Peter Olmsted

Peter D. Olmsted

Peter Olmstead

Joseph Semmes Ives Chair in Physics

Mail: 506 Reiss Science Building
Office: 404 Regents Hall
Telephone: +1 (202) 687-9141
Personal Research PageGoogle Scholar
List of all Publications, publications (preprints) on ArXiv

Peter Olmsted received an AB in Physics from Cornell (1984); and a PhD in Physics from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (1991), where he studied the theory of liquid crystal hydrodynamics and non-equilibrium phase transitions. Following post-docs at Exxon, Cambridge, and the University of Michigan, where he worked on the theory of a variety of different soft materials (microrheology, membrane dynamics, polymer phase separation, biophysics, liquid crystals and liquid crystalline elastomers), he moved to Leeds in 1996 for a University Research Fellowship. He became Professor in 2005, and led the Soft Matter Physics group in Leeds from 2008-2013. While in the UK he was in several European Union networks on Soft Matter, and led the EU Integrated Training Network DYNACOP (Dynamics of Architecturally Complex Fluids) from 2008-2012.   In 2014 he moved to Georgetown University in Washington DC, as Joseph Semmes Ives Chair in Physics, where he joined the Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology (ISM2), where he was Director from 2015-2021. He was the Secretary/Treasurer of the APS Topical Group on Soft Matter (DSOFT) from 2014-2018.

Olmsted is a Fellow of the Institute of Physics (UK), the American Physical Society (Division of Polymer Physics), and the Society of Rheology, and he was awarded the British Society of Rheology Annual Award in 2008. His research achievements include models for polymer crystallization at rest and under flow, theories for shear banding in complex fluids such as polymer and surfactants, an experimental-computational collaboration that revealed how mechanical force unfolds proteins, and recent work on polymer dynamics and disentanglement during additive manufacturing.

Current Research

Olmsted’s current research is mainly theory and computer simulation, and includes rheology, dynamics and instabilities in soft matter, polymers, lipid membranes, and proteins. Common threads in his work are phase transitions, non-equilibrium phenomena, and fluctuations. He works closely with experimentalists, and often on industrially-motivated problems. 

Recent & Selected Publications

  1. “Cooperative intramolecular dynamics control the chain-length dependent glass transition in polymers”, Daniel L. Baker, Matthew Reynolds, Robin Masurel, Peter D. Olmsted, and Johan Mattsson, Physical Review X 12 (2022) 021047.
  2. “Probing the nonequilibrium dynamics of stress, orientation, and entanglements in polymer melts with orthogonal interrupted shear simulations”, Marco A. Galvani Cunha, Peter D. Olmsted and Mark O. Robbins, Journal of Rheology 66 (2022) 619.
  3. “Microscopic interactions and emerging elasticity in model soft particulate gels”, Minaspi Bantawa, Wayan A Fontaine-Seiler, Peter D Olmsted, and Emanuela Del Gado, J. Physics: Condens. Matter 33 (2021) 414001.
  4. “Fluctuating viscoelasticity based on a finite number of dumbbells”, Markus Hutter, Peter D. Olmsted, and Daniel J. Read, European Physical Journal E 43 (2020) 71.
  5. “Particle formation mechanisms in the reprecipitation of polymers”, Chen Zhao, Scott Melis, Eleni P. Hughes, Tingting Li, Xinran Zhang, Peter D. Olmsted, and Edward Van Keuren, Langmuir 36 (2020) 13210-13217.
  6. “Scission of flexible polymers in contraction flow: predicting the effects of multiple passages”, Sandeep Garrepally, Stephane Jouenne, Peter D. Olmsted, and Francois Lequeux, Journal of Rheology 64 (2020) 601-614.
  7. “Non-local modelling in polymeric flows”, Sandra Lerouge and Peter D Olmsted (invited review), Frontiers in Physics 7 (2020) 246 .
  8. “Effects of passive phospholipid flip-flop and asymmetric external fields on bilayer phase equilibria”, JJ Williamson and Peter D Olmsted, Biophysical Journal 115 (2018) 1956-1965.
  9. “Frustration and thermalization in an artificial magnetic quasicrystal”m Dong Shi, Zoe Budrikis, Aaron Stein,  Sophie A. Morley,  Peter D. Olmsted,  Gavin Burnell &  Christopher H. Marrows, Nature Physics 14 (2018) 309-314.
  10. “Disentanglement effects on welding behaviour of polymer melts during the fused-filament-fabrication method for additive manufacturing”, Claire McIlroy and P. D. Olmsted, Polymer 123 (2017) 376-391
  11. “Deformation of an Amorphous Polymer during the Fused-Filament-Fabrication Method for Additive Manufacturing, Claire McIlroy and P.D. Olmsted,   Journal of Rheology 61 (2017) 379-397.
  12. “Roles of inter-leaflet coupling and hydrophobic mismatch in lipid membrane phase-separation kinetics”, P.W. Fowler, J. J. Williamson, M. S. P. Sansom, and P. D. Olmsted,  Journal of the American Chemical Society 138 (2016) 11633-11642.
  13. “The Physics of Stratum Corneum Lipid Bilayers”, C. Das and P. D. Olmsted,  Philosophical Transactions A 374 (2016) 20150126.
  14. “Comment on “Elastic Membrane Deformations Govern Interleaflet Coupling of Lipid-Ordered Domains”, J.J. Williamson and P. D. Olmsted, Physical Review Letters 116 (2016) 079801.
  15. “Kinetics of symmetry and asymmetry in a phase-separating bilayer membrane”, J. J. Williamson and P. D. Olmsted, Physical Review E 92 (2015) 052721
  16. “Perspectives on the viscoelasticity and flow behavior of entangled linear and branched polymers”, F. Snijkers, R. Pasquino, P. D. Olmsted, D. Vlassopoulos, Journal of Physics Condensed Matter, 27 (2015) 473002 (Topical Review).
  17. “Nucleation of registered domains in the coupled leaflets of a bilayer”, J. J. Williamson and P. D. Olmsted,  Soft Matter 11 (2015) 8948-8959
  18. “Dynamics of an asymmetric bilayer lipid membrane in a viscous solvent”, R.J. Bingham, S.W. Smye and P.D. Olmsted,  Europhysics Letters 111 (2015) 18004 (Editor’s Choice and Featured Article, 2015).
  19. “Registered and antiregistered phase separation of mixed amphiphilic bilayers”, J. J. Williamson and P. D. Olmsted, Biophysical Journal 108 (2015) 1963-1976 [Cover article] (new window).
  20.  “Amyloid fibril bending and ring formation at liquid interfaces”, Sophia Jordens, Emily E. Riley, Ivan Usov, Lucio Isa, Peter D. Olmsted, and Raffaele Mezzenga, ACS Nano 8 (2014) 11071-11079.
  21. “Fast cholesterol flip-flop and lack of swelling in skin lipid multilayers”, Chinmay Das, Massimo Noro, and Peter D. Olmsted, Soft Matter 10 (2014) 7346.
  22. “Comment on ‘New Experiments for Improved Theoretical Description of Nonlinear Rheology of Entangled Polymers'”, Richard S. Graham, Ewan P. Henry, and Peter D. Olmsted, Macromolecules 46 (2013) 9849-9854.
  23. “Actin Polymerization on Supported Cationic Lipid Membranes”, George Heath, Benjamin Johnson, Peter D Olmsted, Simon Connell, and Stephen D. Evans, Biophysical Journal 105 (2013) 2355-2365.
  24. “Lamellar and inverse micellar structures of skin lipids: Effect of templating”, Chinmay Das, Peter D. Olmsted, and Massimo Noro, Physical Review Letters 111 (2013) 141801.
  25. “Apparent Fracture in Polymer Fluids under Step Shear”, O.S. Agimelen and P. D. Olmsted, Physical Review Letters 110 (2013) 204503.
  26. “Free energy landscapes of proteins: insights from mechanical probes”, Zu Thur Yew, Peter D. Olmsted, and Emanuele Paci, Advances in Chemical Physics “Single-Molecule Biophysics: Experiment and Theory”, 146 (2012) 395-417
  27. “Critical Point Fluctuations in Supported Lipid Membranes”, Simon D. Connell, G. Heath, Peter D. Olmsted, and Anastasis Kisil, Faraday Discussions 161 (2013) 91-111. 
  28. “Transient shear banding in entangled polymers: a study using the Rolie-Poly model”, J. M. Adams, S. M. Fielding, and P. D. Olmsted, Journal of Rheology 55 (2011) 1007-1032
  29. “Nano-scale mechanical probing of supported lipid bilayers with atomic force microscopy”, K. Sheik, C. Das, P. D. Olmsted, and S. D. Connell, Physical Review E 82 (2010) 041920
  30. “Statistical mechanics far from equilibrium: prediction and test for a sheared system”, R. M. L Evans, R. A. Simha, A Baule, and P. D. Olmsted, Physical Review E 81 (2010) 051109.
  31. “Influence of boundary conditions and confinement on nonlocal effects in flows of wormlike micellar systems” C. Masselon, A. Colin, and P. D. Olmsted, Physical Review E 81 (2010) 021502.
  32. “Coarse-grained simulations of flow-induced nucleation in semi-crystalline polymers”, R. S. Graham and P. D. Olmsted, Physical Review Letters 103 (2009) 115702.
  33. “Nonmonotonic models are not necessary to obtain shear banding phenomena in entangled polymer solutions”, J. M. Adams and P. D. Olmsted, Physical Review Letters 102 (2009) 067801
  34. “The interplay between boundary conditions and flow geometries in shear banding: hysteresis, band configurations, and surface transitions”, J. M. Adams, P. D. Olmsted, and S. M. Fielding, J. Non-Newt. Fl. Mech. 151 (2008) 101-11
  35. “The specific work of flow as a criterion for orientation in polymer crystallisation”, O. O. Mykhaylyk, P. Chambon, R. S. Graham, J. P. A. Fairclough, P. D. Olmsted, and A. J. Ryan, Macromolecules 41 (2008) 1901- 1904
  36. “Perspectives on Shear Banding in Complex Fluids”, P. D. Olmsted, Rheologica Acta 47 (2008) 283-300

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Related Links

Institute for Soft Matter Synthesis and Metrology (ISM2) 
Collaborative Research on Soft Matter at Georgetown, spanning the Physics and Chemistry departments.

APS Topical Group on Soft Matter (GSOFT) 
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