Chemistry Department Seminar: Colloids as Big Atoms



In general, colloids can be anything ranging from emulsions, paints, foams, gels to even biological tissues. For physicists, colloids typically refer to tiny particles (~ 1000 nm) suspended in a liquid. In addition to their wide industrial applications, colloids have increasingly been employed to model atoms, hence the idea of "colloids as big atoms", is using colloids to study the chemistry and physics of crystallization, glass transition and gelation. Although this idea is proposed more than 100 years ago by the Nobel laureates Einstein and Perrin, it is the latest development of experimental techniques and data analysis methods that invigorates the field of colloid science. With modern video microscopy and particle tracking algorithm, colloids can be studied in three dimensions with great precision over large time scales, offering valuable real-space information on microscopic structures and dynamics. In this talk, to illustrate the "colloids as big atoms" idea, recent work in his group studying colloidal glass and crystal will be presented.


Professor Zexin Zhang

Professor Zhang is currently professor of chemistry, professor of physics at Soochow University. He received a B. S. degree in chemistry from Jilin University in 2000, and a M. S. degree in polymer science from Chinese Academy of Sciences in 2003. From University of Bristol (UK), he earned PhD degree in Physical Chemistry in 2007. Then he spent three years at University of Pennsylvania (US) as a Rhodia-LRSM Postdoctoral Fellow, working on jamming and glass transition of soft materials. He joined Soochow University as a full professor in May 2010.