Ab-initio prediction of thermal properties for condensed matter has been a blossoming field in the last few years, thank to its numerous applications mainly in thermoelectric materials and heat dissipation technologies. This methodology however does require to master a certain amount of expertise, both technical and theoretical, in order to be executed rigorously and efficiently. In this school, we wanted to provide an in-depth view of the theoretical framework, without neglecting the importance of applying the theory on some practical examples.
The school has been composed of theory sessions and hands-on tutorials suitable for anybody with graduate-level knowledge of condensed matter physics. As we planned to release all the software with an open-source license just after the end of the school, it was extremely useful for us to collect some feedback from this first batch of users. Continue reading Psi-K Quantum-ESPRESSO School on Ab-Initio Thermal Transport→
Erich Wimmer’s key note talk kick started a summer school on multi-scale materials modelling and science communication. Erich shared an exciting story of his personal journey and work in the field of computational materials science – with experience in academia, industry and even running a company (a co-founder at Materials Design).
A human element shone throughout the talk, emphasising the importance of collaboration and the relationships between colleagues for making the numerous advances in the field possible, and importantly making the process fun and rewarding.
Following the Q&A session informal discussions continued over the dinner in the beautiful dining halls of the Cumberland Lodge. The evening ended with an informal ice-breaking game of treasure hunt, allowing the participants to relax, explore the great Windsor Park and the lodge itself while getting to know each other. Demanding several days awaited – a series of master classes each focusing on time/length scale beyond the familiar grounds for most of the participants; a series of work shops on engaging presentations, communication through infographics and a technical session on data visualization using Mathematica leading to group projects and individual presentations. Continue reading Hermes 2016. Multiscale modelling and science communication→
From the 4th to the 15th July, over 90 scientists from 30 countries have gathered at the Abdus Salam ICTP in Trieste, Italy, to attend the College on Multiscale Computational Modeling of Materials for Energy Applications. This college had the goal to put together experts in multiscale modeling from the atomistic scale up to the macroscopic continuum. The idea is that multiscale modeling is necessary because of mutual interdependence of processes taking place at very different length and time scales. Therefore, only a multiscale approach is able to provide insight into the effect of microscopic processes on the actual device performance and stability, and to provide understanding and guidance relevant to process and device optimization, also in an industrial context.
The college consisted of theoretical lectures on the computational methods, hands-on sessions to get practically acquainted with techniques and codes, seminars on current materials challenges in the energy sector held by leading experts from academia and industry, and seminars on career development.
For 13 years now ETSF has encouraged young researchers to take part in the ETSF Young Researchers’ Meeting (YRM). This event which is organised by young researchers for young researchers made its way to London for the first time, as always the high standard of talks encouraged much debate and discussion among the attendees while enjoying all that London has to offer (for a brief moment we had some sun too!!!).
The potential energy surface (PES) is a central quantity in the modelling of materials properties. Ab initio total energy methods like density-functional theory are increasingly used to probe the PES in order to determine not only the equilibrium configurations of particular systems, but also potential energy barriers for certain processes and/or attempt frequencies. The goal of the workshop was to discuss current issues and perspectives in the underlying theoretical concepts and methods, as well as corresponding applications in the fields of heterogeneous catalysis, crystal growth, or biophysics.
After successful meetings in 1994, 1999, and 2005, the workshop stayed within the interdisciplinary tradition of the PPES series and brought together scientists with different backgrounds, e.g. in condensed matter physics, materials science, computational physics, chemistry, and industry. Experts of the field of total-energy calculations, scientists who develop or enhance methods, and those who apply the information gained by these techniques had the possibility to exchange ideas and experiences.
A special focus of the PPES-IV workshop was on big-data-driven materials science, e.g. the Materials Encyclopedia and the development of Big-Data Analytics tools for materials science of the NOMAD Center of Excellence.
The idea that a two-week school should be held in Slovenia first emerged during the first Whole Action Meeting (WAM 2014) of COST Action EUSpec in Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium. In compliance with the naming of other action meetings, the school was nicknamed as “EWinS”, standing for “EUSpec Winter School”. The preparations for the school started in spring 2015 and in autumn they became rather intense with many skype calls between the local organizers and Hubert Ebert (action chair), Didier Sébilleau (co-chair), Amélie Juhin as well as other members of the school international committee. The ideas on the table were many and the uncertainties on practical aspects were even more. Let us introduce the context. “EWinS” is the first two-week school organized within the framework of EUSpec. “Being the first” is already a source of concerns. “Being the first” in a small town of 6600 inhabitants in the middle of west Slovenia becomes an epic quest. Fortunately, with the help of volunteers, long and difficult budget plans, creative accommodation and transportation plans, on Monday the 1st of February all trainees were attending the first lecture given by Maria N. Piancastelli. After the coffee break Lucia Reining explained the basis of electronic excitations under a theoretical point of view.
The controlled growth of thin films based on metastable materials by chemistry‐driven processes is of high technological importance for topics like semiconductor devices or optical coatings. Computational modelling of this inherently multiscale process is crucial for an atomistic understanding and enables a decoupling and separate optimization of the growth‐determining factors of non‐equilibrium materials. The challenge faced for modelling of these complex phenomena is the coverage of various length and time scales and the necessary close interaction with colleagues from the experimental sciences who are able to outline the most pressing open questions.
This was the starting point to initiate the SimGrow workshop.
Thermoelectric nanomaterials, whose combination of thermal, electrical, and semiconducting properties allows them to convert heat into electricity, are expected to play an increasingly important role in meeting the energy challenge of the future. Major advances in this field strongly depend on our fundamental understanding of heat and charge carrier transport and on the ability of finding new strategies to design and fabricate high efficiency thermoelectric devices and circuits. Despite of the substantial advances in the description of thermal and electronic dynamics in bulk materials, the extension of transport bulk theory to nanostructures, is still under development. One of the main problems in modeling the nanostructures for thermoelectrics is the fact that they usually have complex compositions and structures. To these complex structures, usually, several external elements are added to improve either the thermoelectric properties and to become functional elements of devices and circuits. The final material is hence a quite complex object whose phononic and electronic structure is unknown. Continue reading Advanced thermoelectrics at nanoscale: from materials to devices→
Due to recent progress in nano-fabrication there is a large, growing interest in stabilized metal-organic hybrids. However, at present not many computational ab-initio studies have been performed and they are scattered across different fields and communities. The workshop goal was then to address current challenges and successful methods to study the electronic properties of organo-metal nanocomposites bringing together leading scientists working both on ground and excited state electronic properties of organic stabilized metal complexes.