School of Physics and Astronomy

Condensed Matter & Materials Physics

  • Lei Tan selected to present at the ‘STEM for Britain’ exhibition

    Lei Tan has been selected to present a poster at the ‘STEM for Britain’ exhibition held in UK parliament on 9th March 2020.

  • First-Principles Many-Body Nonadditive Polarization Energies from Monomer and Dimer Calculations Only: A Case Study on Water

    First-Principles Many-Body Nonadditive Polarization Energies from Monomer and Dimer Calculations Only: A Case Study on WaterRory A. J. Gilmore, Martin T. Dove, and Alston J. Misquitta J. Chem. Theory Comput. 2020, 16, 224−242 In this paper from Rory's research work we have demonstrated how accurate many-body non-additive interaction models can be constructed for water in a general way that is applicable to other many-body molecular systems. Using the CamCASP code ( and the iterated stockholder atoms algorithm and recent developments in SAPT(DFT) made here at QMUL, we have shown how these physics-based models can be constructed using a tiny fraction of the data normally used. We are now using these same ideas to make many-body models for larger, more complex systems together with Prof Sally Price from UCL in a collaboration funded by AWE.

  • Scientists discover just how runny a liquid can be

    Scientists from Queen Mary University of London and the Russian Academy of Sciences have found a limit to how runny a liquid can be. Viscosity, the measure of how runny a fluid is, is a property that we experience daily when we fill a kettle, take a shower, pour cooking oil or move through air. We know that liquids get thicker when cooled and runnier when heated, but how runny can a liquid ever get if we keep heating it?

  • CCMMP Research Highlights in Nature - part 2

    How a chameleon gemstone changes from red to green The rare jewel alexandrite outwits the human eye’s colour-correction system. The gemstone alexandrite has the remarkable ability to change colour under different lighting. Now, scientists have found that this trick is an optical illusion that hinges on how humans perceive colour. Alexandrite stones appear to be a brilliant emerald green in daylight, but a rich ruby red under candlelight. By measuring the light that the stones transmit, David Dunstan at Queen Mary University of London and his colleagues found that alexandrite’s chromium atoms absorb both yellow and blue light, leaving green and red light to reach a viewer’s eye. That helps to explain the gem’s green tones when illuminated by sunshine, which is dominated by green wavelengths.

  • STFC Highlights QMUL Research: Investigating hard carbons for battery materials

      Using the Materials Characterisation Lab, EMU, and computational modelling, two recent publications give an insight into the behaviour of ions inside hard carbons, when used for battery materials. Using the specialised X-ray diffraction equipment at the Materials Characterisation Lab at ISIS (MCL), a collaboration involving scientists from the University of Surrey and three London universities has been able to investigate the effect of the different structures in hard carbons on ionic diffusion. Expanding on this with muon spectroscopy on EMU, they have also been able to test the materials after acting as an anode in a sodium-ion battery, explaining why these materials exhibit poor performance in practical testing .  

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