2016 Impact factor 1.461
Condensed Matter and Complex Systems


EPJ E Highlight - Asymmetrical magnetic microbeads transform into micro-robots

Transformation of particle clusters while exposed to an oscillating external magnetic field.

Thanks to the ordering effects of two-faced magnetic beads, they can be turned into useful tools controlled by a changing external magnetic field

Janus was a Roman god with two distinct faces. Thousands of years later, he inspired material scientists working on asymmetrical microscopic spheres - with both a magnetic and a non-magnetic half - called Janus particles. Instead of behaving like normal magnetic beads, with opposite poles attracting, Janus particle assemblies look as if poles of the same type attract each other. A new study reveals that the dynamics of such assemblies can be predicted by modelling the interaction of only two particles and simply taking into account their magnetic asymmetry. These findings were recently published in EPJ E by Gabi Steinbach from the Chemnitz University of Technology, Germany, and colleagues at the Helmholtz-Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf. It is part of a topical issue entitled "Nonequilibrium Collective Dynamics in Condensed and Biological Matter." The observed effects were exploited in a lab-on-a-chip application in which microscopic systems perform tasks in response to a changing external magnetic field.


EPJ C Highlight - Surprising neutrino decoherence inside supernovae

Illustration of the shift of two wave packets with large spread. Loss of coherence occurs even if the packets overlap due to the spatial energy redistribution within the whole wave packets.

Theory to explain collective effects of neutrinos inside supernovae strengthened

Neutrinos are elementary particles known for displaying weak interactions. As a result, neutrinos passing each other in the same place hardly notice one another. Yet, neutrinos inside a supernova collectively behave differently because of their extremely high density. A new study reveals that neutrinos produced in the core of a supernova are highly localised compared to neutrinos from all other known sources. This result stems from a fresh estimate for an entity characterising these neutrinos, known as wave packets, which provide information on both their position and their momentum. These findings have just been published in EPJ C by Jörn Kersten from the University of Bergen, Norway, and his colleague Alexei Yu. Smirnov from the Max Planck Institute for Nuclear Physics in Heidelberg, Germany. The study suggests that the wave packet size is irrelevant in simpler cases. This means that the standard theory for explaining neutrino behaviour, which does not rely on wavepackets, now enjoys a more sound theoretical foundation.


Regine von Klitzing wins the 2016 EPJE Pierre-Gilles de Gennes Lecture Prize

Regine von Klitzing wins the 2016 EPJE Pierre-Gilles de Gennes Lecture Prize.
Regine von Klitzing

The EPJE editors are pleased to announce that this year’s edition of the EPJE Pierre-Gilles de Gennes Lecture Prize goes to German physicist Regine von Klitzing. Von Klitzing was nominated for her important contributions to polymer physics, particularly concerning the structure of polyelectrolyte assemblies and functionalized/responsive microgels. The EPJE Pierre-Gilles de Gennes lecture will be delivered by von Klitzing in Grenoble, France, during the 4th International Soft Matter Conference which takes place from 12 to 16 September 2016.


EPJ B Highlight - How cooperation emerges in competing populations

The fraction of cooperative players as a function of the site-occupancy probability ρ obtained using numerical simulations.

New theoretical approach to understand the dynamics of populations reaching consensus votes or of spreading epidemics

Social behaviour like reaching a consensus is a matter of cooperation. However, individuals in populations often spontaneously compete and only cooperate under certain conditions. These problems are so ubiquitous that physicists have now developed models to understand the underlying logic that drives competition. A new study published in EPJ B shows the dynamics of competing agents with an evolving tendency to collaborate that are linked through a network modelled as a disordered square lattice. These results are the work of Chen Xu from Soochow University, Suzhou, China and colleagues. They believe that their theoretical framework can be applied to many other problems related to understanding the dynamical processes in complex systems and networked populations, such as the voter dynamics involved in reaching a consensus and spreading dynamics in epidemic models and in social networks.


Plasma Physicist Kurt H. Becker Elected to Board of Directors of National Academy of Inventors

Kurt Becker
Kurt Becker Ph.D - former Editor-in-Chief of EPJ D and currently serving as the North American Regional Editor for the journal as well as an Editor for EPJ Special Topics - vice dean for research, innovation and entrepreneurship at NYU Tandon School of Engineering has been named to the board of directors of the National Academy of Inventors. For more information, see the press release on http://engineering.nyu.edu

EPJ D Highlight - Electron scavenging to mimic radiation damage

Molecule of trifluoroacetamide (TFAA).

New study could help unveil negative effect of radiation on biological tissues due to better understanding of low energy electron-induced reactions

High energy radiation affects biological tissues, leading to short-term reactions. These generate, as a secondary product, electrons with low energy, referred to as LEEs, which are ultimately involved in radiation damage. In a new study, scientists study the effect of LEEs on a material called trifluoroacetamide (TFAA). This material was selected because it is suitable for electron scavenging using a process known as dissociative electron attachment (DEA). These findings were recently published in EPJ D by Janina Kopyra of Siedlce University, Poland, and colleagues in Germany, as part of a topical issue on Advances in Positron and Electron Scattering.


EPJ E interview – Daan Frenkel. Simulating soft matter through the lens of statistical mechanics

© Daan Frenkel

Daan Frenkel has been awarded the most important prize in the field of statistical mechanics, the 2016 Boltzmann Medal. The award recognises Frenkel’s seminal contributions to the statistical-mechanical understanding of the kinetics, self-assembly and phase behaviour of soft matter. The honour recognises Frenkel’s highly creative large-scale simulations of soft matter capable of explaining the self-assembly of complex macromolecular systems, colloidal and biomolecular systems.
Frenkel is Professor of Theoretical Chemistry at the University of Cambridge, UK and has been Editor in Chief of EPJ E between 2010 and 2014. In this interview with Sabine Louet, Frenkel gives his views on statistical physics, which has become more relevant than ever for interdisciplinary research. He also offers some pearls of wisdom for the next generation Statistical Mechanics experts. The full interview is published in the June issue of EPJE.


EPJ E interview – Yves Pomeau. The universality of statistical physics interpretation is ever more obvious

During the StatPhys Conference on 20th July 2016 in Lyon, France, Yves Pomeau and Daan Frenkel will be awarded the most important prize in the field of Statistical Mechanics: the 2016 Boltzmann Medal. The award recognizes Pomeau’s key contributions to the Statistical Physics of non-equilibrium phenomena in general. And, in particular, for developing our modern understanding of fluid mechanics, instabilities, pattern formation and chaos.
Pomeau, who is an Editor for the European Physical Journal Special Topics, is recognised as an outstanding theorist bridging disciplines from applied mathematics to statistical physics with a profound impact on the neighbouring fields of turbulence and mechanics. In an interview with Sabine Louet, published in EPJ E, Pomeau shares his views and tells how he experienced the rise of Statistical Mechanics in the past few decades. He also touches upon the need to provide funding to people who have the rare ability to discover new things and ideas, and not just those who are good at filling in grant application forms. The full interview is published in the June issue of EPJE.


EPJ B Highlight - Surprising qualities of insulator ring surfaces

A ring torus embedded in 3D-space.

Surface phenomena in ring-shaped topological insulators are just as controllable as those in spheres made of the same material

Topological insulators behave like insulators at their core and allow good conductivity on their surface. They owe their characteristics to a new quantum state within the material discovered in 2007 and 2009 for 2D and 3D materials, respectively. Scientists studying the surface of ring-shaped, or toric, topological insulators, have just discovered some characteristics that had only previously been confirmed in spheres. Jakson Fonseca from the University Federal of Viçosa, Brazil, and colleagues describe their findings in a paper published in EPJ B. These results could hold considerable potential for applications in electronics. Indeed, this discovery means that the curved surface induces internal fields, called gauge fields, in the electrons carrying the electric charge located at the surface. By contrast, in graphene, similar fiels have been induced by mechanical tensions or defects in the way the carbon atoms are arranged in the one-atom-thick honeycomb lattice.


EPJ A Highlight - Germanium detectors get position sensitive

Interaction positions determined by the pulse shape analysis of AGATA and the AGATA spectrometer at GANIL (picture by P. Lecomte).

High purity germanium detectors have grown into the most popular devices within the field of gamma ray spectroscopy. The sensitive part of these detectors consist of the largest, purest and monocrystalline semi-conductors used on earth. In the past Ge, detectors were famous for their outstanding energy resolution and timing information for electromagnetic radiation, especially in the field of nuclear physics and nuclear astrophysics. Recently the introduction of digital data acquisition systems and the segmentation of the Ge crystals opened up new opportunities. The interaction position of the gamma rays inside the detector volume provides new additional information by means of the pulse shape of the various signals. In this way, the Ge detector becomes a position sensitive device and allows for a novel detection method called gamma-ray tracking.


Executive Editors:
Eduardo Hernandez, Heiko Rieger, Bikas K. Chakrabarti, Wenhui Duan
Thank you for the very fruitful and efficient collaboration. It has been a pleasure!!

Paul van Loosdrecht, Guest Editor Topical issue: Excitonic Processes in Condensed Matter, Nanostructured and Molecular Materials, 2013

ISSN (Print Edition): 1434-6028
ISSN (Electronic Edition): 1434-6036

© EDP Sciences, Società Italiana di Fisica and Springer-Verlag

Conference announcements


Magnetic Island, Queensland, Australia, 22-24 July 2017