Dilina Perera

James L. Carmon Scholarship Award 2015

Dilina Perera, a doctoral candidate in physics and astronomy, developed a state-of-the-art computer simulation technique that unites two methods used to solve problems in condensed matter physics: molecular dynamics (MD) and spin dynamics (SD). For decades, MD and SD have developed as two completely separate techniques. However, recent studies have shown that due to the strong mutual interdependence that exists between the local atomic environment and magnetic moments, structural and magnetic properties of metals and alloys are intertwined to such an extent that treating these properties independently could lead to erroneous results. Perera developed an advanced simulation technique called “Combined Molecular and Spin Dynamics,” or MD-SD, that promises to enhance our understanding of material properties and make more accurate predictions about their behavior. These computer models have been developed in collaboration with Oak Ridge National Laboratory. Their ultimate goal is to utilize MD-SD to understand and predict defects in materials where magnetism plays a significant role.