Archive for January, 2011

Hot Article: Phase separation and dynamical arrest for particles interacting with mixed potentials—the case of globular proteins revisited

Whether the extended law of corresponding states can be applied to equilibrium and non equilibrium features of the state diagram of a globular protein has been investigated by a team based in Switzerland and Sweden. The team say that for the globular protein lysozyme, the binodal and spinodal lines are governed by the integral features of the interaction potential, but the arrest line is mainly determined by the contact value.

Graphical abstract: Phase separation and dynamical arrest for particles interacting with mixed potentials—the case of globular proteins revisited

Read the full paper (free until 9th February) here: Thomas Gibaud, Frédéric Cardinaux, Johan Bergenholtz, Anna Stradner and Peter Schurtenberger, Soft Matter, 2011, DOI: 10.1039/C0SM01175D (Advance Article)

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Soft Matter poster prize winner at Liquids and Complex Fluids Winter School: ‘5th Solutions in the Snow’

Congratulations to Siti Aminah Setu from the University of Oxford who won the Soft Matter poster prize at the Liquids and Complex Fluids Winter School: ‘5th Solutions in the Snow’.  The Winter School was held at Jesus College, University of Cambridge, UK.

Photograph of Siti Aminah Setu standing in front of her winning poster

The title of the winning posters was ‘Saffman-Taylor Instability at Ultralow Interfacial Tension‘.  Siti Aminah Setu works in Dr Dirk G.A.L. Aarts’ group.

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Hot Article: Solid-supported polymeric membranes

Wolfgang Meier discusses the emerging area of solid-supported polymeric membranes. Fancy knowing more? Read the full article for free until 8th February.

Serena Belegrinou, Sindhu Menon, Dominik Dobrunz and Wolfgang Meier, Soft Matter, 2011, DOI:10.1039/C0SM01163K  (Advance Article)

Graphical abstract: Solid-supported polymeric membranes

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Soft Matter Article Highlighted in Chemistry World

Sticky hydrogels make resilient wound dressings

An adhesive material made from a hydrogel filled with nanoparticles could lead to wound dressings that won’t fall off when you sweat. It could even be used to deliver drugs through skin, claim French scientists.

Traditional wound dressings lose their ability to stick to skin in the presence of water – a major component of sweat – shortening their lifespan. Now, scientists led by Bruno Grassl from the University of Pau and Pays de l’Adour have developed adhesive materials based on hydrogels to overcome this problem. Hydrogels contain a large quantity of water already, which allows them to tolerate the additional water from sweat; however, their mechanical properties, such as elasticity, are often poor. Interested to know more? Read the full article for free in Chemistry World here.
 

Sticky hydrogels

Nadia Baït, Bruno Grassl, Christophe Derail and Ahmed Benaboura, Soft Matter, 2011, DOI: 10.1039/C0SM01123A (Advance Article)

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Hot Article: Phase diagrams come alive: understanding how to create, destroy or change ordered surfactant structures by polymerizing the counterions

A team of scientists have shown that equilibrium phase diagrams can predict the outcome of polymerization reactions in surfactant systems. The team from Lund University, Sweden and Coimbra University, Portugal, claim that the general trends that should also be relevant for more complex systems. 

 

Graphical abstract: Phase diagrams come alive: understanding how to create, destroy or change ordered surfactant structures by polymerizing the counterions


Read the full article for free here: Salomé dos Santos, Lennart Piculell, Ola J. Karlsson and Maria da Graça Miguel, Soft Matter, 2011, DOI:10.1039/C0SM00958J (Advance Article)

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to all our readers, authors and referees! Here in the Cambridge office, the Soft Matter Editorial team is looking forward to 2011. We have some excellent themed issues coming up, so keep an eye out. I will be attending various conferences throughout the year so let me know if you would like to meet for a chat.

I would also like to congratulate Professor Martien Cohen Stuart, Chairman of the Soft Matter Editorial Board, who has recently received one of the prestigious Advanced Grants from the European Research Council (ERC), for work on novel protein polymers and their properties as soft materials. Congratulations, Martien!

Professor Martien Cohen Stuart

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Superhydrophobic surfaces

Droplets on a superhydrophobic surface.

Superhydrophobic surfaces capture the imagination of scientists and non-scientists alike and have been studied for over a century. Recently there has been renewed interest in this field due to the potential technological applications of self-cleaning water repellent surfaces. A quick search of Soft Matter, shows that Progress in superhydrophobic surface development, published in 2008, is one of the most read articles of 2010 and has been cited over 160 times.

Current research in this field is focussed on two main areas; the development of rough surfaces with low surface energy and understanding the stability of superhydrophobic surfaces. Below I have highlighted a couple of recent interesting papers in these areas.

Metastable underwater superhydrophobicity

Superhydrophobic teflon surface.

 

Superhydrophobicity is often considered to be a thermodynamically stable wetting state. In this paper researchers at the University of Cambridge studied the stability of the air film separating the substrate and the water in an underwater experiment. They found that the air film is in fact unstable and decays rapidly. The onset time for decay is dependent on the immersion depth of the superhydrophobic teflon substrate. In nature superhydrophobic surfaces are found, almost exclusively, on surfaces only intermittently exposed to water. The results of this paper help to explain why underwater superhydrophobicity is so rare in nature and raises interesting questions on their viability for some commercial applications.

The paper was published in Physical Review Letters doi:10.1103/PhysRevLett.105.166104. Details on the superhydrophobic surface used for the experiments can be found in Soft Matter doi: 10.1039/B613947G. This paper also has two nice movies attached as supplementary information. Another recent paper on this topic is the Hot Article Cassie-Wenzel and Wenzel-Cassie transitions on immersed superhydrophobic surfaces under hydrostatic pressure.

Self-cleaning solar cells

The accumulation of dust on solar cell panels is a big problem, as it can greatly reduced the efficiency of the panel. In this paper the team in Korea, led by Young-Bum Park, applied a self-cleaning superhydrophobic PDMS surface to a solar cell and studied its properties. The self-cleaning PDMS coating consists of arrays of hollow cylinders formed through micromolding. Dust removal was tested by spraying carbon power on to the surface and washing with water droplets. The carbon coated surfaces had a strongly reduced efficiency of 6.10%. After cleaning the efficiency recovered to 9.76%. The initial efficiency was 11.20%. This work demonstrates that superhydrophobic surfaces can prevent the degradation of solar cell efficiency through a self-cleaning effect. The transparency and flexibility of the PDMS surfaces make it feasible for a while host of applications where self-cleaning is desired. The paper was published in the Journal of Materials Chemistry doi:10.1039/C0JM02463E.

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Top Ten most-read Soft Matter articles in November

The latest top ten most downloaded Soft Matter articles

See the most-read papers of November 2010 here:

Yeping Wu, Si Wu, Xiujie Tian, Xin Wang, Wenxuan Wu, Gang Zou and Qijin Zhang, Soft Matter, 2011, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00330A
 
Cyrille Boyer, Xin Huang, Michael R. Whittaker, Volga Bulmus and Thomas P. Davis, Soft Matter, 2011, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00412J
 
Sila Toksoz, Handan Acar and Mustafa O. Guler, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 5839-5849
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00121J
 
Alfred J. Crosby, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 5660-5660
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM90040K
 
Yuhan Lee, Hyun Jung Chung, Sangho Yeo, Cheol-Hee Ahn, Haeshin Lee, Phillip B. Messersmith and Tae Gwan Park, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 977-983
DOI: 10.1039/B919944F
 
Pedro M. Reis, Jérémy Hure, Sungwan Jung, John W. M. Bush and Christophe Clanet, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 5705-5708
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00895H
 
Xi Chen and Jie Yin, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 5667-5680
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00401D
 
John A. Howarter and Christopher M. Stafford, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 5661-5666
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00365D
 
Sk. Faruque Ahmed, Geon-Ho Rho, Kwang-Ryeol Lee, Ashkan Vaziri and Myoung-Woon Moon, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 5709-5714
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00386G
 
Rafael Tadmor, Soft Matter, 2011, Advance Article
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00775G

  

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Hot Article: Influence of nano-viscosity and depletion interactions on cleavage of DNA by enzymes in glycerol and poly(ethylene glycol) solutions: qualitative analysis

The influence of the crowded cellular environment on cleavage of DNA by a restriction enzymes has been investigated by a team of Polish scientists. The team from the Institute of Physical Chemistry PAS, Warsaw, modeled the crowded cellular environment using glycerol and poly(ethylene glycol) solutions and investigated the role on viscosity on DNA cleavage. Interested to know more? Why not read the full article for free.

Graphical abstract: Influence of nano-viscosity and depletion interactions on cleavage of DNA by enzymes in glycerol and poly(ethylene glycol) solutions: qualitative analysis

Sen Hou, Natalia Ziebacz, Tomasz Kalwarczyk, Tomasz S. Kaminski, Stefan A. Wieczorek and Robert Holyst, Soft Matter, 2011, DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00899K (Advance Article)

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Hot Article: Self-ordered arrays of linear defects and virtual singularities in thin smectic-A films

Graphical abstract: Self-ordered arrays of linear defects and virtual singularities in thin smectic-A films

Large-area ordered arrays created by the self-assembly of linear defects in thin smectic-A films have been investigated by a team of Italian and French scientists. The team led by Bruno Zappone and Emmanuelle Lacaze showed that the smectic layers are bent in concentric cylinders and neighboring cylindrical domains are separated by curvature walls. The team say that the domains are centered on virtual singularities, running below the substrate plane, and rest upon a surface region of submicrometric thickness where layers are flat and vertical.

Read the article for free here: Bruno Zappone, Emmanuelle Lacaze, Habib Hayeb, Michel Goldmann, Nathalie Boudet, Philippe Barois and Michel Alba, Soft Matter, 2011, DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00747A (Advance Article)

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