Associate Professor Malcolm John Grimson

BSc (E.Anglia), PhD (Kent), FInstP, Cphys

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Associate Professor

Research | Current

Condensed Matter Physics

  • Soft condensed matter
  • Surfaces and interfaces
  • Ferroics and multiferroics

Statistical Mechanics

  • Phase transitions
  • Monte Carlo simulation methods
  • Complex systems

Current projects

Thin magnetic films
Hystersis and the dynamic phase transition in thin ferromagnetic films are being investigated with continuous spin models of magnetism in collaboration with Hyunbum Jang. The existence of such a non-equilibrium phase transition, first observed in discrete Ising models of magnetism, has been shown to be present in continuous spin models with an anisotropy in the bilinear exchange interaction between spins. The nature of the dynamic phase transition in the presence of competing applied surface fields differs markedly from that found in bulk systems. This is a consequence of interface localization in the thin film arising from the competing surface fields that act to pin the ferromagnetically ordered regions of opposite magnetization to the film surfaces.

The cluster melting transition in mercury is being investigated using Monte Carlo simulation techniques in collaboration with Prof. Peter Schwerdtfeger Interaction potentials that are purely pair-wise additive cannot account for the observed behaviour. Three body interaction terms and relativistic corrections that can provide an accurate representation of the low temperature solid -state properties have developed for use in the simulations.
Microbial Growth 
Extensive experimental studies of microbial growth in surface colonies have been performed to provide physical data on the evolution of the colony morphology with time. Most notable of the results have been the observation of power law scaling of the colony radius and height with time with exponents of less than unity, contrary to previous studies in the literature. Complementary theoretical studies using reaction-diffusion models of bacterial colony growth that account for these novel experimental observations is in progress.

Areas of expertise

Condensed Matter Physics


Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Willmott, G., Hammerschmidt, L., Grimson, M., Riddings, K., Hendy, S., Wills, P., ... Demarais, N. (2017). "Physics at the Interface" in Auckland. AAPPS Bulletin, 27 (5), 8-14.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Geoff Willmott, Shaun Hendy, Frederique Vanholsbeeck, Nicholas Demarais
  • Wang, Z., & Grimson, M. J. (2016). Ferroelectrics manipulate magnetic Bloch Skyrmions in a composite bilayer. arXiv New York, USA: Cornell University Library.
  • Wang, Z., & Grimson, M. J. (2016). Driving skyrmions in a composite bilayer. Physical Review B, 94 (1), 1-6. 10.1103/PhysRevB.94.014311
  • Grimson, M., & Wang, Z. (2016). Dynamic response in a finite size composite multiferroic thin film. Journal of Applied Physics, 119 (12).10.1063/1.4944604
  • Wang, Z., & Grimson, M. J. (2015). Pseuedo-spin based dynamical model for polarisation switching in ferroelectrics. arXiv New York, USA: Cornell University Library.
  • (2015). Spin dynamics in driven composite multiferroics. Journal of Applied Physics, 118 (12), 124109-124109. 10.1063/1.4931895
  • Wang, Z., & Grimson, M. J. (2015). Magneto-electric effect for multiferroic thin film by Monte Carlo simulation. The European Physical Journal Applied Physics, 70 (3), 30303-30303. 10.1051/epjap/2015150129
  • Vithanage, C. R., Grimson, M. J., Smith, B. G., & Wills, P. R. (2011). Creep test observation of viscoelastic failure of edible fats. Journal of Physics: Conference Series, 286 (1).10.1088/1742-6596/286/1/012008
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Peter Wills

Contact details

Primary location

Level 7, Room 713
New Zealand