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Research in TCM

Statistical Mechanics and Soft Condensed Matter Physics

Classical Statistical Mechanics encompasses a broad range of phenomena where the temperature, time or length scales involved are such that quantum effects can be safely neglected. Our research topics include constrained models (dimer and colouring models, kinetically constrained models); disordered systems (in particular glassy systems); and frustrated magnetic materials. A great deal of modern statistical mechanics is devoted to the understanding of Soft Condensed Matter systems where our research focuses on elastic, hydrodynamical, optical, and material properties on mesoscopic scales. We use statistical mechanics and elasticity theory to model complex solids, in particular liquid crystal elastomers

This area of research in TCM is led by Professor Warner, and Doctors Biggins and Castelnovo.

cholesteric liquid crystal

Electronic Structure

Electronic structure theory has provided research scientists both in academia and industry with an unprecedented ability to make first principles predictions of a wide range of physical and chemical properties of a diverse range of systems limited solely by the available computational power. Genuine academic research, therefore, now lies beyond the standard application of density functional methods. Our research is to develop new methods with greater accuracy (Quantum Monte Carlo) or wider applicability (such as linear scaling for Density-Functional Theory, first-principles molecular dynamics, and time-dependent DFT for non-adiabatic problems), and on novel applications of these methods in physics, biology, chemistry and materials science.

This area of research in TCM is led by Professors Payne, Needs and Artacho.

exchange-correlation hole (QMC)

Collective Quantum Phenomena

Collective phenomena are the defining feature of condensed matter. Our researches in this area are bound together by using common tools - especially field theoretic methods - to address different physical problems. These include the development of ordered quantum states, for example quantum Hall systems, superconductivity and magnetism in strongly correlated metals, Bose-Einstein condensation of dilute gases and of excitons in semiconductors, and quantum critical phenomena in general. Much of our work is motivated by experiment and often in direct collaboration with experimental groups.

This area of research in TCM is led by Professors Cooper, Littlewood, Khmelnitskii and Simons.


Biological Physics

The area of biology is inspiring an increasing body of varied interdisciplinary research in the TCM Group. Prof. Payne's research includes the application of the latest DFT techniques to "small" biological molecules containing a few thousand atoms, which is sufficient to model some protein-protein interactions. Prof. Simons has a major interest in stem and progenitor cell fate in both normal tissue and cancers. He pursues this research with many collaborators in several different medical research centres in Cambridge and the USA.

small intestine

TCM also includes many independent non-permanent researchers some of whom work on the above projects, but some of whom pursue their own programmes in related areas.

TCM is also pleased to collaborate closely with the Biological Physics Sector in the Cavendish, and Theoretical Chemistry , along with many other groups in this University, in this country, and across the world.