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Fall 2015 Seminars

August 31, 2015
September 7, 2015<Labour Day>
September 14, 2015

Pattern formation in block copolymer layers after a temperature quench

Alexander Wagner
September 21, 2015Pushing 2D Block Copolymers into the Third DimensionAndrew B. Croll
September 28, 2015  
October 5, 2015

On How Being Soft and Squishy Affects Phase Behavior:  The Case of Charged-Microgel Suspensions
Alberto Fernandez-Nieves
October 12, 2015The Electrostatic Contribution to the Line Tension between Lipid Membrane Domains Guilherme Volpe Bossa
October 19, 2015TBA Matthew Brown
October 26, 2015 
November 2, 2015TBANathan Grosz
November 9, 2015
November 16, 2015
November 23, 2015
November 30, 2015

December 7, 2015

December 14, 2015<Exam Week!>



Connecting Physics Education Research across the Disciplines

Warren Christensen

Assistant Professor,
Department of Physics,


Monday, September 28, 2015, 3:00-4:00pm

221 South Engineering

Discipline-based Education Research is the descriptor of research that focuses on the learning and teaching of science and mathematics at the Undergraduate level. Studying the connections that students make (or don't make) with physics from mathematics and biological sciences has driven my research since coming to NDSU. I will present on data from several current NSF funded studies. Investigating the flipped course curriculum of an algebra-based course designed around the physics of biomedical equipment has the challenges/benefits of a tremendous data set that we’re unpacking using a modification of Bloom’s Taxonomy, with undergraduate researchers Matt Urich and Levi Remily. An entirely different thread of research investigates content for a research-based Math Methods course. Brian Farlow and I are building on work of Marlene Vega, a 2015 REU student, investigating student’s use and understanding of coordinate systems through free-response questions and student interviews. I hope to touch on how these studies fit into my broader research agenda and what the outlook for these studies are going forward.

On How Being Soft and Squishy Affects Phase Behavior: The Case of Charged-Microgel Suspensions

Alberto Fernandez-Nieves

Associate Professor,
School of Physics,
Georgia Institute of Technology

Monday, October 5, 2015, 3:00-4:00pm

Refreshments at 2:30.

221 South Engineering

Microgels are an interesting class of mesoscopic soft particles that can deform and compress. When suspended in a solvent at large number density, they are able to crystallize and form glasses. However, for microgels, this depends on single-particle stiffness. We will discuss recent results with charged microgel particles with different stiffness. We will first show that the suspension osmotic pressure is controlled by those counterions in solution that are able to escape from the electrostatic attraction exerted by the microgel particles. We will then exploit this fact to obtain the particle volume fraction, f, and the microgel volume as a function of particle concentration, even in highly overpacked states, where the particles are forced to both change shape and compress. In terms of f, we find that the width of the fluid-crystal coexistence region decreases with decreasing microgel stiffness to eventually disappear for sufficiently soft microgels; in these cases, the suspensions remains fluid-like at all explored concentrations. By comparing our results with expectations from computer simulations, we propose possible interparticle-interactions that could potentially capture our experimental observations.

Pattern formation in block copolymer layers after a temperature quench

Alexander Wagner

Physics Department,


Monday, February 16, 2015, 3:30-4:30pm

221 South Engineering

In recent experiments of Andrew Croll he found an interesting pattern formation phenomenon in thin block-copolymer films. These films will layer parallel to the substrate and subsequent changes in temperature can change the volume fraction of the top layer, leading to interesting patterns. Here we propose a simple numerical model of coupled two-dimensional phase-separation models that can reproduce many of the phenomena observed experimentally.

Student Focused. Land Grant. Research University.

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Published by Department of Physics

Last Updated: Monday, September 28, 2015 2:50:52 PM