Dr. Popov’s research interests are in the field of theoretical soft condensed matter physics. Two primary subjects of his research have been colloids (tiny solid particles dispersed evenly throughout a fluid) and polymers (long chain-like molecules composed of many repeating structural subunits connected by covalent bonds). Dr. Popov investigated phenomena and developed models based on the powerful machinery of statistical physics. His research on colloids involved the so-called “coffee stain” problem: When a colloidal drop dries, why is the residue concentrated entirely at its perimeter? (Because stronger evaporation at the edges drives the deposition!)
Dr. Popov’s polymer research explored the micromechanical properties of DNA: How do the kink-like structural defects affect the elastic response of a single DNA molecule? How does the nucleotide sequence disorder affect the looping properties of DNA molecules? He also studied formation of complexes and their phase behavior in the oppositely charged polymer mixtures, where thermal randomness competes with long-range electrostatic interactions.
Field-theoretic simulations of polyelectrolyte complexation, Journal of Polymer Science B: Polymer Physics, 45, 3223-3230 (2007).
Effects of kinks on DNA elasticity, Physical Review E, 71, 051905 (2005).
Evaporative deposition patterns: Spatial dimensions of the deposit, Physical Review E, 71, 036313 (2005).
Characteristic angles in the wetting of an angular region: Deposit growth, Physical Review E, 68, 036306 (2003).