Computational Magnetism Group

Length and time scales in magnetism

Modern magnetic materials are structured on the nanometre lengthscale to achieve the desired magnetic behaviour. For example, a computer hard drive records information on a storage layer comprised of magnetic grains around 7-8nm in diameter. Information is read back using magnetic sensors which contain films on the order of 10 atoms thick. Magnetism on this lengthscale, in complex magnetic structures, is a challenging theoretical and experimental problem. Additionally, magnetism poses a difficult problem in terms of the timescales of interest. Currently, experiments using high energy lasers are investigating magnetic properties on a femtosecond timescale. This is an important frontier in solid state physics. At the same time, the data stored in a hard drive must be stable for at least 10 years. Consequently we have to consider dynamic magnetisation processes over some 24 orders of magnitude! These challenges are central to the research of the York computational magnetism group.

Applications in magnetic recording

Magnetic materials are everywhere! Our work relates to magnetic recording.
A hard drive contains:


Our Research

We are developing new computational and theoretical approaches to the study of magnetic materials, recognising the physical and technical challenges of nanomagnetism. The aim is to link quantum ideas arising from density functional theory with a statistical mechanical formalism capable of describing phase transitions.

Some of our current projects:

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