Functional complexity in hard, soft and biological matter
A fundamental change is presently taking place in experimental and theoretical approaches to large classes of "strongly correlated" materials, reflecting growing evidence that multiscale complexity (in space and time) is frequently both intrinsic and functional, and further that intimate relationships between hierarchies of functional scales constitute essential "Systems" or "Networks". This complexity provides qualitatively new avenues for predictive design of technological materials, including intrinsically nanoscale ones.
In the search for underpinning concepts and principles, the prevalence of coexisting short- and long-range forces has become apparent as the key in some major classes of materials with emergent "landscapes" of spatio-temporal patterns and associated glassy, hysteretic dynamics. We review our recent work in the context of examples including : strongly-correlated inorganic and organic electronic materials; strongly deformed structural materials; and biological macromolecules.