ComFiT: a Python package for computational field theory with topological defects


During my PhD, I explored a fascinating aspect of physics known as topological defects within phase-field crystals. Simply put, these defects are like tiny imperfections in crystals that can cause materials to bend or buckle under stress. While working on my thesis, I developed various algorithms and techniques to track and analyze these defects, which are applicable to many different scientific fields.

My colleague, Jonas Rønning, was also working on something similar for Bose-Einstein condensates—a special state of matter. After we completed our PhDs, we realized the potential of turning our research into a tool that others could use easily.

The Creation of ComFiT

To bring our ideas to a wider audience, we launched the ComFiT project. This project is at the intersection of educational content creation, physics, and digital tool development. We used AI tools, including chatGPT, to learn how to package our software complete with integrated testing—ensuring it functions as intended.

The code we developed is now being reviewed by the Journal of Open Source Software (JOSS), marking a significant milestone in our journey.

Educational Outreach

Our commitment doesn’t stop at software development. We’re also creating a series of tutorials and planning to produce videos to further explain the concepts and usage of our tools. These resources will be available on YouTube, making it easier for newcomers to enter the field.

Impact and Future Plans

The ComFiT library is already being used by several research groups, indicating its utility and impact. This project has not only helped us consolidate and share the extensive knowledge we gathered during our PhD studies but also enhanced our skills in Python programming, package development, and educational material production.

In my PhD thesis, I focused on topological defects in the phase-field crystal. Together with Jonas Rønning, I developed a Python package for the study of topological defects in field theories.