We are happy to welcome some new people who joined the group over the last few weeks. Tai is doing a postdoc in a joint UCL – BP project. Fabian is sharing his PhD time between UCL and Imperial College. Michael already did his Master project in our group and is now continuing his work as a PhD student. Last but not least, Irene and Joseph will be doing their Master projects in the ICE group.
Welcome and have an ice time!
Congratulations to Martin, who finished his viva last week! His work focused on ice nucleation, in particular on finding descriptors that indicate good ice nucleating agents and the role of dynamical heterogeneity in homogeneous ice nucleation.
Yesterday morning’s adverse weather conditions (to put it mildly) made the triathlon even more challenging. The swimmers had to cope with very cold water, the hilly bike track was dangerously slippery and the running track was mostly covered in mud. Undeterred, both teams completed the triathlon – soaking wet (even the ones that didn’t swim!) and/or muddy but (mostly) unharmed. Well done!
The great support for our WaterAid fundraising campaign undoubtedly provided a large motivational boost. Every donation helps to provide clean water for everyone – many thanks for contributing!
Don’t be fooled by the nice weather in this picture – the conditions during the Hever Castle Triathlon were truly awful!
The ICE group is happy to welcome Sam Azadi and Piero Gasparotto, who joined us last month. The weather appeared eager to welcome them warmly as well, and we hope their time here will be as enjoyable and successful as the first month promised it to be.
Michael won a prize for the Best Final Year MSci presentation in the Condensed Matter and Materials Physics (CMMP) group for his project on ice nucleation titled “Achieving Cubic Ice”. Congratulations!
The ICE group won prizes at this year’s Thomas Young Centre student day! With his presentation entitled “Role of Structure and Dynamics in Heterogeneous Ice Nucleation: A Tale of Two Brothers?” Martin won the prize for the best talk given amongst 12 shortlisted final-year PhD students in the TYC. For his contribution “A Machine Learning Potential for Graphene” in the exhibition of more than 30 posters Patrick was awarded the prize for the best poster. They were judged by a panel of experts including Andrea Taroni, editor in chief of Nature Physics, Royal Society Fellow Sally Price and TYC representatives Dario Alfè, Michail Stamatakis, Arash Mostofi and Alston Misquitta. Congratulations!
Patrick’s paper has been published in Physical Review B. In collaboration with Gábor Csányi at the University of Cambridge, Patrick developed a Gaussian approximation potential to simulate graphene to the same accuracy as density functional theory but at a computational cost smaller by magnitudes.
The paper is available on the PRB website and our own.
Steve’s paper, in collaboration with Prof. Neal Skipper and BP, has been accepted by the Journal of the American Chemical Society. Using neutron scattering and molecular dynamics simulations, this paper investigates the effect of a variety of impurities on the formation of methane hydrate to gain a better understanding of the process of hydrate nucleation.
The paper can be found here.
Andrea’s and Gerit’s paper has been published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America. The work had important contributions also from Jiří, a previous member of the ICE group, and from Dario and Alexandre, longstanding Angelos’ collaborators.
In the paper we study molecular crystals with quantum Monte Carlo.
Computational approaches based on the fundamental laws of quantum mechanics are now integral to almost all materials design initiatives in academia and industry. If computational materials science is genuinely going to deliver on its promises, then an electronic structure method with consistently high accuracy is urgently needed. We show that, thanks to recent algorithmic advances and the strategy developed in our manuscript, quantum Monte Carlo yields extremely accurate predictions for the lattice energies of materials at a surprisingly modest computational cost. It is thus no longer a technique that requires a world-leading computational facility to obtain meaningful results. While we focus on molecular crystals, the significance of our findings extends to all classes of materials.
Martin’s paper together with Gabriele, Fabio, Silvio and Angelos has been published in Nature Communications!
In this paper we investigate pre-critical fluctuations and what they can tell us about the heterogeneous nucleation event. Pre-critical fluctuations are the earliest occurrences of crystalline clusters in a supercooled liquid and thus readily probed in simulations such as molecular dynamics. We find that they can tell us which polymorph will form but they are not trivially indicative (as often assumed) of the nucleation enhancement. This also means that the commonly applied heterogeneous classical nucleation theory makes an error when comparing heterogeneous and homogeneous nucleation events where different polymorphs have formed. As a side, in this work we also find a simple recipe of avoiding stacking-disorder in hetergeneous ice nucleation during the nucleation stage.
Read the paper online or on our publications page.