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Christopher Woodgate

PhD Title: Physics of magnets and the arrangements of atoms comprising them

PhD Supervisor: Prof. Julie StauntonLink opens in a new window


As an undergraduate, I studied Maths and Physics at the University of Warwick, graduating in 2019 with 1st class honours (BSc MMathPhys). My final year project supervisor was Dr Nicholas d'AmbrumenilLink opens in a new window; we looked at some aspects of the physics of the frustrated antiferromagnetic system of Gadolinium Gallium Garnet.

Research Interests

I am now in the fourth year of the HetSys programme, working under the supervision of Prof. Julie StauntonLink opens in a new window. We study the physics of multicomponent alloys, using ab initio calculations and atomistic modelling to predict the nature of ordered structures and their properties, with an overarching aim of producing novel systems with desirable magnetic properties.

Initially we looked at the binary alloy Fe1-x Gax , commonly referred to as 'Galfenol'. This is a highly magnetostrictive material and has applications in the design of sensors and actuators. I studied the nature of atomic short-range order in the material which, in collaboration with Dr George MarchantLink opens in a new window, we used to explain the Ga-concentration dependence of the material's magnetoelastic constant.

We then moved on to looking at the nature of atomic short range order in multi-component alloys, with a particular focus on the so-called High-Entropy Alloys (HEAs). We used a combination of KKR-CPA calculations, a linear response theory, and atomistic simulations. In a recent paper we were able to demonstrate the effectiveness of our approach by studying the prototypical equiatomic HEA, NiCoFeMnCr, and its derivatives, collectively referred to as the Cantor-Wu alloys. We demonstrated that the dominant correlations in these systems were between Ni, Co, and Cr, with Fe and Mn diluting interactions. Our predictions for short-range order in these systems were in excellent agreement with existing experimental and theoretical literature for very low computational cost.

Following on from this successful work, we then looked at another family of HEAs, based on the refractory metals: V, Nb, Mo, Ta, W. Again, we demonstrated the effectiveness of our approach in understanding the nature of SRO in these systems.

In a progression of the project, we studied the effect of magnetic order on atomic order in the Ni-based HEAs, in collaboration with the Nanomagnetism Group of of Prof. Laura H. Lewis at Northeastern University. We have now moved on to look at other multicomponent alloy systems in collaboration with the same group, with an overarching view of looking for candidate materials for good permanent magnets which use reduced concentrations of rare-earth metals.


  • “Short-Range Order in High-Entropy Superalloys: First Principles Theory and Atomistic Modelling” MRS Fall Meeting 2022, Boston, USA, November 2022. Contributed talk.

  • “Short-Range Order in Refractory High-Entropy Alloys: First Principles Theory and Atomistic Modelling” CCP9 Conference, Manchester, UK, September 2022. Contributed talk.
  • “Short-Range Order in High-Entropy Alloys: First Principles Theory and Atomistic Modelling” Psi-k 2022, Lausanne, Switzerland, August 2022. Contributed talk.
  • “Short-Range Order in High-Entropy Alloys: First Principles Theory and Atomistic Modelling” Theory of Condensed Matter 2022 (Institute of Physics), Coventry, UK, June 2022. Contributed poster.

Outreach and Public Engagement

I was the lead host for the first series of the HetSys podcast series, Multiscale MusingsLink opens in a new window, and for the second series have taken on a leadership role. We interview academics with research interests in the area of predictive modelling, talking to them about their hobbies and interests, and also details of their research. The podcast is aimed at a general audience.

Hobbies and Interests

I am heavily involved with the University of Warwick Archery ClubLink opens in a new window. For the 2021/22 academic year I was the club Secretary. In the past I have also held the roles of Equipment Officer (2019/20, 2020/21) and Team Captain (2016/17). I enjoy both the competitive and social aspects of the sport, and am also a qualified Archery GB Level 2 coach.


Contact Details:

E-Mail: C.Woodgate"at"

Office: PS1.29