Ferroelectric phenomena in soft matter systems

May 12 to May 16, 2008

at the

American Institute of Mathematics, Palo Alto, California

organized by

Maria-Carme Calderer and Jie Shen

This workshop, sponsored by AIM and the NSF, will be devoted to the modeling, simulation and analysis of the ferroelectric phenomena in soft matter systems such as liquid crystals, elastomers and gels. The ferroelectric phenomena of these materials, such as its interaction with electric fields in switching processes, introduce new challenging problems that can only be properly addressed with a combined effort of theoretical and experimental physicists, and analytical and computational mathematicians.

From the point of view of working strategy, two main themes will be emphasized: the problem of switching for a liquid-like ferroelectric model, and that for a solid material with liquid features.

To motivate the role of each of these approaches, it may be useful to mention the static problems that characterize the on-off states of the switch. Whereas anlysis tools involved in studies of the former may resemble those associated with Ginzburg-Landau energies, those of the latter fall into the context of nonliner elasticity and the Flory-Huggins theory of polymers. In both cases, the coupling with the Maxwell's equations is very significant.

The workshop will differ from typical conferences in some regards. Participants will be invited to suggest open problems and questions before the workshop begins, and these will be posted on the workshop website. These include specific problems on which there is hope of making some progress during the workshop, as well as more ambitious problems which may influence the future activity of the field. Lectures at the workshop will be focused on familiarizing the participants with the background material leading up to specific problems, and the schedule will include discussion and parallel working sessions.

The deadline to apply for support to participate in this workshop has passed.

For more information email workshops@aimath.org

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