PCC-31303 Research Methods Soft Matter


Credits 3.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Course coordinator(s)dr. TE Kodger
Lecturer(s)ing. RG Fokkink
dr. TE Kodger
Examiner(s)dr. TE Kodger

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Soft Matter PCC-20806 and /or Advanced Soft Matter PCC-31806.


Note: this course has a maximum number of participants. The deadline for registration is one week earlier than usual.
See academic year: (http://www.wur.nl/en/Education-Programmes/Current-Students/Agenda-Calendar-Academic-Year.htm)->Registration for Courses.
In the practical course Research Methods Soft Matter some modern advanced techniques in the field of (bio) interfacial chemistry & soft matter science are introduced: dynamic light scattering (study of particle sizes & dynamics), static light scattering (study of microscopic structure), indentation (substrate moduli and adhesion energy), optical trapping (microscopic force measurements) and confocal laser scanning microscopy with quantitative image analysis. The course is particularly meant for students Molecular Life Sciences, Biotechnology, Food Technology and Environmental Sciences, who work with e.g. proteins, bacteria, (bio)polymers, pesticides and surfactants in solution and/or in the presence of interfaces (as e.g. in bioreactors) during a master project. It represents a good introduction to a master project at the Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Colloid Science. Often the techniques can also be used by students carrying out a master project in Biotechnology, Food Technology or Environmental Sciences.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to
1. Explain and apply the basic principles of:
- optical microscopy, including confocal microscopy;
- image filtering & quantitative image analysis;
- static and dynamic light scattering;
- indentation and adhesion tests;
- optical trapping and manipulation

2. Independently perform and judge:
- dynamic light scattering measurements and analyze correlation functions manually and using CONTIN analysis;
- static light-scattering experiments and extract quantitative data through fitting with theoretical models, to extract particles sizes, molecular weights, and sample microstructure;
- indentation instrumentation and experiments with analysis to extract material stiffness and adhesion energy;
- quantitative confocal microscopy experiments, and judge image quality in terms of dynamic range, contrast and noise levels, and to enhance image quality and extract quantitative data using image filtering methods.
3. Design and develop the inner workings of instrumentation. 


- construct scientific instruments from components;

- practice experimentally theoretical principles and the inner workings of components;

- carry out the different experimental techniques as a group;

- process and interpret experimental data and write short reports.


The final mark is based on:
- experimental performance (45%, minimum mark 5.5);
- short written group laboratory reports on each research methodology (45%, minimum mark 5.5).
- group contribution (10%, evaluated through peer feedback, minimum mark 5.5) 

Interim marks remain valid for three years.


Syllabus: Reader of Research Methods Soft Matter, Laboratory of Physical Chemistry and Soft Matter, latest version; written by TE Kodger and RG Fokkink.

Restricted Optional for: MMLMolecular Life SciencesMSc3AF