment in the exam might be:

  • Describe the basic set-up of an organic solar cell.
  • Explain the morphology of the active layer with its donor and acceptor components using words, drawings and diagrams
  • Describe how the performance of a transparent contact can be characterized
  • How can transparent contacts be achieved for mechanically flexible substrates?

In the exam no learning aids are permitted.

Participation in the exercise classes is strongly recommended since the exercises prepare for the problems of the exam and rehearse the specific competencies.

Exam Repetition

The exam may be repeated at the end of the semester.

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