I joined the CDT in September 2018, having previously completed an MSci in Theoretical Physics at Queen's University Belfast.
CDT PhD Project Title: Ab Initio Design of Plasmonic Materials.
Supervisors: Dr Lorenzo Stella & Dr Myrta Grüning, Queens Unviersity Belfast
Project description: Heat assisted magnetic recording (HAMR) is a potential method of increasing data storage density of current hard drives from 1Tb to potentially 40Tb. An important component in HAMR is the near field transducer (NFT) which utilises the sub-optical confinement (< 50nm) of light in the form of surface plasmons. The choice of NFT material has become one of the limiting factors of HAMR performance as the current material of choice, gold, cannot operate in the harsh environment (high temperatures) of HAMR for more than 1000 hours operating time, when many thousands of hours are required.
The ab initio modelling of materials is a potential avenue to explore alternative plasmonic material’s temperature dependence and geometry dependence which cannot be reliably fabricated in the lab. I am using real-time time-dependent density functional (RT-TDDFT) to determine the dielectric function of candidate materials, with the potential to model temperature dependence of systems using ab initio molecular dynamics.
General Research/Science Interests:
My interest is in how equations can predict the behaviour of nature. This would include theoretical physics and computational physics, which relates to my research, but ranges from predicting new semiconductor materials all the way to simulating the movement of galaxies.
Talks / Presentations:
I had the opportunity to attend the computational school for Yambo at the international centre for theoretical physics in Trieste. It was a great experience to talk with researchers in the field.
Last year I was tutoring for the physics coding module and this year I am involved in the quantum theory homework marking. I have taken python classes provided by ARCHER at QUB.
PhDs have a reputation for being isolating experiences, but being part of a cohort with shared research themes and similar interests makes the experience more than a solitary pursuit. There is so much opportunity for discussion and collaboration within the CDT.