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Michael Hutcheon

 Michael Hutcheon

Michael Hutcheon

Member of Hughes Hall
PhD student in Prof Needs' group

Office: 543 Mott Bld
Phone: +44(0)1223 3 37466
Email: mjh261 @
Personal web site

TCM Group, Cavendish Laboratory
19 JJ Thomson Avenue,
Cambridge, CB3 0HE UK.


My research focuses on the simulation of correlated quantum systems and quasiparticle excitations using diffusion Monte Carlo (DMC) and density functional theory (DFT). These simulations are geared towards investigating the relative stability of crystalline phases and how the shape of the Born-Oppenheimer energy surface impacts phase transition mechanisms. I use ab initio random structure searching (AIRSS) to find stable crystal structures of a material of interest, which correspond to minima of the Born-Oppenheimer surface. From the shape of the surface near these minima we can derive dynamical effects, including lattice vibrations (phonons, anharmonic corrections) and minimum energy pathways between phases. For more information please visit my homepage.

In Plain English

I look at how the electrons and nuclei that make up materials behave. In particular I look at what happens when the nuclei wiggle around, and how they manage to wiggle their way into entirely different arrangements. Because they are so small, they behave very differently to our everyday experience of the world and must be described using quantum mechanics. Unfortunately quantum mechanics is hard, so I use a big computer to do it for me.