Soft Matter Science study matter for which the macroscopic properties are highly related with its microscopical structure. The present importance of this field is mainly based on the understanding and the controlled fabrication of matter at submicrometric scales. The fundamental concepts matured for about fifteen years, notably at the instigation of Pierre-Gilles de Gennes. They are founded on various domains as statistical physics, mechanics, hydrodynamics, surface physical chemistry or chemistry… They irrigate new fields as the physics of the living – marginal in our laboratory – but also a large number of various industrial problems, particularly for chemical industry (polymeric materials, cements, glues, detergence…).

   In this context, our laboratory leans on its various competences to clarify links between complex objects (which characteristic sizes are typically between ten microns and ten nanometers) and their macroscopic properties.
Our lab works on the elaboration of basic concepts in this domain - mainly focused on mechanical behaviors of the complex systems. It tries to solve problems which originate in industrial questions, at the intersection of the traditional disciplines of physical-chemistry and chemical engineering. It is this new field which we call Soft Material Engineering.

   Then, our research lean on model systems and should help to derive new concepts in soft matter science. This approach can be illustrated by some of the recent studies developed in the lab: polymers at the interface, nano-rheology, photo-stimulable molecules or glass transition.

   For us, industrial questions are both sources of inspiration and a motor. Complexity of the problems asks for a fundamental analysis of phenomena and the development of an engineering of macroscopic properties. From this point of view, we must keep at a high level, both the industrial and academic outcomes of our research. In this spirit, completed jobs on reinforced elastomers, rheostimulables polymers, cements, adhesion or wetting have been conducted.

   We base our research on functional elaboration competences and on experimental facilities, which are commercial or developed in the laboratory. The quality of the instrumentation work and of the rheology platform are of importance in our generalist and pluridisciplinary approach.

   To conclude this presentation, the laboratory develops its activity in science (physics and chemistry) and soft matter engineering, by using the really multidisciplinary competences of its members which include the design of systems and of original techniques and the mastery of the measurement of the properties (especially of mechanical ones). Our purpose is to develop new concepts, by taking our inspiration and by trying to respond to the numerous original situations in this field (in particular in the industrial domain).


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Research unit evaluation

Research unit evaluation 2012 Research unit evaluation 2017 

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Practical information

Sciences et Ingénierie de la Matière Molle

Soft Matter Enginering and Science Laboratory - UMR 7615

10 rue Vauquelin
75231 PARIS CEDEX 05

  • Chair : E. Barthel
  • Vice Chairs : J.B. d’Espinose & G. Ducouret
  • Administration : F. Decuq, M.-T. Mendy & M. Hirano-Courcot
  • Communication : A. Hakopian & M. Ciccotti
  • Information Technology : A. Hakopian
  • Safety, Health and Environment Assistant : F. Martin

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