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Undergraduate researchers at the forefront of Nanotheory

Posted on 3 December 2013

Five researchers from the Department of Physics, University of York, have recently published a paper in Physical Review B (Rapid Communications) which illustrates the contributions that undergraduates, working as summer researchers in a research group, can make to cutting-edge research.

The paper, "Exact time-dependent density-functional potentials for strongly correlated tunneling electrons" by Matthew J.P. Hodgson, James Ramsden, Jacob Chapman, Piers Lillystone, and Rex Godby, is the first of a planned series of publications using our iDEA code (interacting dynamic electrons approach) that was initially developed in a series of undergraduate summer projects (Piers Lillystone [EPSRC summer research bursary, Summer 2010], Matthew Hodgson [Nuffield Foundation undergraduate research bursary, Summer 2011] and Jacob Chapman [Institute of Physics / Nuffield Foundation undergraduate research bursary, Summer 2012]) in the department's Condensed Matter Physics group.  Matthew Hodgson and Jacob Chapman also made further contributions through their subsequent final-year MPhys projects in the department, and the lead author, Matthew Hodgson, has continued to pursue the research through an EPSRC-funded PhD studentship.

The aim of the overall research programme, of which the iDEA code forms an important component, is to improve the simulation of the flow of electrical currents through tiny nanodevices, which offer the prospect of future ultra-high-density computer-chip technologies.  The specific contribution of this paper is to identify the requirements for modified versions of a theory known as time-dependent density-functional theory that will contribute to these improved simulations.