CONDENSED MATTER & MATERIALS PHYSICS
Department of Physics & Astronomy
University College London
London WC1E 6BT
TEL: +44 (0)20 7679 7144 / FAX: +44 (0)20 7679 7145
The CMMP group offers one of the most exciting environments in the UK for graduate studies in condensed matter physics. Research within the group spans a wide spectrum of subjects including quantum computing, organic electronics, superconductivity, the physics of the Earth's deep interior, biomagnetism, nanoscale imaging, etc. Currently the group comprises 90 members, including 26 academic staff and over 50 Ph.D. students, making it one of the largest condensed matter groups in the UK.
The group is located in the LCN and Physics buildings on the Bloomsbury campus. The LCN building is equipped with state-of-the-art facilities for the design, fabrication and analysis of nanoscale systems. In additional the group plays a leading role in the development and exploitation of x-ray and neutron scattering instruments at central facilities both national and international.
The CMMP group has both theoretical and experimental components and is closely associated to the Thomas Young Centre for Theory and Simulation of Materials. For more information visit TYC@UCL.
Dr Jochen Blumberger & Marian Breuer have had their paper "Electron flow in multiheme bacterial cytochromes is a balancing act between heme electronic interaction and redox potentials" published in PNAS.
Certain bacteria use complex assemblies of multiheme proteins to
shuttle electrons from the inside of the cell over distances exceeding
100 Å to extracellular substrates. Recently, the first crystal structure
of a representative deca-heme protein was solved, but the mechanism of
electron conduction remains difficult to probe experimentally. Here we
provide detailed molecular-level insight into the kinetics and
thermodynamics of charge conduction in this biological wire using
high-performance computational tools. Our study reveals an evolutionary
design principle of significance to an entire class of heme proteins
involved in mediating electron flow between bacterial cells and their
environment, a phenomenon both bearing great geochemical importance and
opening up a multitude of potential biotechnological applications."
PNNL also published a press release.
Electrical control of single atom magnets article published by Nature Nanotechnology
The energy needed to change the magnetic orientation of a single atom – which determines its magnetic stability and therefore its usefulness in a variety of future device applications – can be modified by varying the atom’s electrical coupling to nearby metals. This striking result was published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology by an international group of scientists including Dr Cyrus Hirjibehedin - read more on the LCN website here.
Professor Chris Pickard & colleagues have their recent article in PRL highlighted by Chemistry World
Chemistry World have highlighted a recent paper in Physical Review Letters by Professor Pickard & colleagues on "Stable All-Nitrogen Metallic Salt at Terapascal Pressures", whci is currently on their front page.
Dr Navaratnarajah Kuganathan & Dr Peter Sushko have had their paper "Activation and splitting of carbon dioxide on the surface of an inorganic electride material" published in Nature Communications.
Professor Thanh Nguyen's article in Nanoscale highlighted by the Royal Society of Chemistry
RCS Publishing's Nanoscale blog has this week highlighted Tracking stem cells in tissue-engineered organs using magnetic nanoparticles as one of the week's hot articles.
Daiwa Adrian Prize 2013 awarded to UCL/ Tokyo research team
Professor Alexander Shluger and Dr Peter Sushko have been awarded one of the 2013 Daiwa Adrian Prizes, which recognise significant scientific collaboration between Japanese and British research teams. The UCL team was awarded the prize jointly with researchers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology for a longstanding collaboration in materials science.
The prizes, awarded every three years, acknowledge those that have combined excellence in scientific achievement with a long-term contribution to UK-Japan relations. UCL’s close relations with Japan date back to the 1860s, when it was the first European university to admit Japanese students.
The winning research teams will receive £10,000 and a prize giving ceremony will be held at the Royal Society in London on 27 November 2013. [Read more here]
Computational searches for stable structures of ice and other compositions of water and hydrogen have predicted a new range of complicated water-ice phases of previously unknown structure types
This finding has led to a revision of the predicted phase diagram of H2O at extremely high pressures.
One of the results of the study predicts that H2O decomposes into hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) and a hydrogen-rich phase at pressures of a little over 5 terapascals (TPa).
The theoretical study, published in Physical Review Letters, also concluded that if H2O occurs under conditions of excess hydrogen, for example, at the core-mantle boundary in a gas giant planet, the decomposed hydrogen-rich phase might act as a “hydrogen sponge”. The researchers suggest that these sponges might soak up the hydrogen from the mantle and could play a role in the erosion of the ice component in the core of gas giants.
Lead author of the paper, Professor Chris Pickard of the CMMP group, said of the discovery, "This result reminds us how little we know about chemistry and mineralogy of these remote planetary bodies. The breakdown of water to produce hydrogen peroxide is the precise opposite of what we would expect. I am sure that there are many more surprises to come."
The paper can be found at the link to the journal here: Decomposition and Terapascal Phases of Water Ice, Phys. Rev. Let. DOI: 10.1103/PhysRevLett.110.245701
A billon frames per second film has captured the vibrations of gold nanocrystals in stunning detail for the first time.
The film, which was made using 3D imaging pioneered at the London Centre for Nanotechnology (LCN) by a group led by Prof Ian Robinson, reveals important information about the composition of gold. The findings are published in the journal Science.
The new images support theoretical models for light interaction with metals, where energy is first transferred to electrons, which are able to short-circuit the much slower motion of the atoms.
The research team included contributors from UCL, University of Oxford, Stanford Linear Accelerator Center (SLAC), Argonne National Lboratory and LaTrobe University, Australia.
A link to the journal can be found here: Ultrafast Three-Dimensional Imaging of Lattice Dynamics in Individual Gold Nanocrystals. DOI: 10.1126/science.1236034
Universal bound states of fermions
The behaviour of a few particles can have important ramifications for how a system of many particles behaves. In particular, bound states of two, three or more particles can determine how particles will cluster, i.e. how particles are correlated, in a gas or fluid. Now, Dr Meera Parish of the CMMP group and Dr Jesper Levinsen have discovered a universal bound state of four atoms (i.e. a tetramer) in two dimensions – they are the first to demonstrate the existence of a universal tetramer entirely composed of fermionic atoms.
The paper can be found at the link here: Bound States in a Quasi-Two-Dimensional Fermi Gas, Physical Review Letters, 110, 055304 (2013)