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spin glasses

Spin-glasses are disordered magnetic alloys with very unusual behaviour. Interest in spin glasses goes far beyond just this class of materials, however, because they provide a convenient model system from which to derive a unified theory of the glassy state (glass is one of the most common, yet mysterious states of condensed matter). Interest in spin glasses also extends outside of condensed matter physics because there has been a fruitful exchange of ideas between the spin glass community and researchers in other branches of science such as computer scientists working on combinatorical optimization.
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Colloids are an excellent example of systems with phase transitions between every kind of phases: gas, liquid, crystal and amorphous. Though such transitions have been studied for decades, the phase diagram predictions found in textbooks are rarely found experimentally as soon as off-equilibrium dynamic effects become dominant.
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monte carlo methods with constraints

Including constraint in Monte Carlo simulations is usually regarded as a bad idea, since they limit fluctuations and typically slow down the simulation. However, in the study of complex systems constrained ensembles provide a way to feed the simulation with aditional information.
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special-purpose computers

The type of research we do saturates any available computer facilities. Part of our effort consist in the development of special-purpose computers such as Janus, which for some particular problems is several orders of magnitude faster than conventional computers.
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perturbative and variational methods

Our research interests are not restricted to Monte Carlo simulations. Among our analytical work, we have

  • Statistical mechanics out of equilibrium: modelling the relaxation to thermodynamical equilibrium
  • Quantum Field Theory at finite temperature: high-temperature approximations.
  • Macromolecular chains: some theoretical problems and possible implications for DNA.
  • Thomson scattering in fusion plasmas (Collaboration with the Fusion Plasma Division, CIEMAT, Madrid).