• Offered by Physics Education Centre
  • ANU College ANU Joint Colleges of Science
  • Course subject Physics
  • Areas of interest Chemistry, Physics

Soft Condensed Matter is a general term given to materials that are easily deformed or structurally altered due to thermal fluctuations or weak mechanical stresses. The topic includes colloids, polymers, gels, surfactants solutions, liquid crystals, surface forces and biological materials. Students will be introduced to soft matter and learn the fundamentals of colloid science, surface forces, polymers and liquid crystals. The topic is necessarily multidisciplinary and will include many examples of everyday phenomena and will be of interest to chemists, engineers and biologists as well as physics students.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

Upon successful completion of this course, students will have the knowledge and skills to:
  1. Explain the significance of soft condensed matter both scientifically and in the wider community.
  2. Explain material properties using a fundamental knowledge of Colloid and Interface Science
  3. Describe polymer solutions using the fundamental basic physics
  4. Demonstrate a basic knowledge of the physics of liquid crystal systems
  5. Recognize everyday examples of soft matter systems and use material learned in the course to understand the behavior of such systems

Indicative Assessment

Assessment will be based on:
  • Exam (45%, LO 1-5)
  • Laboratory work (30%, LO1-5)
  • Assignments (25%, LO 1-5)

In response to COVID-19: Please note that Semester 2 Class Summary information (available under the classes tab) is as up to date as possible. Changes to Class Summaries not captured by this publication will be available to enrolled students via Wattle. 

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Three lectures per week and 8 x 3 hour laboratory classes

Requisite and Incompatibility

Completion of 48 units including 12 units of 1000 level PHYS, CHEM or ENGN coded courses

Prescribed Texts

Soft Condensed Matter, Richard A. L. Jones, Oxford University Press, ISBN 019 850589 2
Soft Matter Physics an Introduction, Maurice Klemen & Oleg D. Lavrentovich, Springer, ISBN 0-387-95267-5
Intermolecular and Surface Forces, Israelachvili

Assumed Knowledge

Students should have completed mathematics in high school at a high level.


Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

If you are a domestic graduate coursework or international student you will be required to pay tuition fees. Tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are an undergraduate student and have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). You can find your student contribution amount for each course at Fees.  Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $4050
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2020 $5760
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Second Semester

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
6473 26 Jul 2021 02 Aug 2021 31 Aug 2021 29 Oct 2021 In Person N/A

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