Materials Simulation Group
What do we do?
What happens when titanium and molybdenum are mixed together? How does adding a little bit of yttrium affect a chunk of magnesium? Can we "cook" a mixture of aluminum and copper to improve its performance? Can platinum be alloyed or processed in a way that improves its strength? How can we take what we know about physics to make a new material?
In the Materials Simulation Group (MSG), we focus on two primary areas: 1) materials questions like those above, and 2) new algorithms, mathematics, and software to enable simulations of these questions. In our group, we perform "virtual" experiments---simulations on the computer. Students can be involved in a variety of ways. Most students will co-author a paper, most will get to travel to a large conference and present, some will travel internationally. (Those last two items assume that the pandemic will end. ;-) )
What do you have to know?
Students must be be motivated to learn and must dependably balance research time with classes, family responsibilities, etc. Funding is available for all students willing to commit to working at least 10 hours/week on average.
Successful students don't usually have prior knowledge in solid state physics or strong computationals skills or programming experience. Such experience is nice, but exerting the effort to learn makes all the difference.
Basic skills you'll pick up on the way:
- Unix/Linux skills (you will use the command line a lot)
- text editor (emacs, vi, etc.) and/or an integrated development environment (sublime, vscode, etc.)
- basic knowledge of crystal structure and materials physics
- computational physics and numerical linear algebra
- programming (python or julia, and C++ or Fortran)
If you want to see if you would enjoy working in our group,
- Work through the "getting started" tutorial
- Work through a unix tutorial (on a mac, this is easy, since OSX is unix-based). If you have a windows machine, you can install cygwin or something similar.
- Read some of the following web pages
- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Density_functional_theory (just the first three paragraphs)
- Try learning a little python or julia
- Go to N333 Eyring Science Center and talk to the students there. Ask them about their research and what they like about working in the group.