Themed collection Soft Matter Editorial Board Highlights of 2022
From vesicles toward protocells and minimal cells
Living systems are generally thought to have emerged from inorganic and organic compounds through the formation of compartments (molecular assemblies such as vesicles) and “information molecules” in processes driven by metabolic reaction networks.
Cononsolvency of thermoresponsive polymers: where we are now and where we are going
Overview of the recent developments focussing on the connection between cononsolvency and the preferential adsorption of the cosolvent. Discussion about the problems and challenges which are yet to be addressed.
Edible mechanical metamaterials with designed fracture for mouthfeel control
Edible metamaterials with on-demand fracture properties can be used to enhance mouthfeel experience.
Controlling toughness of polymer-grafted nanoparticle composites for impact mitigation
Polymer toughness is typically dictated by the entanglement density. Here we demonstrate a new paradigm via polymer-grafted nanocomposites that couples segmental dynamics with the entanglement concept for enhanced toughness at high deformation rates.
Compression of colloidal monolayers at liquid interfaces: in situ vs. ex situ investigation
The assembly of colloidal particles at liquid interfaces is a versatile procedure to create microstructured monolayers. Our in situ small-angle light scattering of the monolayer provides new insights into the interfacial assembly behavior.
Elastogranular columns and beams
Columns and beams, prepared from only rocks and string, can bear significant loads, enabling the formation of reusable and adaptable structures.
Yield precursor in primary creep of colloidal gels
Colloidal gels under moderate stress show an early precursor to yield detectable at macroscopic length scales. This precursor arises from accumulation of local plastic events.
Magnetic vitrimer-based soft robotics
We have developed a magnetic vitrimer-based soft robot that can pass through a confined space, dramatically change its configuration, self-heal without any contact, catch, secure and release a fast-moving object, and move along a planned path.
Toroidal nuclei of columnar lyotropic chromonic liquid crystals coexisting with an isotropic phase
The observed shapes of faceted toroids of a columnar lyotropic chromonic liquid crystal depend on the concentration of mesogenic material via a balance between bend elasticity and interfacial surface tension.
Packing core–corona particles on a spherical surface
Soft particles interacting through a hard-core square-shoulder potential, when confined on a spherical surface, self-assemble in a plethora of non-trivial structures.
Zwitterionic surface chemistry enhances detachment of bacteria under shear
A microfluidic approach is used to evaluate the effectiveness in facilitating bacteria detachment by shear of an antifouling surface treatment using a zwitterionic silane. The zwitterionic group significantly enhances bacteria detachment under shear.
Unique orientation of 1D and 2D nanoparticle assemblies confined in smectic topological defects
We study the interactions between NPs and liquid crystal smectic topological defects that can ultimately lead to unique NP orientations.
Crosslinking and depletion determine spatial instabilities in cytoskeletal active matter
Four spatial instabilities arising in kinesin/microtubule active gels are determined by two factors: depletion and cross-linker activity.
Transition to the viscoelastic regime in the thinning of polymer solutions
The pinch-off of droplets of dilute polymer solutions features a transition from a Newtonian to a viscoelastic regime. We study this transition and show that it is characterized by a self-similar evolution of the strain rate.
High-throughput microscopy to determine morphology, microrheology, and phase boundaries applied to phase separating coacervates
Evolution of composition, rheology, and morphology during phase separation in complex fluids is highly coupled to rheological and mass transport processes within the emerging phases, and understanding this coupling is critical for materials design of multiphase complex fluids.
Phase separation dynamics in deformable droplets
We study the interplay between phase separation and hydrodynamic flows in two-phase fluid droplets. We observe long-lived croissant states for intermediate Peclet numbers. For asymmetric surface tensions Marangoni flows break droplet symmetry.
From nematic shells to nematic droplets: energetics and defect transitions
We investigate the defect transitions that occur when a nematic shell is transformed into a droplet. Two different scenarios are observed depending on the initial defect structure of the shell, including an abrupt expulsion of the shell inner droplet.
Kinetics of high density functional polymer nanocomposite formation by tuning enthalpic and entropic barriers
High density functional polymer nanocomposites (PNCs) with a high degree of dispersion have recently emerged as novel materials for various thermo-mechanical, optical and electrical applications.
On the icephobicity of damage-tolerant superhydrophobic bulk nanocomposites
Bulk superhydrophobicity/lcephobicity/self-cleaning properties of nanocomposite.
Mechanical stress affects dynamics and rheology of the human genome
Using a novel noninvasive approach, we measure dynamics and rheology of the genome in live human cells before and after applying mechanical stress. We find that mechanical stress alters both dynamics and material properties of the genome.
About this collection
This online collection features some of the most exciting articles published in Soft Matter during 2022. Al Crosby (Editor in Chief) reflects: “2022 was an exciting year for Soft Matter! So many great papers advancing the field and demonstrating its extensive, positive impact. To try to capture this exciting year in Soft Matter, the Editorial Board has selected these Soft Matter papers as a highlight collection. We hope you enjoy! We look forward to working with you in 2023!”
Thank you to our authors, reviewers and readers for your ongoing support.