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Emergent phenomena in driven soft, active and biological matter

  • Marco Polin, Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies (UIB-CSIC), Spain
  • Chantal Valeriani, Universidad Complutense de Madrid, Spain
  • Roel, Dullens, Radboud University, Institute for Molecules and Materials, The Netherlands

Keywords: self-organisation, active matter, soft matter, biological active matter.

Natural systems driven out of equilibrium display a wide variety of emergent phenomena regulated by underlying laws that are currently poorly understood. Their responses to external stresses and stimuli offer a route to probe fundamental aspects of their dynamics and new avenues to control their behaviour. Soft and biological matter is at the forefront of our quest to understand and control nonequilibrium systems [1,2]. From colloidal living crystals to self-healing cell monolayers, they provide some of the most striking examples of natural non-equilibrium systems. At the same time, they are amenable to detailed experimental investigation and afford varied and increasingly accurate means for external driving [3,4].

This mini-symposium focusses on soft and active matter, aiming to explore how these systems respond to external driving, and to which extent this can be harnessed to control their dynamical properties. To this end, we will bring together experimental and numerical experts and early stage researchers working at the intersection of soft, active and biological matter ranging from phase behaviour in colloidal systems to intrinsic response to environmental stimuli in active and biological matter. The goal is to advance the community working in this field throughout Europe and beyond and foster interdisciplinary collaborations.

Our workshop will focus on three main topics:

  • Driven soft matter
  • Driven synthetic active colloids
  • Directing collective behaviour in biological active matter
                         a)   b)      c)

Figure 3: (a) Emergent colloidal vortices in banana-shaped colloids. (b)Snapshots of a suspension of Active Brownian particles in a MIPS state (a, and a zoomed version of it on the right-hand side). Purple: hexatic phase; Green: monomers; Blue: dimers. (c) Experimental flow fields of a single light-induced bioconvective plume of motile microalgae.


[1] S. Ramaswamy, Active Matter, J. Stat. Mech. 26,054002 (2017).

[2] D. Needleman, Z. Dogic, Active matter at the interface between materials science and cell biology. Nat. Rev. Mater. 2, 17048 (2017). 

[3] C.Bechinger, R. Di Leonardo, H. Lowen, C.Reichhardt, G.Volpe, G. Volpe, Active particles in complex and crowded environments, Rev. Mod. Phys. 88, 045006 (2016).

[4] S. A. Mallory, C. Valeriani, A. Cacciuto, An Active Approach to Colloidal Self- Assembly, Annu. Rev. Phys. Chem. 69, 59 (2018).

Key dates

Early registration deadline:

5 June 2022

Registration deadline:

21 July 2022


The programme is complemented by a large physics and physics instrumentation exhibition proposed by the conference’s partners. If you wish to exhibit at this conference, you can find more information here.

Jointly organised by the EPS and IOP