Self-Assembly of Block Copolymers: Theoretical Models and Mathematical Challenges (10w5105)

Arriving in Banff, Alberta Sunday, May 23 and departing Friday May 28, 2010


(McGill University)

(Hokkaido University)

(McMaster University)


The main objective of this workshop is to bring together applied mathematicians with strong interests in problems stemming from the material sciences, particularly polymeric materials, and physicists and engineers at the forefront research on inhomogeneous polymers, particularly self-assembly of block copolymers. Given the tremendous activities and interests in block copolymer structures, it is important and timely to bring together these two communities. So far, most mathematical work on block copolymer phases has centred on the simplified Ohta-Kawasaki model. These activities have lead to some rich mathematics and will no doubt continue to drive mathematical work in the future. It is therefore natural to extend the activities of applied mathematicians to other underlying equilibrium theories of inhomogeneous polymers. From a scientific point of view, the field theoretical models of polymers, such as the self-consistent field theory (SCFT), have had a massive impact in many areas of physics and engineering. However these models have largely been untouched by applied mathematicians. Given the complex nonlinear and nonlocal structure of the SCFT equations, it is very likely that the SCFT model could lead to some interesting new mathematics. Furthermore, the substantial computational components in the theoretical studies of block copolymers makes the area ripe for a more mathematical perspective - be it in terms of rigor or in terms of computational sophistication.

The 5-day workshop will be attended by senior participants and graduate students/postdoctoral fellows. Given the nature of the workshop, a few well-chosen speakers would discuss introductory matters, including a few minicourses on specified topics such as an introduction and history of the SCFT and the self-assembly of block copolymers. The rest of the talks would be on recent progress in theoretical and mathematical studies of block copolymer self-assembly.