Research in Physics, Biological and Soft Matter Physics

Research in Physics, Biological and Soft Matter Physics is one of the two research directions in experimental physics at the Leiden Institute of Physics.

Biological Physics

Biological Physics aims to understand biological processes in their natural context, being cells and tissues. This research is typically performed at the interface of medical, biological and physical sciences.

Soft Matter Physics

Soft Matter Physics focuses on the physics of soft materials, spanning from the microscopic interactions and assembly of colloids and polymers to the macroscopic behaviour of granular media, and the physics of folding and metamaterials. Based on the conceptual, theoretical and quantitative approach used in physics, the biological knowledge and experimental approaches are acquired in lectures, seminars and lab classes.

Similar to the other Research in Physics programmes, this programme guarantees a thorough experience on the frontline of physics research with a practical training of communicative and computer skills. It includes two experimental projects, performed in a master-apprentice setting in physics research groups active in the field of ‘Biological and Soft Matter Physics’, and a full year of courses at the undergraduate level. It also includes up to a full year of courses at undergraduate level, with mandatory courses in quantum theory and statistical physics.

About the research section Biological and Soft Matter Physics

One part of our cluster studies the mechanics of biological matter at the cellular level and beyond. We test for example the elasticity and stiffness of cells, DNA-molecules and membranes. In the end, we try to get a better understanding of diseases like cancer and Parkinson and the mechanisms behind heredity and evolution.
Another part of our cluster researches the properties of liquids, gels, colloids and foams. In short, anything that is soft. We research for example the influence of hole patterns on the bending of rubber or we make models of proteins by using colloids—large particles acting as nanoparticles. We also design imaging techniques such as fluorescence microscopy and electron paramagnetic resonance to study single molecules and paramagnetic materials.

Reasons to Choose Physics in Leiden

  1. The programme places a strong emphasis on research training. Students can spend up to 60% of their time on research projects.
  2. Leiden University is known for its top-level international research and excellent research groups, both theoretical and experimental, in which master’s students participate during their research projects. Many master’s students obtain their degree with a publication in an international refereed journal.
  3. The programme offers a wide choice of individual profiles. Five specialisations have been defined within this master’s programme. Individual plans can always be discussed with the study adviser and submitted to the Board of Examiners for approval.
  4. The close connection between the MSc programme and the Leiden Institute of Physics results in an open atmosphere, in which students are invited to attend lectures and symposia and to participate in scientific discussions.

Master details

  • This is a specialisation of: Physics
  • Degree Master of Science in Physics
  • Mode of study Full-time
  • Duration 2 years
  • Start date Flexible, for international students preferably September or February
  • Language of instruction English
  • Location Leiden
  • Croho/isat code 60202

Introduction: Soft Matter in Leiden

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