Imperial College London

Annual prize winners announced by CDT on Theory and Simulation of Materials


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The ESPRC Centre for Doctoral Training on Theory and Simulation of Materials have announced the winners of their annual awards.

We are extremely proud of the fantastic achievements of CDT students in scientific research and outreach, as well as the many student contributions to the CDT last year Centre for Doctoral Training on Theory and Simulation of Materials

The Department of Materials would like to congratulate the following Materials Postgraduate-Research students, who were awarded a prize for their fantastic achievements over the past year from the CDT on Theory and Simulation of Materials.

Overall five PhD students from the Department were awarded a prize, in addition to a PhD student who is co-supervised by Johannes Lischner. The CDT on TSM have praised the students and detailed their reasoning for awarding each prize.

Materials Design Graduate Research Prize

Zachary Goodwin

Zachary is awarded this prize for his work on modelling twisted bilayer graphene. Specifically, he has developed new techniques to study the strength of electron correlations in this system - which has a unit cell containing more than 10,000 atoms.

This has led to new insights and he has explained the experimentally observed twist angle sensitivity of strong correlation phenomena and also predicted the possibility to control electronic screening through substrate engineering (which was verified by subsequent experiments). Zachary has published the following papers: 

Twist-angle sensitivity of electron correlations in moiré graphene bilayers

Critical role of device geometry for the phase diagram of twisted bilayer graphene

Attractive electron-electron interactions from internal screening in magic-angle twisted bilayer graphene

Johnson Matthey PhD Prize

Lara Roman Castellanos and Christopher Ablitt

Lara is awarded the Johnson Matthey PhD Prize for her impressive work on plasmon-induced hot electrons in metallic nanoparticles. Lara developed a new approach to describe the decay of quantized plasmons into energetic electrons and holes and implemented this into a new computer code that combines jellium DFT, TDDFT and many-body perturbation theory. Lara has published the following papers:

Coulomb effects on the photoexcited quantum dynamics of electrons in a plasmonic nanosphere

Christopher is awarded the Johnson Matthey PhD Prize for his outstanding work on modelling complex oxide materials. He developed an original understanding of the origin of negative thermal expansion in these materials and generalised this concept to various families of materials where NTE was not previously discussed. Christopher has published the following papers: 

Major Contribution to the Life of the CDT prize

Miriam Scharnke

Miriam has contributed significantly to the life of the CDT. Miriam was a key organiser of Cohort 10’s successful Christmas party, volunteered to represent the CDT in the organising committee of the CDT Festival of Science and Engineering and is an outspoken advocate on issues of equality and mental health.

Outreach prize

Jana Smutna, Martik Aghajanian and Zachary Goodwin

Zachary is awarded the outreach prize for his contribution in last year’s Exhibition Road Festival where he organised a highly successful stand on twisted bilayer graphene. Jana and Martik have been consistently engaged with outreach events, also including the Code of Creation stand of the CDT at the Great Exhibition Road Festival.


Kayleigh Brewer

Kayleigh Brewer
Department of Materials


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