Gelation is the transition from a viscous liquid to an elastic disordered solid, the gel, due to the formation of a spanning structure, which makes the system able to bear stresses. The slow dynamics and structural arrest associated to it display many feat ures in common with the dynamics of glassy systems, but actually in gelling systems they are directly related to the formation of stable and metastable structures. Therefore it is not obvious that the mechanisms which produce the slow dynamics are the same as in the glass transition.The study of this problem has a great interest, due both to the great relevance of gelling systems (colloids, polymer, proteins...) in our practical life and to the many fundamental implications in the physics of soft matter and disordered systems.This project is aimed to study gelation phenomena by means of numerical simulations. The objectives are the understanding of the interplay between the structure formation and slow dynamics in attractive colloidal systems, the achievemen t of a satisfactory modelization of colloidal gelation and a deeper comprehension of the analogies with the glass transition. We will use molecular dynamics and MonteCarlo simulations on the lattice, which are at the moment the most powerful tools to stud y these systems.The project will allow the applicant to integrate the competences she has developped during her post-doc experience (a Marie Curie Individual Fellowship) within the host group. She will work as a senior post-doc in the host group, with th e possibility of experiencing the training of PhD students and young post-docs.This willhelp her to develop her ability to define and run an independent research programme and will give her the possibility to access to a permanent position at University a nd Research Institutions.
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