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Richard Needs

Prof Richard Needs

Prof Richard Needs

Fellow of Robinson College

Office: 535 Mott Bld
Phone: +44(0)1223 3 37384
Email: rn11 @
Personal web site

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


Advances in highly accurate methods for calculating the ground and excited state energies of large assemblies of atoms are allowing ever more sophisticated studies of materials at the most fundamental level. Such calculations make it possible to predict a wide range of properties of critical importance in many branches of science and engineering, and serve as benchmarks against which other more approximate approaches may be judged. We use a wide range of electronic structure techniques, including quantum Monte Carlo methods, local density functional theory, many-body perturbation theory and, to a lesser extent, Hartree-Fock and configuration interaction methods. Our main focus is on the ground and excited state properties of solids, including the properties of point defects and surfaces. Our approach is targeted at predicting the physical properties of real systems using no input beyond that of the atomic numbers of the constituent atoms.

In Plain English

I devise computer models of materials at the quantum level, and use them to predict the behaviour of materials. The aims are to encourage researchers to try and make the suggested materials, which might have interesting or useful properties, and to further our understanding of materials in general.