Sabri Elatresh


Dr. Sabri Elatresh

Postdoctoral research associate

210A Baker Laboratory, Cornell University


My interests are in the application and development of first-principles methods to problems in physics, material science, and chemistry at extreme conditions. When materials are compressed or heated to high temperature, they undergo electronic and structural phase transition that can lead to significant variations in their physical and chemical properties.

Understanding the properties of materials at extreme conditions of high pressure and temperature is a fundamental problem, because changes in structure, thermodynamic or quantum properties that arise at increased pressure and temperature are often (i) dramatic (ii) counterintuitive, and (iii) are entirely novel properties that are not observed at ambient conditions. The modification of lithium under compression is a good example of such a behavior.

This research involved the use of finite-temperature molecular dynamics to sample atomic configurations; static density functional theory (DFT) to examine the structural stability of candidate phases and calculate electronic properties; and density functional perturbation theory to compute phonon spectra, free energies, and dielectric functions. In addition, I have expertise with calculating anharmonic lattice dynamics and material properties that require going beyond the standard exchange approximations of DFT.  Also, I am currently developing a method for analyzing solid structures at finite temperature and drawing a comparison between the local order of finite-temperature solids and liquids. This algorithm can eventually be used for finite-temperature structural prediction.

Education and Employment

2016-present:  Postdoctoral Research Associate, Cornell University, Ithaca.

ADVISOR:  Roald Ho ffmann & Neil W. Ashcroft.

2009- 2015:   Ph.D. in Physics, Dalhousie University, Halifax, NS, Canada.

ADVISOR:  Stanimir A. Bonev.

Certificate s

2014  Quantum Monte Carlo Summer School

Apuan Alps Centre for Physics at TTI, Vallico Sotto, Tuscany, Italy.

Organizer: Mike Towler – University of Cambridge.

2013  Dalhousie University Certificate in Teaching & Learning

FULFILLED REQUIREMENT: CNLT 5000/5001 Course, Teaching practice, Professional development workshops (a minimum of 20 hours), and the Teaching dossier.

Award & Distinctions

  • Best Poster Award at EFree Annual Meeting:      (Oct 5, 2016) 
    (See “Best Poster Awards at EFree Annual Meeting”)
  • Libyan-North American Ph.D. Scholarship:     (2008-2015)
  • Teaching Assistant Award:      (May 22, 2014) 
    (“Yearly award in recognition of teaching assistant who has provided an exceptional contribution to teaching in the department”)
  • Dr. W. Leiper Graduate Award:      (2012) 
    (“Yearly award to a grad student with special ability pursuing a graduate degree in physics”)


Published & In Review

Manuscripts in Preparation

  • V.Askarpour, S. F. Elatresh, and S. A. Bonev
    “Hybrid Functional Study of the - Transition in Solid Oxygen”.
    (To be submitted to Physical Review Letters)
  • S. F. Elatresh, S. A. Bonev, N. W. Ashcroft, and Roald Hoffmann “Structure Prediction and Phase Stability of Solid Li at High Pressure”.  (In preparation)
  • S. F. Elatresh, V. Askarpour, and S. A. Bonev
    “Melting Oxygen at High Pressure”. (In preparation)


Oral Presentations


  • EFRC-PI Meeting, July 24-25, 2017, Marriott Wardman Park Hotel, Washington, D.C. United States
    Title:” Structure and phase stability of solid Li at 1 atm and high pressure”
  • EFree Annual Meeting, October 3-5, 2016, Argonne National Laboratory, Chicago IL United States
    Title:” Ground state of lithium: evidence from Fermi surface analysis” (Best Poster Award)
  • Gordon Research Conference on Research at High Pressure, July 17-22, 2016, Holderness School in Holderness University NH United States
    Title:”Structure Prediction and Phase Stability of Solid Li at High Pressure”
  • Gordon Research Conference on Research at High Pressure, June 22-27, 2014, University of New England Biddeford, ME
    Title:”Molecular Phases of Solid Oxygen at High Pressure
  • Gordon Research Conference on Research at High Pressure, June 24-29, 2012, University of New England Biddeford, ME
    Title: “Finite-Temperature Solid phases and Melting of Dense Lithium”

Seminars Given

  • Graduate Postdoctoral Seminars (GPS) 2017, Department of Chemistry & Chemical Biology, Sep. 8, 2017 , Title: “Phase stability and Structure prediction of solid Li and Na at 1 atm and high pressure
  • Graduate Seminars 2015, Department of Physics & Atmospheric Science, Mar. 2, 2015 , Title: “Scientific Interplay: Borrowing Computational Techniques from Physics”
  • Graduate Seminars 2013, Department of Physics & Atmospheric Science, Feb. 5, 2013
    Title: “Finite-temperature solid phases and melting of dense lithium”

Computer Proficiency

  • Fortran, Bash Script, Python, R


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