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Research Unit:

Computational Materials Science and Condensed Matter Theory

Research areas:

Computational determination of surfaces and nanostructures- the research acitivities in this area focus on using and developing various computational tools to study the structure of extended and nanoscale surfaces. Experimental results obtained by techniques such as LEED and STM are analysed and interpreted so as to understand the physics and chemistry behind the phenomena occuring on such surfaces.

Ab initio and tight-binding modelling of materials structure and properties-The structure and properties of various novel materials are modelled using various state of the art theoretical tools such as density functional theory and tight-binding molecular dynamics models. Our objective is to throw light on various physical mechanisms which are responsible for the novel properties of the materials developed.

Condensed matter theory-The research in this area focuses on quantum transport, spintronics and optical processes in nanostructures. Materials of interest include semiconductors, graphene and superconductors. Our interest is not only in the fundamental physics but also in the applications in devices, such as quantum computing devices, transistors, lasers and spintronic devices. Both analytical and numerical techniques are used in the research.

Metamaterials-The research interests in this area are: (a) the development of man-made materials/structures with special optical and acoustic properties, such as a negative refractive index; (b) transformation optics for the design and development of optical devices with novel functionalities, such as an invisibility cloak, an invisibility carpet or an ultra-powerful microscope.

Micromagnetism- Micromagnetism describes the magnetization vector field dynamics in micro- and nano-scale magnetic systems. Usually, the Landau-Lifshitz-Gilbert equation is used to solve time-dependent micromagnetic problems. In modern spintronic devices an additional Slonczewski term is introduced to account the spin-transfer torque. This equation is highly nonlinear in nature and, for this reason, it is generally solved by using numerical techniques. Our objective is to interpret, and possibly predict, the behavior of interacting magnetic particles and novel spintronic devices.

Staff in this unit

Prof M A Van Hove (Computational determination of surface structures)

Dr R Q Zhang (Ab initio modelling, tight-binding modelling)

Dr K S Chan (Condensed matter theory: quantum transport and optical processes in nanostructures, spintronics, superconductor junctions)

Dr Jensen Li (Metamaterials, transformation optics)

Dr Antonio Ruotolo (Micromagnetism)

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