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Physics of magnets and the arrangements of atoms comprising them

Supervisors: Prof. Julie Staunton (Physics) and Dr. Juliette Soulard (WMG)

Studying the link between how atoms arrange themselves in a crystal and electron spin properties helps the design of new permanent magnets.

Permanent magnets are widespread - key components in motors and generators, transducers, imaging systems etc. Their fundamental materials physics is also fascinating and challenging. Joint theory/experiment work [1] has highlighted the need to develop the theory for how atoms arrange themselves over the crystalline sites in a permanent magnetic material such as impurity-doped SmCo5 and to develop an effective computational model. We want to understand what combinations and amounts of additional elements can be incorporated into the magnet and if so what effects on the magnetic properties are likely to occur. We can then work closely with experimentalists and study promising materials in more detail. This work will have wider impact too. The computational model will be applicable to many other materials, e.g. high entropy alloys, new solid state cooling materials and thermoelectrics, all cases where properties can be optimised by compositional tuning.


[1] See information at and