Degree Type


Date of Award


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy


Physics and Astronomy

First Advisor

Marshall Luban


In this dissertation, we have implemented a quantum Monte Carlo (QMC) algorithm, and have used it to perform calculations for a variety of finite Heisenberg spin systems. A detailed description of the QMC method has been provided, which is followed by applications of the method to various systems. These applications begin with a detailed analysis of the (calculated) equilibrium magnetization and magnetic susceptibility for a number of Heisenberg Hamiltonians. In particular, we have studied the dependence of these quantities on intrinsic spin s, and have quantified the approach to the classical (s → infinity) limit. These results are not specific to a particular physical system, but are potentially applicable to many systems. We have also analyzed four recently synthesized species of magnetic molecules, each of which is theoretically challenging to the methods that are normally used for such analyses. Using the QMC method, we have distinguished the microscopic (exchange) parameters that describe the interactions in each of these magnetic molecules, and, based upon these parameters, we have made predictions for future experiments. The well-known "negative sign problem" (NSP) can be problematic for QMC calculations. However, for some systems, our analysis was able to proceed despite the NSP. For other systems, this is not the cases, so we have clearly indicated when the NSP is, and is not, insurmountable for these types of calculations.



Digital Repository @ Iowa State University,

Copyright Owner

Larry Paul Engelhardt



Proquest ID


File Format


File Size

194 pages