Dr James W E Drewitt

BSc (Hons) (Wales), PhD (Bath)

  • BS8 1TL

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Personal profile

Research interests

Physics of Liquids and Glasses
Understanding the atomic-scale structural and rheological characteristics that promote glass formation in liquids represents a long-standing problem in condensed matter physics.
To tackle this problem, my research is focussed on determining the atomic-scale structure glass-forming liquids using a range of in situ synchrotron x-ray and neutron scattering techniques at central facilities, including Diamond Light Source in Didcot, UK, and the European Synchrotron Radiation Facility and Institut-Laue Langevin research reactor in Grenoble, France. 
I combine these experimental meaurements with classical and density functional theory molecular dynamics simulations run using the University of Bristol Advanced Computing Research Centre's high performance computing facilities and ARCHER, the UKs national supercomputer.
Containerless processing
Using containerless processing such as aerodynamic levitation with laser heating and innovative ultrasonic acoustic levitation techniques to overcome heterogenous nucleation and to obtain ultrafast quench rates to promote deep supercooling, my research aims to explore the structural and optical properties of new glass forming materials for use in novel quantum optics such as whispering gallery mode microresonators.
By integrating containerless techniques at synchrotron and neutron beamlines, my research also involves measuring the development of structural ordering in glass-forming melts in situ during supercooling through the glass transition into the solid glassy state, and detailed measurement of the structure of liquid oxides in situ using the powerful method of neutron diffraction with isotope substitution.
Melt and mineral physics in deep planetary interiors
My research interests also involve high-pressure and high-temperature experiments to reproduce the conditions experienced in deep planetary interiors in the laboratory. This includes diamond anvil cell experiments with resistive or laser heating combined with molecular dynamics simulations to elucidate the structure and properties of silicate melts and liquid metals under extreme conditions and to investigate sub-solidus phase relations, melting, and partitioning behaviour of natural magmas in the Earth's lower mantle.


  • Aerodynamic levitation
  • Acoustic levitation
  • Liquid structure
  • Glass
  • Neutron diffraction
  • Synchrotron Radiation
  • X-ray diffraction
  • Raman spectroscopy
  • High Pressure
  • High Performance Computing
  • Molecular simulation
  • Diamond anvil cell
  • Laser heating


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