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Details of Grant 

EPSRC Reference: EP/V062654/1
Title: Theoretical Condensed Matter Cambridge - Critical Mass Grant
Principal Investigator: Payne, Professor MC
Other Investigators:
Pickard, Professor CJ Artacho, Professor E Monserrat, Dr B
Castelnovo, Professor C Simons, Professor BD Cooper, Professor N
Lamacraft, Professor A Beri, Dr B Teichmann, Dr S
Researcher Co-Investigators:
Dr W C Witt
Project Partners:
Max Planck Institutes
Department: Physics
Organisation: University of Cambridge
Scheme: Standard Research
Starts: 01 March 2022 Ends: 28 February 2026 Value (£): 2,997,306
EPSRC Research Topic Classifications:
Biophysics Condensed Matter Physics
Magnetism/Magnetic Phenomena
EPSRC Industrial Sector Classifications:
Electronics Pharmaceuticals and Biotechnology
Related Grants:
Panel History:
Panel DatePanel NameOutcome
08 Sep 2021 EPSRC Physical Sciences September 2021 Announced
Summary on Grant Application Form
The role of condensed matter theory is to gain a deep understanding of phenomena observed in nature, either in the laboratory or in the natural world, and to use these insights to predict new behaviours and inspire novel directions for experimental design and investigation. To develop this approach, as theorists, we construct models of physical and chemical processes that are often inspired by experimental discoveries. For some applications, these models may be derived from a basic knowledge of the fundamental interactions of constituent particles; in other cases, they may be abstractions inspired by experimental phenomenology. We then make use of computational and analytical approaches to explore and refine these models to capture and explain known experimental properties and, crucially, to make testable predictions about new phenomena. By placing emphasis on "emergent" or collective behaviours of complex systems, the models we study can often provide insight into disparate fields of research, spanning across areas of physics, chemistry, material science and biology. As a result, our theoretical research activities are often interdisciplinary in character, contributing both to fundamental knowledge creation and providing practical applications of modelling to new and existing technologies.

A key strength of our research is its reliance on concepts and methodologies that can be shared and translated across seemingly disparate subject areas. To benefit from this approach, we seek support in the form of Critical Mass funding that will enable us to recruit post-doctoral researchers who can profit from engagement with more than one investigator, enabling them to strengthen and create new collaborations, open new areas of research, and advance their own ideas.

The proposed programme of research is separated broadly across three different themes which, together, are united by the common theme of dynamical phenomena.

By calculating and interpreting the characteristics of electrons in materials, we can provide deep explanations for common phenomena like the flow of electricity or heat, which in turn suggest new pathways for technological innovation.

The research proposed in Theme 1 will advance our understanding, and our ability to predict many aspects of materials behaviour, ranging from superconductivity to magnetism.

In Theme 2, we propose an interconnected programme of research on dynamical aspects of quantum many-particle systems, addressing: finite-temperature experimental signatures of quantum spin liquids in novel magnetic materials; the nature of topologically protected excitations in open quantum systems; and dynamical aspects of quantum circuits and their links to quantum error correction.

Finally, in theme 3, we will use computational and analytical approaches to study the dynamics of classical systems far from equilibrium, focusing on the study of glass-like phenomena in constrained systems, finding applications in both particulate and living matter.

Key Findings
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Potential use in non-academic contexts
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Summary
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Organisation Website: http://www.cam.ac.uk