PhD Studentship: Theory and Application of Phase-Field Crystal Model to Materials Modelling

Loughborough University

Start date of studentship: 1st October 2018

Closing date for applications: 16th February 2018


Primary supervisor: Tapio Ala-Nissila

Secondary supervisor: Guyla Toth

Significant progress has been made in developing new, powerful methods for modelling the structure and formation of solid materials. The Phase-Field Crystal (PFC) model allows to model solids at diffusive time scales with atomistic resolution. In this project, the hydrodynamic PFC model will be theoretically extended to include multicomponent and compressive liquids. The problem of nucleation will also be considered. The project has significant theoretical and practical importance in materials modelling, and will include collaboration with leading scientists, including the 2016 Physics Nobelist, J.M. Kosterlitz, Brown University, USA.

Loughborough University is a top-ten rated university in England for research intensity (REF2014). In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career.

Further information:

Full Project Detail:

The problem in quantitative materials modelling at atomic level accuracy is that of achieving large enough length and time scales from quantum mechanical density functional theory or classical molecular dynamics. This can be overcome by the Phase-Field Crystal (PFC) model, which reaches diffusive time scales with atomic level resolution. The model has revolutionised materials modelling and is being applied to a variety of outstanding problems, including novel 2D materials [1]. Most recently, it has been extended to include hydrodynamic degrees of freedom such that solidification of materials from melt can be modelled [2]. This project aims to further develop the PFC model, focussing on multicomponent and compressive liquids, and nucleation terms responsible for solidification in an undercooled melt. The new model will be numerically implemented and benchmarked against relevant theoretical and experimental data.

  1. P. Hirvonen et al., Phys. Rev. B 94, 035414(2016); D. Taha et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 118, 255501(2017).
  2. V. Heinonen et al., Phys. Rev. Lett. 116, 024303(2016); Phys. Rev. E 93, 053003(2016).

Find out more:

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have, or expect to achieve, at least a 2:1 Honours degree (or equivalent) in Physics, Applied Mathematics or a related subject. A relevant Master’s degree and/or experience in one or more of the following will be an advantage: Statistical physics and thermodynamics, classical field theory, hydrodynamics, nucleation theory, condensed matter physics, non-equilibrium systems, stochastic processes, molecular dynamics simulations, programming with C.

Funding information:

This studentship will be awarded on a competitive basis to applicants who have applied to this project and/or any of the advertised projects prioritised for funding by the School of Science.

The 3-year studentship provides a tax-free stipend of £14,553 (2017 rate) per annum (in line with the standard research council rates) for the duration of the studentship plus tuition fees at the UK/EU rate. International (non-EU) students may apply however the total value of the studentship will be used towards the cost of the International tuition fee in the first instance.

Contact details:

Name: Tapio Ala-Nissila


Tel: +358405412983

How to apply:

Applications should be made online at Under programme name Mathematics.

Please quote reference number: TAN/MA/2018

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