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Joel Nicholls

Hi, I'm a Warwick university graduate, now on the EPSRC-funded complexity science DTC course. I am currently a PhD student, working on self-assembly of molecular monolayers, supervised by Dr David Quigley and Dr Gareth Alexander.

Research outline

Recent experiments by various research groups have realised molecular monolayers, which lie on a 2d substrate (for example, a nice paper by Stephen Whitelam details some of the concepts). In many of these cases, the molecules have soft bonds between neighbours (for example Van Der Waals), and domains of periodic molecular patterns appear. Our aim is to enumerate fully-packed periodic patterns of simple molecular shapes, and include general nearest-neighbour interactions, to give explanation for why certain patterns will arise. Possibly more interesting, we would like to give an idea of how to design an experiment such that a desired molecular pattern can appear. Most of our work involves computational simulation, and in some cases, we are able to make use of interesting mathematical research (for example, Saldanha et. al.), on fully-packed polygonal shapes. Also, I am currently working on an educational game with the educational social network IGGY, which is part of the University of Warwick.

pyramid

Background

Before becoming a PhD student, I have been in the Complexity department, studying as part of the Complexity Science MSc in the academic year 2012-2013. I completed two miniprojects. The first was in a novel use of random walkers in expanding geometry, as a potential application to cosmology (supervised by Dr Stefan Grosskinsky and Dr Adnan Ali). My second miniproject involved modelling oligomers as chains on a fully-packed 2D lattice, to investigate the transition from ordered to disordered state. This was supervised by Dr David Quigley and Dr Bart Vorselaars.

Previously, I studied physics at Warwick university as an undergraduate (BSc). My final year project involved the use of Monte Carlo methods to generate simulated neutrino collisions, to be compared with the results of the T2K experiment in Japan.

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Email: joel.nicholls@warwick.ac.uk

Office: D1.13, Zeeman building