Our research groups active in the field of modelling and simulation pursue a wide array of approaches to gain a more profound insight into the various types of materials and their properties.
Overview of some techniques used:
- Monte Carlo
- Molecular Dynamics
- Density Functional Theory
- Finite Difference / Element
- Variational techniques
- Feynman’s path integral theory
- Ab initio calculations
An important aspect of the research is the interaction with the experiment. Active collaborations have been established between different experimental and theoretical groups, not only within the university but all over the world.
Application of advanced statistical parameter estimation methods to ultra-high resolution TEM or STEM images allows the precise quantitative analysis of pm displacements of atoms and of the chemical composition. The aim of the statistical parameter estimation theory is to measure unknown structure parameters.
Furthermore, first-principles electronic structure calculations are performed to yield a realistic and accurate description of the interaction between atoms. They provide detailed insight into the structural and electronic properties of materials which is complementary to experiment. Finally, also plasma modelling, modelling of plasma-solid interaction and modelling of laser ablation are performed.
Our theoretical research is situated in the area of mesoscopic physics and nanophysics which is between the atomic and the macroscopic scale.
A further important area of expertise pertains to research on theoretical condensed matter i.e.,
- effects pertaining to electron-phonon interactions,
- superconductivity (high-Tc),
- many-body quantum theory,
- mesoscopic and nanoscopic semiconductors,
- metals and superconductors and
- optical properties of quantum dots and systems with reduced dimensionality.
Other lines of investigation focus on quantum gases and quantum liquids and on the study of complex systems using path integrals.
In addition to all the above-mentioned research lines, the University of Antwerp also has a long and outstanding tradition in experimental and phenomenological research on particle collisions as investigated with the largest particle accelerators in the world (e.g. large hadron collider CERN).
A wide range of experimental techniques are used to characterise a plethora of materials:
- Nanomaterials / nanoparticles
- (meso) Porous inorganic materials
- Inorganic thin films
- Semiconductors /superconductors
- Optical materials
Image processing and analysis
Materials characterisation and simulation is also supported by image processing and analysis, in particular corrosion analysis and crystal characterisation.