I am a materials physicist who applies fundamental physics to understand and predict the structure and properties of materials of technological significance. My interests are at the interface between condensed matter physics and materials science. My work involves theory spanning classical and quantum mechanics, elastic field theory of defects and their interactions in solids, transport of atoms, electrons and heat in solids, thermodynamics and statistical mechanics, electronic structure and interatomic forces.
Although my research is theoretical and computational in nature I have always been attracted to problems that have some experimental and/or engineering significance. I relish the challenge of breaking into areas of materials science where there has been no theory or simulation before, and this explains the unusual breadth of my research, and its problem-driven rather than technique-driven nature, spanning as it does metals and alloys, ceramics, semiconductors, polymers and composites, functional and mechanical properties. The problems I choose usually involve the atomic and molecular length scales, but the influence of atomic scale processes and mechanisms on the evolution of microstructure has also been a theme of my research over the past decade or so. My contributions to materials physics were recognised in 2003 through my election to a Fellowship of the Royal Society.
I am one of the four fellows of the Royal Society who founded the Thomas Young Centre at a meeting in the Royal Institution on July 13, 2005. The other three fellows were Professors Marshall Stoneham (deceased), Gabriel Aeppli and Richard Catlow. The TYC is the London Centre for Theory and Simulation of Materials, and involves more than 80 research groups at Imperial College London, UCL, KCL, QMUL and NPL.
In October 2009 I became the founding director of the Centre for Doctoral Training on Theory and Simulation of Materials. Two years later Professor Peter Haynes became the director of the CDT and I became the chairman.
et al., 2019, A discrete crack dynamics model of toughening in brittle polycrystalline material by crack deflection, Engineering Fracture Mechanics, Vol:214, ISSN:0013-7944, Pages:95-111
et al., 2019, Embrittlement of an elasto-plastic medium by an inclusion, International Journal of Fracture, ISSN:0376-9429
Sutton A, Drautz R, Vitek V, David Godfrey Pettifor. 9 March 1945—16 October 2017, Biographical Memoirs of the Fellows of the Royal Society, ISSN:0080-4606
et al., 2018, Discrete crack dynamics: a planar model of crack propagation and crack-inclusion interactions in brittle materials, International Journal of Solids and Structures, Vol:152-153, ISSN:0020-7683, Pages:12-27
et al., 2018, Instabilities of high speed dislocations, Physical Review Letters, Vol:121, ISSN:0031-9007