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Past events hosted within or of interest to the Department are listed here (upto 1 year ago). Visit our main Events page to see upcoming events.

  • 26Jun

    Chang-Min Lee. (25 minute talks + 5 minutes of questions). All welcome.

  • 18Jun

    The afternoon programme of talks begins at 1.45 (registration from 1.15 pm) at the Pippard Lecture Theatre, Department of Physics, Cavendish Laboratory, JJ Thomson Avenue, Cambridge CB3 0HE. The Forum includes the award of the Armourers & Brasiers’ Materials Science Venture Prize and the 21st Kelly Lecture (Professor Yves Bréchet, Grenoble Institute of Technology).

  • 12Jun

    Guang Yang. (25 minute talks + 5 minutes of questions). All welcome.

  • 10Jun

    Prof. Andrei Rode (Laser Physics Centre, Australian National University)

    Ultrashort laser pulses focussed down to a micron-size spot subsurface of transparent materials can achieve energy densities on the order of MJ/cm3, resulting in solid-density plasma formation, followed by a microexplosion and shockwave compression of the surrounding substance. Subsequent rapid quenching leads to the formation and preservation of novel non-equilibrium material states.  Reaching extreme pressures is of fundamental interest for the formation of new material phases, and  also for the study of the Warm Dense Matter, reproducing the state of the cores of planets in table-top laboratory experiments.

    Ultrafast laser induced microexplosion in confined geometry has already demonstrated the potential to create and preserve new thermodynamically non-equilibrium state of matter such as bcc-Al [1] and two tetragonal phases of Si [2].  These new phases have been predicted to exist theoretically, but have never before observed in nature or in laboratory experiments.  In this talk I’ll present a new way for increasing the shock wave affected volume by using a micro-Bessel beam with a 100:1 aspect ratio [3,4]. The experimental results show an effective formation of voids when such a beam focused inside sapphire crystal, which is a clear indication of significantly increased efficiency of new phase formation when compared with the previous experiments with a Gaussian laser beam.  The results open up a new way for increasing the quantity of high-density/pressure phases and help to increase sensitivity in search of new phases using X-ray and electron diffraction analysis.

    [1] A. Vailionis, et al., “Evidence of superdense aluminium synthesized by ultrafast microexplosion”, Nat. Comm. 2, 445 (2011).
    [2] L. Rapp, et al., “Experimental evidence of new tetragonal polymorphs of silicon formed through ultrafast laser-induced confined microexplosion”, Nat. Comm. 6, 7555 (2015).
    [3] L. Rapp, et al., “High aspect ratio micro-explosions in the bulk of sapphire generated by femtosecond Bessel beams” Sci. Rep. 6, 34286 (2016).
    [4] E. G. Gamaly, A. V. Rode, “Ultrafast re-structuring of the electronic landscape of transparent dielectrics: new material states (Die-Met)”, Appl. Phys. A 124, 278 (2018).

  • 07Jun

    Dr Rylie Green, Imperial College London, Bioengineering Department.

    This seminar will be followed by tea, coffee, and biscuits at 4pm in the tearoom. 

    View the seminar series on -

  • 05Jun

    Samer Kurdi. (25 minute talks + 5 minutes of questions). All welcome.

  • 22May

    Juan Bermúdez García. (25 minute talks + 5 minutes of questions). All welcome.

  • 15May

    Seb Haines - Cavendish Laboratory.  (25 minute talks + 5 minutes of questions). All welcome.

  • 03May

    Prof. Laurence Marks, Northwestern University Department of Materials Science and Engineering.

    It has been known for at least a century that chloride has a major effect on corrosion, often increasing the rate of attack by an order of magnitude or more. This has serious consequences, not just for corrosion in sea water but also within humans; they have similar chloride ion levels. The literature is full of conflicting models each developed with particular approaches focusing on one aspect of the problem, rarely looking at the larger picture. The focus of this talk will be to show that the different conflicting models are not in fact conflicting. Density functional theory calculations show that chloride plays a critical role in disrupting the hydrogen bonding networks at oxide surfaces by replacing chemisorbed hydroxide. This leads to a reduction in the surface free energy which promotes morphological instabilities, these later conclusions being supported by transmission electron microscopy and atom probe tomography results.

    This seminar will be followed by tea, coffee, and biscuits at 4pm in the tearoom.

    View the seminar series on -

  • 24Apr

    Prof. Michele Ceriotti (Laboratory of Computational Science and Modelling, EPFL) 


    Statistical regression techniques have become very fashionable as a tool to predict the properties of systems at the atomic scale, sidestepping much of the computational cost of first-principles simulations and making it possible to perform simulations that require thorough statistical sampling without compromising on the accuracy of the electronic structure model.

    In this talk I will argue how data-driven modelling can be rooted in a mathematically rigorous and physically-motivated framework, and how this is beneficial to the accuracy and the transferability of the model. I will also highlight how machine learning – despite amounting essentially to data interpolation – can provide important physical insights on the behaviour of complex systems, on the synthesizability and on the structure-property relations of materials.

    I will give examples concerning all sorts of atomistic systems, from semiconductors to molecular crystals, and properties as diverse as drug-protein interactions, dielectric response of aqueous systems and NMR chemical shielding in the solid state.