Editoria - luglio 2016

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Proceedings of the International School of Physics "Enrico Fermi" - Course 193
Proceedings of the International School of Physics Enrico Fermi Soft Matter Self-Assembly
Edited by C.N. Likos, F. Sciortino, E. Zaccarelli and P. Ziherl
This book presents lectures from the Summer School: "Soft Matter Self-Assembly", held in Varenna in June-July 2015. Self-assembly is one of the key concepts in contemporary soft condensed matter: an umbrella term encompassing the various modes of spontaneous organization of micrometer- and submicrometer-size particles into ordered structures of various degrees of complexity and it often relies on remarkably simple interactions and mechanisms. This School was conceived so as to review the different aspects of self-assembly as comprehensively as possible at an advanced level. As such, the School aimed to bring forward the ways in which the behavior of polymers, liquid crystals, and colloids can be used to steer the formation of complex structures by relying, e.g., on forces mediated by an anisotropic, partly ordered solvent or produced by various external fields and on molecular or particle recognition. Also addressed were selected topics in colloid hydrodynamics, wetting and behavior at interfaces in general, given that many experiments and applications involve an ambient fluid, either as the continuum phase in a colloidal dispersion or in the form of a thin film. The School combined lectures describing experimental and practical achievements with the more theoretical and computational views of the field, helping participants to appreciate how closely intertwined they really are.

La Rivista del Nuovo Cimento, Vol. 39, N. 7 (2016)
La Rivista del Nuovo Cimento Three lectures on topological phases of matter
E. Witten
These notes are based on lectures at the Princeton Summer School on Condensed Matter Physics/Prospects in Theoretical Physics (PSSCMP/PiTP) that was held at Princeton University and the Institute for Advanced Study in July, 2015. They are devoted largely to topological phases of matter that can be understood in terms of free fermions and band theory. They also contain an introduction to the fractional quantum Hall effect from the point of view of effective field theory.

EPJ C – Highlights
EPJ C – Highlights Decoherence and oscillations of supernova neutrinos
J. Kersten and A. Yu. Smirnov
Neutrinos are elementary particles known for displaying weak interactions. As a result, neutrinos passing each other in the same place hardly notice one another. Yet, neutrinos inside a supernova collectively behave differently because of their extremely high density. A new study reveals that neutrinos produced in the core of a supernova are highly localised compared to neutrinos from all other known sources. This result stems from a fresh estimate for an entity characterising these neutrinos, known as wave packets, which provide information on both their position and their momentum. These findings have just been published in EPJ C by Jörn Kersten from the University of Bergen, Norway, and his colleague Alexei Yu. Smirnov from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany. The study suggests that the wave packet size is irrelevant in simpler cases. This means that the standard theory for explaining neutrino behaviour, which does not rely on wave packets, now enjoys a more sound theoretical foundation.
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This paper has also been highlighted in Nature Physics

EPJ E – Highlight
EPJ E – Highlight Vesicles-on-a-chip: A universal microfluidic platform for the assembly of liposomes and polymersomes
J. Petit, I. Polenz, J.-C. Baret, S. Herminghaus, O. Bäumchen
Synthetic biology involves creating artificial replica that mimic the building blocks of living systems. It aims at recreating biological phenomena in the laboratory following a bottom-up approach. Today scientists routinely create micro-compartments, so called vesicles, such as liposomes and polymersomes. Their membranes can host biochemical processes and are made of self-assembled lipids or a particular type of polymers, called block copolymers, respectively. In a new study, researchers have developed a high-throughput method, based on an approach known as microfluidics, for creating stable vesicles of controlled size. The method is novel in that it works for both liposomes and polymersomes, without having to change the design of the microfluidic device or the combination of liquids. Julien Petit from the Max Planck Institute for Dynamics and Self-Organisation (MPIDS) in Göttingen, Germany and colleagues recently published these findings in EPJ E.
The paper belongs to the new category "Tips and Tricks" and is published in Open Access
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