About ISM

Interfacial Soft Matter (ISM) is a research network (“Groupement de recherche”) from the CNRS. The network was created in january 2021 and is steered by Lionel Bureau (LIPhy, Grenoble), Cécile Cottin-Bizonne (ILM, Lyon), Benjamin Cross (LIPhy, Grenoble), Vincent Ladmiral (ICGM, Montpelllier), and Joshua McGraw (Gulliver, Paris).

The mission of ISM is to bring together the French community studying the structure and dynamics of the many forms of interfacial soft matter. ISM aims to be a forum for the French and international communities – from physics, chemistry and engineering using a diverse set of experimental, theoretical and computational tools – to create a dynamics for gathering and exchanging ideas.

The organization and dynamics of soft materials can be deeply altered in the vicinity of an interface since the interaction energies there are typically of
the same order of magnitude as those involved in the bulk material. Similarly for the bulk, many soft materials and biological entities can be pictured as
“made of interfaces”: systems such as suspensions of particles or droplets are formed of mesoscale objects interacting via intermolecular and surface forces, the details of which control the macroscopic material properties.
Interfaces are indeed at the heart of a wealth of challenging problems in today’s soft matter science, from DNA transcription, to friction and lubrication, charge regulation, and “smart” functional layers requiring novel syntheses. Additionally, many non-equilibrium systems give rise to spontaneous mobility of particles without the need for an external action. All of these systems, by virtue of their grouping under the heading of “soft”, typically bear the signatures of thermal agitation. Combining all of these
ingredients, the GDR Interfacial Soft Matter (ISM) was created.

The main topics addressed by ISM are broadly divided into 5 themes:

  • Mechanics of soft interfaces
  • Surfaces in contact with electrolytes
  • Active matter
  • Soft functional layers
  • Structure-property relations