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Dr Ben Hourahine

Senior Lecturer


Personal statement

I have been based in the Semiconductor Spectroscopy and Devices group in the department of Physics since 2005, providing a theoretical counterpart to the experimental activities of this group. At present my research activities are in three main areas of computational and theoretical nanoscience: Understanding optical and electron microscopy on the nanoscale; Developing and applying semi-empirical quantum mechanical modelling tools in quantum chemistry and condensed matter physics; Multiscale materials modelling of crystal growth and phase transitions.

I coordinate the 4th and 5th year undergraduate programmes in Physics, also teaching final year courses in computational physics, advanced solid state physics and nanoscience.

| e: | t: 0141 548 2325 | u: |


Has expertise in:

    Theoretical solid state and condensed matter physics

    Quantum chemstry and computational chemistry

    High performance and accuracy Nano-Photonics and Plasmonics

    Large scale density functional and density functional-based methods

    Joint developer of commercialised materials science / quantum chemistry software

    Extensive experience with large scale parallel computational systems - developed TIER 0 ready multi-thousand compute core codes.

Prizes and awards


more prizes and awards


dftbplus/dftbplus [DFTB+] : Release 17.1
Aradi Bálint, Hourahine Ben
Enhancing ultraviolet spontaneous emission with a designed quantum vacuum
McArthur Duncan, Hourahine Benjamin, Papoff Francesco
Optics Express Vol 25, pp. 4162-4179, (2017)
Coherent control of plasmons in nanoparticles with nonlocal response
McArthur D., Hourahine B., Papoff F.
Optics Communications Vol 382, pp. 258-265, (2017)
Directional-dependent thickness and bending rigidity of phosphorene
Verma Deepti, Hourahine Benjamin, Frauenheim Thomas, James Richard D., Dumitrică Traian
Physical Review B (Condensed Matter) Vol 94, (2016)
Electron channelling contrast imaging for III-nitride thin film structures
Naresh-Kumar G., Thomson D., Nouf-Allehiani M., Bruckbauer J., Edwards P. R., Hourahine B., Martin R.W., Trager-Cowan C.
Materials Science in Semiconductor Processing Vol 47, pp. 44-50, (2016)
Critical impact of Ehrlich-Schwöbel barrier on GaN surface morphology during homoepitaxial growth
Kaufmann Nils A.K., Lahourcade L., Hourahine B., Martin D., Grandjean N.
Journal of Crystal Growth Vol 433, pp. 36-42, (2016)

more publications

Professional activities

DFTB+ goes open source
Breaking time with quantum crystals
Invited speaker
International CECAM-Workshop "Approximate Quantum Methods in the ab initio World"
International CECAM Tutorial
Invited speaker
PhD examiner
External Examiner

more professional activities


Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP 2016-2017 University of Strathclyde) | Denholm, James
Hourahine, Benjamin (Principal Investigator) Papoff, Francesco (Co-investigator) Denholm, James (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2016 - 01-Apr-2020
Quantitative non-destructive nanoscale characterisation of advanced materials
Hourahine, Benjamin (Principal Investigator) Edwards, Paul (Co-investigator) Roper, Richard (Co-investigator) Trager-Cowan, Carol (Co-investigator) Gunasekar, Naresh (Researcher)
"To satisfy the performance requirements for near term developments in electronic and optoelectronic devices will require pioneering materials growth, device fabrication and advances in characterisation techniques. The imminent arrival of devices a few atoms thick that are based on lighter materials such as graphene or boron nitride and also advanced silicon and diamond nano-structures. These devices pose new challenges to the currently available techniques for producing and understanding the resulting devices and how they fail. Optimising the performance of such devices will require a detailed understanding of extended structural defects and their influence on the properties of technologically relevant materials. These defects include threading dislocations and grain boundaries, and are often electrically active and so are strongly detrimental to the efficiency and lifetimes of nano-scale devices (a single badly-behaved defect can cause catastrophic device failure). These defects are especially problematic for devices such as silicon solar cells, advanced ultraviolet light emitting diodes, and advanced silicon carbide and gallium nitride based high power devices (used for efficient switching of large electrical currents or for high power microwave telecoms). For graphene and similar modern 2D materials, grain boundaries have significant impact on their properties as they easily span the whole size of devices. Resolving all of these problems requires new characterisation techniques for imaging of extended defects which are simultaneously rapid to use, are non-destructive and are structurally definitive on the nanoscale. Electron channelling contrast imaging (ECCI) is an effective structural characterisation tool which allows rapid non-destructive visualisation of extended crystal defects in the scanning electron microscope. However ECCI is usually applied as a qualitative method of investigating nano-scale materials, has limitations on the smallest size features that it can resolve, and suffers from difficulties in interpreting the resulting images. This limits this technique's ability to work out the nature of defects in these advanced materials. We will make use of new developments in energy resolving electron detectors, new advances in the modelling of electron beams with solids and the knowledge and experience of our research team and partners, to obtain a 6 fold improvement in the spatial resolution of the ECCI technique. This new energy-filtered way of making ECCI measurements will radically improve the quality of the information that can be obtained with this technique. We will couple our new capabilities to accurately measure and interpret images of defects to other advanced characterisation techniques. This will enable ECCI to be adopted as the technique of choice for non-destructive quantitative structural characterisation of defects in a wide range of important materials and provide a new technique to analyse the role of extended defects in electronic device failure."
Period 01-Jun-2017 - 30-Nov-2020
Industrial Case Account 2014 | Pascal, Elena
Trager-Cowan, Carol (Principal Investigator) Hourahine, Benjamin (Co-investigator) Pascal, Elena (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2014 - 01-Apr-2018
Doctoral Training Grant 2006 | Craigon, Alison
Hunt, Neil (Principal Investigator) Hourahine, Benjamin (Co-investigator) Craigon, Alison (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Oct-2006 - 27-Oct-2016
Epsrc Doctoral Training Grant | McArthur, Duncan
Papoff, Francesco (Principal Investigator) Hourahine, Benjamin (Co-investigator) McArthur, Duncan (Research Co-investigator)
Period 01-Aug-2012 - 01-Feb-2016
BTG: GlaMM Workshops
Hourahine, Benjamin (Co-investigator) Johnston, Karen (Principal Investigator) Nicholls, William (Co-investigator)
GlaMM (Glasgow Multiscale Modelling) is a group that aims to improve connections between modellers in various departments in Strathclyde and the Glasgow area universities. The BTG grant enabled GlaMM to set up a series of workshops, based in Strathclyde University during the spring term of 2014, focusing on topics aligned with selected TIC themes. The meeting topics were: Solar Cells and Intelligent Lighting, Water Treatment and Management, and Bionanotechnology. The workshops each aimed to • facilitate collaborations to tackle challenging problems at various length scales and across multiple disciplines. • establish a framework for interdepartmental and inter-faculty collaborations leading to future grant proposals. Opportunities and next steps As outlined above, the workshops have helped establish a network between researchers in various departments across Strathclyde, and has improved communication between experimentalists and modellers. In addition, we have also learned some lessons from the workshops that will be valuable for future event organisation: • Participating in a workshop takes time and it can be difficult to find compromise dates that suit many people, especially coming up to exam time. A better approach may be to have shorter events, such as a seminar and coffee series. • Using TIC themes for the workshops worked well, and another idea that would help to focus the interaction is to aim for a specific funding opportunity. The membership of GlaMM is very diverse so it is not possible to find a single possibility that fits all, and instead GlaMM will now focus on 2-3 relevant funding possibilities from EPSRC or H2020 and invite GlaMM members to attend targetted meetings to contribute to a proposal. • Currently, we are discussing how to further raise the profile of GlaMM and what it can offer. We are looking into options for website development that would make GlaMM visible externally and also provide a showcase for modelling activities in Strathclyde. The preparation of future funding proposals and other activities will aim to create a sustainable and vibrant modelling network in Strathclyde.
Period 01-Feb-2014 - 30-Jun-2014

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