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Posted on 15 November 2013

Open source software developed by York Physicist team

After several years of internal development, the atomistic spin dynamics simulation code ‘VAMPIRE’ has been released as an open-source software package. The aim of the software, developed by a team led by Dr Richard Evans, is to make atomistic simulations of magnetic materials easier to use and more readily available to other researchers in the field, without having to implement a number of advanced computational methods.

Most magnetic simulations use a micromagnetic discretisation, where regions of space are assumed to have a constant magnetisation direction. However, for many modern problems such as heat assisted magnetic recording, ultrafast magnetisation processes or exchange bias, this approximation breaks down. Atomistic spin models treat individual atoms as possessing a localised magnetic spin moment and can calculate their equilibrium or dynamic magnetic properties. Despite the power of atomistic models, only a handful of specialised groups around the world use them due to the complexity of the methods and the model parameters. Vampire is the only fully featured, open-source software package for performing these atomistic simulations, and enables a step-change in the ability of researchers to really understand the properties of their system at the atomic level.

The code is designed to be very flexible in tackling a wide range of different problems. It is also fully parallelised which means it runs efficiently on desktop workstations as well as supercomputers. A recent presentation at the Magnetism and Magnetic Materials (MMM) conference in Denver, USA generated significant interest. More information is available at the official project website vampire.york.ac.uk