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School of Physical and Chemical Sciences

Dr Owen Benton


Lecturer in Computational Condensed Matter

Room Number: G. O. Jones Building, Room 403


I am a theoretical Condensed Matter Physicist, who uses a combination of analytical and numerical methods to understand the properties of interacting many-body systems.

I grew up in the UK and studied at the University of Warwick and the University of Bristol, before spending seven years in Japan (at the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology, and then at the RIKEN Center for Emergent Matter Science) and then four years at the Max Planck Institute for the Physics of Complex Systems in Dresden, Germany.

I seek to explore the diverse array of phenomena that can arise from many body systems and to explain the often surprising results observed in experiments.


  • CHE 100 - Essential Skills for Chemists
  • CHE 204B - Physical and Quantum Chemistry (Sem B)
  • CHE 600 - Chemistry Research Project
  • CHE 601 - Chemistry Investigative Project
  • CHE 700 - Chemistry MSci Research Project



Research Interests:

Much of my research is focused on understanding the properties of frustrated systems. That is, systems where the internal interactions pull in different directions, making it difficult to identify a simple ground state. In some cases, this results in ground states with strong quantum entanglement and excitations with fractional quantum numbers, such as in the case of quantum spin liquids. 

I seek to predict how these systems should behave in experiment, and use this is a guide to help find new phases of quantum matter.


Selected publications

  1. R. Schäfer, B. Placke, O. Benton and R. Moessner, Abundance of hard-hexagon crystals in the quantum pyrochlore antiferromagnet,Phys. Rev. Lett. 131, 096702 (2023)
  2. A. Scheie, O. Benton, M. Taillefumier, L. D. C. Jaubert, G. Sala, N. Jalarvo, S. M. Koohpayeh and N. Shannon, Dynamical scaling as a signature of multiple phase competition in Yb2Ti2O7, Phys. Rev. Lett. 129, 217202 (2022)
  3. E. M. Smith, O. Benton, D. R. Yahne, B. Placke, R. Schäfer, J. Gaudet, J. Dudemaine, A. Fitterman, J. Beare, A. R. Wildes, S. Bhattacharya, T. DeLazzer, C. R. C. Buhariwalla, N. P. Butch, R. Movshovich, J. D. Garrett, C. A. Marjerrison, J. P. Clancy, E. Kermarrec, G. M. Luke, A. D. Bianchi, K. A. Ross and B. D. Gaulin, Case for a U(1)π Quantum Spin Liquid Ground State in the Dipolar-Octupolar Pyrochlore Ce2Zr2O7, Phys. Rev. X 12, 021015 (2022)
  4. O. Benton and R. Moessner, Topological Route to New and Unusual Coulomb Spin Liquids, Phys. Rev. Lett. 127, 107202 (2021)
  5. H. Yan, O. Benton, L. D. C. Jaubert and N. Shannon, Rank-2 U(1) Spin Liquid on the Breathing Pyrochlore Lattice, Phys. Rev. Lett. 124, 127203 (2020)

Full publication lists

List of publications on Google Scholar

List of preprints on arXiv


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