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Spectral theory of relativistic quantum Hamiltonians

   School of Science

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  Dr Lukas Schimmer  No more applications being accepted  Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The development of quantum mechanics is a great example of how mathematics and physics can stimulate mutual progress. At the core of this success story stands the spectral theory of self-adjoint operators – so called Hamiltonians – which determine the energy and time evolution of quantum systems. The results of this combined effort have found a large number of applications in industry. However, attempts to incorporate relativistic effects have encountered many difficulties, both for the physical interpretation as well as for the mathematical analysis. At present, there are knowledge gaps between physics, mathematics and applications. This provides a unique opportunity to put ideas that already yield good numerical results in applications onto a rigorous mathematical footing and at the same time to challenge accepted viewpoints in physics.

This project will focus on the spectral theory of relativistic Hamiltonians, specifically on the famous Dirac operators. Of particular importance are bound state energies given by the eigenvalues of Dirac operators. Even for a system comprised of a single relativistic particle, there are several mathematical concepts that are very poorly understood. This is in large part owed to the Dirac operator missing an important property compared to its non-relativistic counterpart: semiboundedness. Motivated by recent advances in the generalisation of this property, the aim of this project will be to extend concepts such as variational principles, eigenvalue bounds and eigenvalue asymptotics from the non-relativistic case to Dirac operators.

The successful candidate will be part of the Analysis and PDE group at Loughborough University, benefitting from a stimulating environment that includes weekly research seminars, diverse expertise in spectral theory and mathematical physics, as well as links with research groups across the UK and EU. The university provides supportive and flexible working arrangements. It is a member of the Race Equality Charter, a Disability Confident Leader and a Stonewall Diversity Champion. The School of Science holds an Athena SWAN bronze award for gender equality.


Dr Lukas Schimmer - [Email Address Removed]

Entry requirements for United Kingdom

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in mathematics or physics. A relevant Master’s degree and/or a strong background in analysis are of advantage.

English language requirements

Applicants must meet the minimum English language requirements. Further details are available on the International website.

Find out more about research degree funding

How to apply

All applications should be made online. Under programme name, select Mathematical Sciences. Please quote the advertised reference number: SCI23-LS in your application. See studentship assessment criteria.

To avoid delays in processing your application, please ensure that you submit the minimum supporting documents.

Apply now

Funding Notes

UK fee
Fully funded full-time degree per annum
International fee
Fully funded full-time degree per annum
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