Research Project Summaries
Condensed Matter Theory Group, Department of Physics
Theory and Simulation of Metamaterials & Quantum Photonics (Ortwin Hess)
Confining, manipulating and transporting light at small scales has been a challenge for centuries. However, when interacting with metallic nanoparticles, light is effectively tied to them as nano-confined optical fields (plasmons) are generated on scales much smaller than the wavelength.
Complexity in Simple Dynamical Systems (Kim Christensen)
The aim of the science of complexity is to yield insight into the fundamental question of why nature is complex, not simple, as the laws of physics imply. The concept of complexity has been applied in fields spanning statistical mechanics, condensed matter theory, geophysics, economy and biology.
Statistical Physics & Electronic Structure (Dimitri Vvedensky)
Quantum Monte Carlo Simulations of Solids (Matthew Foulkes)
Using quantum Monte Carlo methods and parallel computers, it is now possible to simulate the quantum mechanical behaviour of up to 103 interacting electrons. This allows us to simulate real solids with unprecedented accuracy, avoiding the crude mean-field approximations used in the past. Our computer
experiments are as accurate and reliable as many real experiments, and can answer some questions that real experiments can't.
Quantum States of Matter (Derek Lee)
Condensed matter provides a natural laboratory to study quantum many-body physics. Quantum effects lead to low-temperature phases with spontaneous broken symmetry such as superconductivity, superfluidity and magnetism. In particular, the interplay of quantum statistics, interactions and disorder gives rise to exotic ground states with interesting quantum-coherent dynamics in systems such as high-temperature superconductors, ultracold atomic condensates, and semiconductors in the quantum Hall regime.
Project in collaboration with Andrew Ho (Royal Holloway University of London) on Intertwined order. Start date January 2020. Application deadline: 16 November 2019. This project is funded by the Leverhulme Trust. The studentship will cover home fees and provide a stipend at the same level as UKRI/EPSRC studentships. For more information, please contact Derek Lee (dkk.lee at imperial.ac.uk).
Theory and Simulation of Materials (Arash Mostofi)
Materials lie at the heart of almost every modern technology, from components that make up jet aircraft, to transistors in computer chips. I lead a research group dedicated to the application and development of theory and computational simulation tools for understanding and predicting the behaviour of materials from atomic length-scales up. In my group we develop and use methods at a wide range of length and time-scales, combining analytical theory, quantum mechanical first-principles simulations of interacting electrons and nuclei, atomistic simulations that use simpler models of interatomic bonding, coarse-grained molecular dynamics and Monte Carlo techniques. We also work closely with experimental colleagues to validate and verify our results and predictions. Current lines of research in the group span a broad range of phenomena and materials, including structure-property relations in complex oxides, optoelectronic properties of 2D materials, and electrical and mechanical properties of organic-inorganic interfaces. Prospective graduate students interested in these areas are welcome to get in touch with me directly to discuss potential projects and funding.
Theory and Simulation of Materials (Mike Finnis)
My research is about understanding some of the many ways, some quite extraordinary, that atoms arrange themselves in solid matter, and how these arrangements explain or predict the physical properties of a material. Materials, like people, are interesting because of their defects, which include vacancies, interstitials, impurities, dislocations, interfaces, surfaces and more. At Imperial, we theorists have the opportunity to interact with scientists who use state-of-the art microscopes and spectroscopies to study such defects right down to the atomic scale. The challenge is to apply our rapidly expanding knowledge and techniques of quantum mechanics, including the development and use of computer codes, to explain or predict what can now be seen, and how the structure at the atomic scale effects things like strength, stability or conductivity.