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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/P034616/1
Title: Cambridge Theory of Condensed Matter Group -Critical Mass Grant
Principal Investigator: Payne, Professor MC
Other Investigators:
Castelnovo, Professor C Simons, Professor BD Lamacraft, Professor A
Needs, Professor RJ Warner, Professor M Cooper, Professor N
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Project Partners:
Cornell University Japan Adv Inst of Sci & Tech (JAIST) Niels Bohr Institute
United States Air Force (USAF)
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 October 2017 Ends: 31 March 2022 Value (£): 2,023,484
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biophysics Condensed Matter Physics
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Aerospace, Defence and Marine
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
25 Apr 2017 EPSRC Physical Sciences - April 2017 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
Describing the emergence of macroscopic behaviour from microscopic constituents is the central goal of condensed matter physics. Whether those constituents are electrons in a solid, atoms in a gas, or cells in tissue, the inherent complexity of this task calls for a three-pronged approach involving (1) realistic first principles calculations capable of numerical precision, (2) simplified models describing the transition to the macroscopic limit and (3) coarse-grained descriptions of that limit.

As described in this proposal, the Theory of Condensed Matter group pursues an integrated program of research in which this approach is applied to systems spanning quantum, soft, and living matter. These systems - including stem cells, pigment-protein complexes, and semiconductor-superconductor devices - are of fundamental scientific and technological importance, and their understanding may in time yield new therapies, opto-mechanical devices, solar cells, or computers. They are grouped into three themes:

The description of growth and form in living tissue and in programmable soft matter will be pursued by Profs Ben Simons and Mark Warner using both simplified microscopic models and continuum descriptions, in close contact with diverse experimental groups in Cambridge, USA, Holland and elsewhere.

The first principles investigations proposed by Profs Richard Needs and Mike Payne will establish all-purpose tools for the accurate calculation of the properties of both electronic and vibrational excited states in extremely large and complex systems. Such quantitative advances will prove invaluable for computational biology and designer materials.

The study of many body localisation is essential to understanding the non-equilibrium dynamics of large quantum systems. Prof Nigel Cooper and Drs Claudio Castelnovo and Austen Lamacraft will target experimentally realistic models of quantum devices and magnetic materials in close collaboration with project partners at Cornell and the Niels Bohr Institute, as well as more tractable model systems where more controlled calculations are possible.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Date Materialised
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Further Information:  
Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk