Dr Andrew Horsfield

Reader in the Theory & Simulation of Materials,
tel: +44 (0)20 7594 6753
ext: 6753
fax: +44 (0)20 7594 6757


Research interests:

Defect dynamics in materials for hydrogen fusion power plants (this exploits efficient density functional methods, and is being carried out in collaboration with the UKAEA at Culham).
Excited electronic states in conjugated polymers (this is part of a Materials Modelling Initiative funded project to develop and apply Correlated Electron-Ion Dynamics).
Olfaction and electronic noses
Non-adiabatic molecular dynamics (Correlated Electron-Ion Dynamics) with open boundaries


Andrew Horsfield joined the Materials Department at Imperial College in 2007 as an RCUK Fellow, and is also an honorary Research Fellow at the London Centre for Nanotechnology. Previous to this he was the Senior Research Fellow in charge of the theory core project for the IRC in Nanotechnology at UCL where he spearheaded the development of a novel modelling technique for understanding non-adiabatic processes at the nanoscale (Correlated Electron-Ion Molecular Dynamics). Together with Prof. Marshall Stoneham and students he also provided a theoretical demonstration of the physical soundness of a controversial vibrational theory olfaction proposed by Luca Turin.



Dr Horsfield specializes in modeling electron behaviour in nanoscale systems, including at the interface between biology and physics. His introduction to biological problems was made possible by a Career Development Fellowship from the Institute of Physics which he received while working for the Fujitsu European Centre for Information Technology, where his primary work was on the dynamics of point defects in semiconductors. His interest in linear scaling electronic structure methods and the development of two electronic structure codes (Plato and OXON) occurred while working in the Department of Materials at Oxford University with Prof. David Pettifor and Prof. Adrian Sutton. This built on his experience with tight binding while studying liquid silicon with Prof. Paulette Clancy at Cornell University as a PDRA and Junior Lecturer. He obtained his MSc and PhD in physics at Cornell University with Prof. Neil Ashcroft. His first-class BA in physics was obtained from Oxford University. He is a long-standing member of the Institute of Physics Computational Physics Committee.

This figure shows two relaxed self-interstitial atom configurations of bcc Mo ((a) <111> dumbbell and (b) <110> dumbbell) and the corresponding electronic charge-density deformation maps. The maps are on the (110) plane, and are calculated by subtracting the final charge distributions from atomic charge densities.

Recent Publications

  • Jennifer C. Brookes, Filio Hartoutsiou, A. P. Horsfield and A. M., Stoneham, Could Humans Recognize Odor by Phonon Assisted Tunneling?, Phys Rev Letters 98, 038101, 2007 [PDF file]
  • Andrew P Horsfield, D R Bowler, A J Fisher, Tchavdar N Todorov and M J Montgomery, Power dissipation in nanoscale conductors: classical, semi-classical and quantum dynamics, J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 16 (2004), 3609-3622
  • Andrew P Horsfield, D R Bowler, A J Fisher, Tchavdar N Todorov, Cristián G S Sánchez, Beyond Ehrenfest: correlated non-adiabatic molecular dynamics, J. Phys.: Condens. Matter 16 (2004) 8251–8266

Research Highlights

Many of the molecules important to life are chiral: they have left- and right-handed forms. Thus Dorothy Sayers’s The...
A controversial theory that explains the molecular mechanism which gives our sense of smell razor-sharp precision has been...