Associate Professor 
Meyer Hall 454 
Phone: (303) 273-3853 
Fax: (303) 273-3919 
email: dmwood@mines.edu
Associate Professor. B.A. Princeton University; Ph.D Cornell University. 


Mathematical physics

Research Interests

Computational condensed-matter physics; semiconductor alloys; first-principles phonon calculations.

My background is in conventional theoretical solid state physics, including metals physics and the optical properties of matter. While I dabbled as a postdoc in the theory of liquid metals and in granular superconductivity, the eight years I spent at the National Renewable Energy Laboratory kindled a continuing interest in the theory of semiconductors (Si, GaAs, and their colleagues). This field is especially rewarding for me because, despite the computational sophistication of some of the theoretical tools, simple physical pictures remain useful in understanding the properties of new semiconductors.

Calculational methods based on "density functional theory" can now reliably predict material properties. Undeterred by squalid reality--toxic fumes, uncooperative reaction rates (or even the requirement of thermodynamic equilibrium!) fully quantum-mechanical calculations can predict in quantitative detail the cohesive energy, the equilibrium dimensions of the unit cell, and the positions of the atoms within it, the elastic constants etc.), and the volume as a function of pressure or other applied constraints. From these one can calculate the x-ray diffraction pattern and the band structure, determining optical properties and whether the material is a metal, an insulator, or a semiconductor. Extensions now include the re-formulation of lattice vibrational properties as 'linear response' properties of a crystal. The old `apprenticeship' paradigm for learning the electronic structure business is collapsing as excellent open source suites of tools such as ABINIT become available, together with tutorials and summer schools designed to initiate the non-priesthood into the Computational Mysteries.

Scaling of ABINIT job execution rate with processor number
Recent 1-page CV

I continue to be interested in new ternary semiconductors The emphasis is on presenting results for particular materials as pictorially as possible and on identifying simple physical models which make the scope of a given calculation as broad as possible.

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 Last Modified: 12/7/09
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