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.
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
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
This area of research in TCM is led by Professors Payne, Needs and Artacho.
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.
The area of biology is inspiring an increasing body of varied
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.
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
, along with many other groups
in this University, in this country, and across the world.