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Theory and Computation of spin-wave excitations in crystals

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  • Full or part time
    Prof K Refson
    Prof T Perring
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

About This PhD Project

Project Description

A fully-funded three-year joint PhD studentship at Royal Holloway, University of London and the ISIS spallation neutron facility is available starting October 2018, and is open to applicants from the European Economic Area.

Electronic spin excitations (including spin waves) are key properties of materials ranging from high-Tc superconductors to materials for spintronics devices, and their behaviour is important both from a fundamental condensed-matter perspective as well as for technological applications. They are extensively studied experimentally by means of inelastic neutron scattering at large facilities such as the ISIS spallation neutron source in the UK and many others elsewhere in the world. This project is aimed at developing a complementary capability to compute spin excitations in real materials based on large-scale electronic structure calculations. Computation of ground-state and vibrational excitations (phonons) based on density functional theory (DFT) and related approaches has had huge success over recent years, and computer codes including CASTEP see widespread use by scientists working at experimental neutron scattering facilities. The successful applicant will develop code to extend CASTEP’s capabilities based on the theoretical framework of time-dependent density-functional theory to compute spin-wave susceptibility in energy-momentum space.

CASTEP is a state-of-the art materials modelling code developed in the UK which can exploit parallel high-performance computers such as the ARCHER UK national HPC facility. The successful applicant will learn and become expert in high-performance scientific programming, as well as working at the exciting interface between condensed-matter theory and computation. She or he will be expected to network with both experimental and computational scientists in the UK and internationally and collaborate with the developers of CASTEP and instrument scientists at ISIS.

The successful candidate should have a good degree in physics, at the equivalent level to a UK MSci. A strong education in condensed matter physics, quantum mechanics and electronic structure of solids would be an advantage as will excellent computer programming skills.

Royal Holloway is based in an attractive leafy campus close to London ISIS is a world leading facility for condensed matter research using neutron scattering and muon spectroscopy, based at the Rutherford Appleton Laboratory on the Harwell Campus in south Oxfordshire (

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