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Themed collection 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators

51 items
Editorial

Soft Matter Emerging Investigators 2021

This themed collection of Soft Matter highlights the work of emerging investigators in the field of soft matter. Editor-in-Chief Darrin Pochan introduces the issue.

Graphical abstract: Soft Matter Emerging Investigators 2021
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Open Access Review Article

Dynamics in supramolecular nanomaterials

Properties of supramolecular nanostructures are mediated by conformational, exchange, and water dynamics. Here we review experimental methods and recent reports of dynamics characterization of small molecule nanomaterials.

Graphical abstract: Dynamics in supramolecular nanomaterials
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Open Access Review Article

More than just a barrier: using physical models to couple membrane shape to cell function

Physical models can help us to infer, from the shape of the outer membrane, which biological processes happen inside the living cell.

Graphical abstract: More than just a barrier: using physical models to couple membrane shape to cell function
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Review Article

Stimuli-responsive engineered living materials

Engineered living materials integrate genetic engineering and synthetic materials to program stimuli responses that enable the fabrication of devices for diverse applications.

Graphical abstract: Stimuli-responsive engineered living materials
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Review Article

Electrohydrodynamics of droplets and jets in multiphase microsystems

Electrohydrodynamics is among the most promising techniques for manipulating liquids in microsystems.

Graphical abstract: Electrohydrodynamics of droplets and jets in multiphase microsystems
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Communication

Molecular understanding for large deformations of soft bottlebrush polymer networks

We discover a new regime in which the extensibility of bottlebrush polymer networks is inversely proportional to the network stiffness.

Graphical abstract: Molecular understanding for large deformations of soft bottlebrush polymer networks
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Accepted Manuscript - Paper

Dependence of phase behavior and surface tension on particle stiffness for active Brownian particles

From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Dynamics and extensional rheology of polymer–surfactant association complexes

We find the aqueous PEO–SDS mixtures show a significantly weaker concentration-dependent variation in the extensional relaxation time, filament lifespan, and extensional viscosity values than anticipated by the shear viscosity vs. concentration plots.

Graphical abstract: Dynamics and extensional rheology of polymer–surfactant association complexes
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Open Access Paper

Investigating the structural properties of hydrophobic solvent-rich lipid bilayers

In vitro reconstitutions of lipid membranes can contain residual hydrophobic solvents. We investigate the influence of residual solvents on lipid bilayers properties using Molecular Dynamics simulations.

Graphical abstract: Investigating the structural properties of hydrophobic solvent-rich lipid bilayers
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Dynamical time scales of friction dynamics in active microrheology of a model glass

Owing to the local/heterogeneous structures in supercooled liquids, after several decades of research, it is now clear that supercooled liquids are structurally different from their conventional liquid counterparts.

Graphical abstract: Dynamical time scales of friction dynamics in active microrheology of a model glass
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Design of vesicle prototissues as a model for cellular tissues

Biomimetic vesicle prototissues have been designed as a model for cellular tissues. Prototissues display spheroidal or sheet like morphologies, and have predictable vesicle–vesicle adhesion strengths, typical sizes, and degree of compaction.

Graphical abstract: Design of vesicle prototissues as a model for cellular tissues
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Collective dynamics in lipid membranes containing transmembrane peptides

Small amounts of transmembrane peptides can significantly alter the collective dynamics in lipid membranes even when there are no changes in the average membrane structure.

Graphical abstract: Collective dynamics in lipid membranes containing transmembrane peptides
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Poroelastic shape relaxation of hydrogel particles

We describe a straightforward way to determine the poroelastic diffusion coefficient of a hydrogel particle by first indenting it via swelling in a granular packing, and then monitoring how its indented shape relaxes after it is removed.

Graphical abstract: Poroelastic shape relaxation of hydrogel particles
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Open Access Paper

Emergence and stabilization of transient twisted defect structures in confined achiral liquid crystals at a phase transition

We report a transient twist observed in common thermotropic, achiral liquid crystals at the transition between the smectic and the nematic phase. This is explained with the combined effect of the change of the elastic constants at the phase transition and of the confining geometry.

Graphical abstract: Emergence and stabilization of transient twisted defect structures in confined achiral liquid crystals at a phase transition
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Air mediates the impact of a compliant hemisphere on a rigid smooth surface

When a soft elastic body impacts upon a smooth solid surface, the intervening air fails to drain, deforming the impactor. High-speed imaging with the VFT reveal rich dynamics and sensitivity to the impactor's elastic properties and the impact velocity.

Graphical abstract: Air mediates the impact of a compliant hemisphere on a rigid smooth surface
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Adhesion as a trigger of droplet polarization in flowing emulsions

When adhesive emulsions are flowed in 2D constrictions, their local rearrangements are impaired, leading to higher deformations. The adhesive emulsions are globally more aligned in the direction of elongation, leading to a global polarization.

Graphical abstract: Adhesion as a trigger of droplet polarization in flowing emulsions
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Near-surface rheology and hydrodynamic boundary condition of semi-dilute polymer solutions

Using evanescent wave microscopy to study near-surface, semi-dilute polymer solution flows provides simultaneous access to the mechanical behaviour of the liquid and the boundary condition at the interfaces. Our results highlight the importance of electrostatic interactions between the polymers and the bounding wall.

Graphical abstract: Near-surface rheology and hydrodynamic boundary condition of semi-dilute polymer solutions
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Open Access Paper

Modelling the dynamics of vesicle reshaping and scission under osmotic shocks

We study dynamic reshaping of lipid vesicles under osmotic shocks via molecular dynamics simulations. We identified rich morphology transformations, and observed a separation of time scales between the shock absorption and the shape relaxation.

Graphical abstract: Modelling the dynamics of vesicle reshaping and scission under osmotic shocks
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Propulsion of an elastic filament in a shear-thinning fluid

Via a simple elastic swimmer actuated magnetically, we present a first study to examine how shear-thinning rheology impacts the fluid-structure interaction and hence the elastohydrodynamic propulsion performance at low Reynolds numbers.

Graphical abstract: Propulsion of an elastic filament in a shear-thinning fluid
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Universality class of the motility-induced critical point in large scale off-lattice simulations of active particles

Performing large-scale simulations of active particles and employing finite-size-scaling analysis, we provide exhaustive evidence that motility-induced critical point belongs to the Ising universality class.

Graphical abstract: Universality class of the motility-induced critical point in large scale off-lattice simulations of active particles
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Open Access Paper

Designing responsive dressings for inflammatory skin disorders; encapsulating antioxidant nanoparticles into biocompatible electrospun fibres

Antioxidant polysulfide nanoparticles can be electrospun within nanofibre scaffold patches to provide anti-inflammatory action.

Graphical abstract: Designing responsive dressings for inflammatory skin disorders; encapsulating antioxidant nanoparticles into biocompatible electrospun fibres
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Phase mechanics of colloidal gels: osmotic pressure drives non-equilibrium phase separation

Negative osmotic pressure drives non-equilibrium phase separation of “reversible” colloidal gels subjected to weak external stress, manifesting as yield under fully intact network.

Graphical abstract: Phase mechanics of colloidal gels: osmotic pressure drives non-equilibrium phase separation
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Electrostatic wrapping of a microfiber around a curved particle

Using experiments and modeling, we study the spontaneous wrapping of a negatively charged microfiber around a positively charged disk-shaped particle immersed in a liquid.

Graphical abstract: Electrostatic wrapping of a microfiber around a curved particle
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Open Access Paper

Emergent cell-free layer asymmetry and biased haematocrit partition in a biomimetic vascular network of successive bifurcations

We describe, characterise and explain emerging heterogeneity of red bolood cell partitioning within a network substantially deviating from empirical predictions.

Graphical abstract: Emergent cell-free layer asymmetry and biased haematocrit partition in a biomimetic vascular network of successive bifurcations
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Onsager's variational principle in active soft matter

Onsager's variational principle is extended and applied to the dynamic modeling of active soft matter such as the directional motion of individual self-propelled units and the dynamics of active polar droplets on solid substrates.

Graphical abstract: Onsager's variational principle in active soft matter
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Orienting and shaping organic semiconductor single crystals through selective nanoconfinement

Nanoconfining scaffolds can be used to orient and shape organic semiconductor crystals during solution-phase crystallization depending on the scaffold geometry and the native crystal growth habit.

Graphical abstract: Orienting and shaping organic semiconductor single crystals through selective nanoconfinement
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Coarse-grained nucleic acid–protein model for hybrid nanotechnology

A coarse-grained model for analysis and design of hybrid DNA-protein nanoscale structures.

Graphical abstract: Coarse-grained nucleic acid–protein model for hybrid nanotechnology
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Disentangling collective motion and local rearrangements in 2D and 3D cell assemblies

We propose a new tracking-free method for the quantification of multiscale dynamics in 2D and 3D cell collectives.

Graphical abstract: Disentangling collective motion and local rearrangements in 2D and 3D cell assemblies
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Wetting equilibrium in a rectangular channel

Wetting in a nearly rectangular channel.

Graphical abstract: Wetting equilibrium in a rectangular channel
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Controlling uniform patterns by evaporation of multi-component liquid droplets in a confined geometry

A drying multi-component liquid droplet in a confined geometry leaves a uniform dried pattern. The evaporated vapors are stagnated inside the closed chamber, which induce Marangoni effects that contribute to suppress the coffee-ring pattern.

Graphical abstract: Controlling uniform patterns by evaporation of multi-component liquid droplets in a confined geometry
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Magttice: a lattice model for hard-magnetic soft materials

Magnetic actuation has emerged as a powerful and versatile mechanism for diverse applications, ranging from soft robotics, biomedical devices to functional metamaterials.

Graphical abstract: Magttice: a lattice model for hard-magnetic soft materials
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Effect of precise linker length, bond density, and broad temperature window on the rheological properties of ethylene vitrimers

Dynamic networks with precise spacers between boronic ester bonds were investigated over a broad temperature window. Arrhenius behavior breaks down and an increase in relaxation time is observed when approach the glass transition temperature.

Graphical abstract: Effect of precise linker length, bond density, and broad temperature window on the rheological properties of ethylene vitrimers
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Open Access Paper

Stabilizing liquid drops in nonequilibrium shapes by the interfacial crosslinking of nanoparticles

We show that the Plateau–Rayleigh instability can be suppressed by the interfacial self-assembly and crosslinking of nanoparticles, potentially introducing a new approach for additive manufacturing.

Graphical abstract: Stabilizing liquid drops in nonequilibrium shapes by the interfacial crosslinking of nanoparticles
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Deterministic control of adhesive crack propagation through jamming based switchable adhesives

We show deterministic control of adhesive crack initiation, propagation, and arresting by integrating a granular jamming layer into adhesive films.

Graphical abstract: Deterministic control of adhesive crack propagation through jamming based switchable adhesives
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Controlling nanostructure and mechanical properties in triblock copolymer/monomer blends via reaction-induced phase transitions

In situ polymer grafting from the mid-block of an ABA triblock copolymer leads to morphology transitions and enhanced mechanical properties.

Graphical abstract: Controlling nanostructure and mechanical properties in triblock copolymer/monomer blends via reaction-induced phase transitions
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Gel rupture during dynamic swelling

A complex, three-stage fracture process is described for hydrogels, resulting in material failure. This process is markedly different than that observed in brittle materials, and we describe how this process varies with network architecture.

Graphical abstract: Gel rupture during dynamic swelling
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Decoupling salt- and polymer-dependent dynamics in polyelectrolyte complex coacervates via salt addition

A method for changing the salt and polymer concentrations of coacervates independently is developed and used to investigate their rheology.

Graphical abstract: Decoupling salt- and polymer-dependent dynamics in polyelectrolyte complex coacervates via salt addition
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Open Access Paper

Optical quantification of intracellular mass density and cell mechanics in 3D mechanical confinement

Optical quantification of intracellular mass density using optical diffraction tomography (ODT) and cell mechanics using Brillouin spectroscopy under 3D mechanical confinement.

Graphical abstract: Optical quantification of intracellular mass density and cell mechanics in 3D mechanical confinement
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Pressure tunable adhesion of rough elastomers

The adhesion of rough surfaces comprised of dewetted thermoplastic asperities on an elastomer is controlled by changing the applied compressive load.

Graphical abstract: Pressure tunable adhesion of rough elastomers
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Using reactive dissipative particle dynamics to understand local shape manipulation of polymer vesicles

Biological cells have long been of interest to researchers due to their capacity to actively control their shape.

Graphical abstract: Using reactive dissipative particle dynamics to understand local shape manipulation of polymer vesicles
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Characterization of N-phenylmaleimide-terminated poly(ethylene glycol)s and their application to a tetra-arm poly(ethylene glycol) gel

Characterization of N-phenylmaleimide-terminated poly(ethylene glycol)s and their application to a tetra-arm poly(ethylene glycol) gels

Graphical abstract: Characterization of N-phenylmaleimide-terminated poly(ethylene glycol)s and their application to a tetra-arm poly(ethylene glycol) gel
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Diffuso-kinetic membrane budding dynamics

A wide range of proteins create shape transformations of membranes. The remodeling is a coupling between the energetic cost of membrane bending, protein recruitment which induce local spontaneous curvature and protein diffusion on the membrane.

Graphical abstract: Diffuso-kinetic membrane budding dynamics
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Open Access Paper

Apparent phototaxis enabled by Brownian motion

To improve the understanding of phototaxis, we investigate the origin of our photocatalytic particles’ peculiar scotophobicity (fear of darkness).

Graphical abstract: Apparent phototaxis enabled by Brownian motion
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Open Access Paper

Free-energy landscape of polymer-crystal polymorphism

Free-energy landscape of crystallized syndiotactic-polystyrene polymorphism from quantum-mechanical calculations and coarse-grained simulations.

Graphical abstract: Free-energy landscape of polymer-crystal polymorphism
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Lyotropic liquid crystal phase behavior of a cationic amphiphile in aqueous and non-stoichiometric protic ionic liquid mixtures

Protic ionic liquids (PILs) are the largest and most tailorable known class of non-aqueous solvents which possess the ability to support amphiphile self-assembly.

Graphical abstract: Lyotropic liquid crystal phase behavior of a cationic amphiphile in aqueous and non-stoichiometric protic ionic liquid mixtures
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Bridging experiments and theory: isolating the effects of metal–ligand interactions on viscoelasticity of reversible polymer networks

A systematic study of the effect of metal–ligand interactions on the viscoelastic properties of the reversible polymer networks.

Graphical abstract: Bridging experiments and theory: isolating the effects of metal–ligand interactions on viscoelasticity of reversible polymer networks
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Open Access Paper

Connecting particle clustering and rheology in attractive particle networks

We introduce graph theory measures and demonstrate how transitions in microstructural conformations can be quantified and correlated to the rheology.

Graphical abstract: Connecting particle clustering and rheology in attractive particle networks
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Peak force visible microscopy

We developed a new type of visible-range photothermal microscopy for measurement of optical absorption with excellent spatial resolution.

Graphical abstract: Peak force visible microscopy
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

On the lipid flip-flop and phase transition coupling

We measured by neutron reflectometry the loss of asymmetry in solid supported lipid bilayers, revealing an intrinsic interplay between passive lipid flip-flop and lipid phase transition.

Graphical abstract: On the lipid flip-flop and phase transition coupling
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Paper

Anomalous and heterogeneous DNA transport in biomimetic cytoskeleton networks

The cytoskeleton, a complex network of protein filaments and crosslinking proteins, dictates diverse cellular processes ranging from division to cargo transport.

Graphical abstract: Anomalous and heterogeneous DNA transport in biomimetic cytoskeleton networks
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
Open Access Paper

Mechanical interplay between cell shape and actin cytoskeleton organization

(Right) Optical micrograph (TRITC–Phalloidin) of a fibroblastoid cell. (Left) Configuration obtained from theoretical model using the adhesion sites of the experimental data as input.

Graphical abstract: Mechanical interplay between cell shape and actin cytoskeleton organization
From the themed collection: 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators
51 items

About this collection

Soft Matter is proud to present this 2021 Emerging Investigators collection. This collection gathers the very best work from soft matter scientists in the early stages of their independent careers. The 2021 Soft Matter Emerging Investigators were individually nominated by members of the journal Editorial and Advisory Boards, and previous Emerging Investigators, in recognition of their potential to influence future directions in the field of soft matter.

Articles will be added to this collection as and when they are ready to be published, accompanied by an Editorial piece in the coming months.

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