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Finite elements, a large number of possibilities

Recently I’ve been taking a small part-time break from my lab activities to engage in something slightly more theoretical, as I use finite element simulations to study what’s really going on with the spin currents in my graphene samples. Finite element analysis (FEA) is a type of numerical simulation that allows one to study complex behaviour in systems which would be very difficult to either explore analytically or visualise intuitively.

There is true beauty in the emergence of complex behaviour from a small number of simple governing equations, and this has helped me gain a greater understanding of my systems and given me several interesting experimental ideas that might never have occurred to me otherwise.

On top of anything else the outputs are quite aesthetically pleasing, pictured is a piece of cold graphene brought into contact with a standard summer day in Donosti. It heats up in a pleasantly Poissonic manner.

As a small side bonus since the only equipment needed is a computer, I’ve gotten some breaks from the lab and had some enjoyable mornings working from places with air conditioning as I hide from San Sebastian’s sibilant summer sizzle. I look forward to the imminent arrival of ESR8 and ESR9, perhaps we will discuss science on the beach if we find the time and sand space.

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