Research in the Materials Theory group uses a combination of first-principles and phenomenological theoretical techniques to study the fundamental physics of novel materials that have potential technological importance. Projects combine development of new theoretical methods, application of the methods to existing materials, design of new materials with specific functionalities and subsequent synthesis of the “designer materials”. Specific materials classes of interest are:
- Transition-metal-oxides with “strong correlations”, in which the behavior of each electron explicitly influences that of the others.
- Contra-indicated multifunctional materials, which combine multiple, technologically desirable functionalities that tend not to co-exist.
- Multiferroics, which are simultaneously ferromagnetic, ferroelectric and ferroelastic and/or ferrotoroidic.
- Materials with multiple coupled or competing instabilities, which in turn show strong responses to electric or magnetic fields or strain.