Engineering Materials at the Nanoscale

We study the behaviour of materials using computer simulation.  For us, “materials” usually means crystalline solids, but sometimes it means lubricating oils or even plasmas (so we are stretching the definition a bit). “Behaviour” is usually related to mechanical properties.  Since materials are ultimately made of atoms, we ask the question: Can we understand, describe and predict the behaviour of materials from our underlying knowledge of how those atoms interact?  To answer that question, we have to turn to computers, since the collective behaviour of many atoms is a complicated thing to describe mathematically.