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Prof John Blackman



Contact details


+44 (0) 118 378 8537


+44 (0) 118 975 0203




Department of Physics

University of Reading


Reading RG6 6AF



John Blackman was recently Head of the Reading Physics Department. His research is in theoretical physics and computational modelling. He has worked in the areas of disordered materials, polymers, the electronic theory and statistical physics of magnetism (in bulk materials and in nanoclusters), and in the scaling behaviour of growth and aggregation phenomena. He is a member of the Working Group of CCP3.

Research Activities

Nanoscale Magnetic Clusters

Magnetic nanostructures are interesting systems in which to study finite size effects in magnetism. They are also important potential components in data storage media and read/write heads, and are likely to be key to the technology enabling the transition from the Gbits/in2 to Tbits/in2 regime. The design of high magnetic moment and high anisotropy materials is vital to the achievement of this goal.


The programme at Reading uses electronic-structure methodology in calculating the moments and the magnetocrystalline anisotropy in single element and binary clusters of sizes up to about 1000 atoms. A particular focus for binary clusters is the sensitivity of the properties to the configuration of the interface between the two components. Reading is a partner in a European collaborative programme (AMMARE) to develop advanced nanocluster materials for data storage applications.

Droplet Growth and Coalescence

The nucleation, aggregation and growth of droplets on a surface is a basic process that occurs in a wide range of phenomena from the nano to the larger scale. A current focus of our work is the high surface coverage regime where droplet coalescence processes are rate determining. The system has analogues in higher dimensions, and in particular in 3 dimensions where it is related to the problem of the dense packing of a polydisperse sphere assembly, and in turn to porosity problems.


Dr. Yuannan Xie (Reading), Prof. Julian Poulter (Bangkok), Dr Popi Trohidou (Athens), Prof Chris Binns (Leicester)

Selected Publications

1.      Magnetocrystalline anisotropy and orbital polaization in ferromagnetic transition metalsY. Xie and J. A Blackman, Phys. Rev. B 69 (2004) 172407 -1-4.

2.      Magnetic anisotropy of nanoscale cobalt particles”, Y. Xie and J. A Blackman, J. Phys. Condensed Matter 16 (2004) 3163-3172.

3.      Enhanced effect of magnetic anisotropy on free clusters” Y. Xie and J. A Blackman, Appl. Phys. Lett. 82 (2003) 1446-1448.

4.      Magnetism of iron clusters embedded in cobalt” Y. Xie and J. A Blackman, Phys. Rev. B 66 (2002) 085410 - 1-5.

5.      Polydispersity exponent in homogeneous droplet growth”, J. A. Blackman and S. Brochard, Phys. Rev. Letters 84 (2000) 4409-4412.

Recent publications


Prof John Blackman
Dr Roger Bennett
Prof Mark Matsen
Prof Geoff Mitchell
Prof Howard Colquhoun
Dr Joanne Elliott
Dr Rebecca Green
Dr Wayne Hayes
Dr Richard Bonser
Prof George Jeronimides
Dr Peter Harris
Dr Tim Richardson
Page last updated March 23, 2010
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