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Funded Projects

Our work is supported by funding from the UK Research Councils, Department for Economy Northern Ireland, the European Commission as well as from other national and international sources.

Here projects and collaborations that are currently funded:

Graphical description of the project on pleats
4-year project funded by Department for Economy NI
Mechanics of 2D Material Pleats: Nanomechanical Nucleation, Self-Assembly and Superlubricity (US-Ireland programme)

Pleats are a familiar and generally unremarkable feature of drapery, garments, and upholstery. However, as the atomic force microscopy (AFM) images on the left show, pleats formed from an ultra-light sheet of a two dimensional (2D) material like graphene, come alive. Such sheets move and assemble spontaneously because of special interfacial forces enabled by an exotic, low friction state of superlubricity. This phenomenon was discovered in 2016. A patent application based on the device applications of this discovery has since been filed in the ROI.


These self-animated pleats offer a new approach to nanoelectromechanical systems (NEMS). This technology is expected to play a significant role in future generations of sensors and actuators for mobile devices, wearable electronics, transportation automation, and the Internet of Things. However, the fundamental physics of this new class of nanostructured material remains barely explored.


This proposal aims to investigate this phenomenon using a combination of experiment and computer simulation. Through this partnership, the collaborators will be able to obtain unprecedented, atomistic insight into the process via which these pleats form. This synergy between the experimental and simulation work will allow us to develop a predictive model that will enable the design of pleats with particular characteristics.

Researcher: Gareth Tribello


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4-year Leverhulme-Trust-funded project
Modelling energy transfer during irradiation of matter

Irradiation of matter is a fundamental process that occurs in many areas of science and engineering. Examples include using x-rays to image the human body, neutron damage of nuclear reactors and photosynthesis. While these are all well-known problems, understanding what happens during irradiation is still incomplete. This is because energy is deposited during irradiation over very short length and time scales but manifests itself over much longer time and length scales.

We aim to develop a unique method that allows us to model energy deposition during irradiation over a wide range of time and length scales. We will develop a stochastic quantum approach for describing the absorption of radiation and combine this with methods that couple quantum systems to larger classical environments.
Researchers: D Dundas, L Stella, M Grüning, E Suraud.

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4-year EPSRC funded Standard Project
Un-particle superconductivity low-dimensional materials

The phenomenon of superconductivity was discovered over a century ago. On the theoretical side, the definitive theory of superconductivity was published by Nobel laureates John Bardeen, Leon Cooper and Bob Schrieffer (BSC) over half a century ago. Over time, however, a number of superconducting materials have emerged that appear to challenge the BCS template. Significantly, their superconducting properties appear, in many respects, to be superior.

We call this alternative paradigm 'un-particle superconductivity'. The goal of this proposal is to explore the viability of un-particle superconductivity in candidate materials via a joint experimental/theoretical research programme.
Researchers: M Grüning, P Chudzinski with N Hussey & A. Carrington (UoB)

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Project funded by European Commission H2020 MSCA-RISE
Advanced theoretical network for modelling light-matter interaction (ATLANTIC)

The Atomistic Simulation Centre is part of an international consortium made of 15 European and international institutions to promote the secondment of established and early-stage researchers. 

Interdisciplinarity is at the core of this project as it will be bridging several fields of science: ultrafast phenomena, nonlinear optics, condensed matter physics, quantum chemistry, materials engineering, and laser-materials processing. At Queen’s, we host and collaborate with researchers from the universities of Buenos Aires, Cordoba, and Cuyo in Argentina. The collaboration is mostly focused on the quantum-mechanical simulation of electron-phonon-photon dynamics in real-time.
Researchers: Lorenzo Stella, Tchavdar Todorov

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4-year project funded by Department for Economy NI
Collaborative Research: US-Ireland: Thermoelectric Concrete Envelope (ThermoConc)

Researchers at the ASC are part of an international team that will leverage advances in thermoelectric materials, conductive concrete, and building model predictive control to create a three-in-one thermoelectric concrete, called ThermoConc, as a building envelope for electricity generation and space heating and cooling.

The goal is to develop a fundamental understanding of the characteristics, behaviours, operations, and controls of a thermoelectric generation and heat pumping system as an energy-efficient means to both passively and actively control building interior temperature and harvest waste heat while enhancing human thermal comfort. The role of the ASC team is to identify establish mathematical models and optimise the performance of concrete-based thermoelectric materials.
Researchers: L Stella, E Orisakwe

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