Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon,
46, Allée d'Italie,
69364 Lyon CEDEX 07 - FRANCE
Recent advances in computational, theoretical, and experimental methods have helped to illuminate the basic nature of microscopic interactions and their influence on macroscopic phenomena. Significant progress has been achieved especially in the area of thermodynamic phase transitions. Simulation techniques based on Monte Carlo, Molecular Dynamics, Brownian Dynamics, and ab initio algorithms, and theoretical approaches such as density-functional theory, thermodynamic perturbation theory, and Poisson-Boltzmann cell models, have yielded important insights particularly into first-order phase transitions and the stability of ordered phases. Meanwhile, experimental developments in particle synthesis, optical trapping, epitaxial growth, real-space imaging, and light and neutron scattering, have greatly improved sample characterization and analysis.
While significant progress has been made in understanding the nature of the interactions and phase transitions in colloidal suspensions, a number of unresolved questions have accumulated: How do external potentials affect the ordering of colloidal solids? To what extent does geometric confinement influence first-order phase transitions? Can like-charged colloidal particles attract one another? What is the role of the counterions in determining the phase behaviour of charge-stabilized colloids? How important are three-body interactions in charged colloids and in colloid-polymer mixtures? Can colloidal solids exhibit quasicrystalline symmetry? What is the role of non-equilibrium states, such as gels and glasses? In bringing together scientists with computational, theoretical, and experimental interests and expertise in the field of colloidal suspensions, the workshop should stimulate a fruitful exchange of ideas directed towards clarifying and resolving many of these important questions.