Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now Don't miss our weekly PhD newsletter | Sign up now

  EPSRC DTP PhD project: Coexistence of Magnetism and Superconductivity in Iron-Based Superconductors; Applications in High Current Conductors at High Magnetic Fields

   Department of Physics

  ,  Sunday, June 23, 2024  Competition Funded PhD Project (Students Worldwide)

About the Project

The University of Bath is inviting applications for the following PhD project commencing on 30 September 2024 under the supervision of Prof Simon Bending and Dr Michele Pizzochero in the Department of Physics.

Eligible applicants will be considered for a fully-funded studentship – for more information, see the Funding Notes section below.

Overview of the Research:

In this project you will explore how the interplay between superconductivity and magnetism in recently discovered magnetic iron-based superconductors [1,2] can be exploited to realise lossless high current conductors for key applications in fusion confinement, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), MAGLEV and magnetic separation at very high fields. The coexistence of ferromagnetism and superconductivity is very rare because the strong exchange field generally breaks singlet Cooper pairs. However, remarkable magnetic Fe-based superconductors have recently been discovered where these phenomena coexist over a very wide temperature range (~20K). These type II materials allow magnetic flux to enter in the form of microscopic superconducting vortices in an applied field. Normally crystalline defects (e.g., dislocations, grain boundaries etc.) in the superconductor ‘pin’ vortices at low fields and prevent them moving and dissipating energy. However, the pinning strength falls rapidly at very high magnetic fields. Magnetic superconductors are unique in that the underlying domain structure and the network of domain walls can strongly trap vortices and prevent them from moving, even at very high magnetic fields. You will explore ways in which the magnetic order can be tuned to maximise the superconducting critical current at very high fields. Once this is understood, thin films of these materials will be grown by pulsed laser deposition with the goal of realising high performance commercial wires that can be produced by very low-cost routes.

This is an interdisciplinary project based in the Centre for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (CNAN) combining materials science, device fabrication and quantum transport. You will use state-of-the-art scanning Hall microscopy techniques to image superconducting vortices and establish how they organise under the influence of coexisting magnetic domains and domain walls. You will also have the opportunity to become involved in model calculations designed to simulate our experimental systems and yield key insights into the microscopic physics at play.

Project keywords: superconductivity, ferromagnetism, vortex matter

Project partners:

The work will be performed within an EPSRC-funded research project in collaboration with groups at the Argonne National Laboratories (USA), the University of Tokyo (Japan) and Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (Germany).

Candidate Requirements:

Applicants should hold, or expect to receive, a First Class or good Upper Second Class UK Honours degree (or the equivalent) in Physics, Electrical Engineering, Natural Science or Physical Chemistry. A master’s level qualification would also be advantageous. An aptitude for experimental physics is required and the project could also involve opportunities to become involved in the development of supporting theory.

Non-UK applicants must meet our English language entry requirement.

Enquiries and Applications:

Applicants are encouraged to contact Prof Simon Bending on email address  before applying to find out more about the project and to discuss their suitability for the role.

Formal applications should be made via the University of Bath’s online application form for a PhD in Physics.

In the ‘Funding your studies’ section of the application form, please select ‘EPSRC DTP’ from the first drop-down menu. In the ‘Your PhD project’ section, please quote the project title and lead supervisor’s name in the appropriate fields. Failure to complete these steps will cause a delay in processing your application and may cause you to miss the deadline.

More information about applying for a PhD at Bath may be found on our website.

Equality, Diversity and Inclusion:

We value a diverse research environment and aim to be an inclusive university, where difference is celebrated and respected. We welcome and encourage applications from under-represented groups.

If you have circumstances that you feel we should be aware of that have affected your educational attainment, then please feel free to tell us about it in your application form. The best way to do this is a short paragraph at the end of your personal statement.

Engineering (12) Materials Science (24) Physics (29)

Funding Notes

Candidates applying for this project may be considered for a 3.5-year Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EPSRC DTP) studentship. Funding covers tuition fees, a stipend (£19,237 per annum, 2024/25 rate) and research/training expenses (£1,000 per annum). EPSRC DTP studentships are open to both Home and International students; however, in line with guidance from UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the number of awards available to International candidates will be limited to 30% of the total. Note that funding does NOT cover the cost of moving to the UK, obtaining a student visa or payment of the UK healthcare surcharge.


[1] Observing the Suppression of Superconductivity in RbEuFe4As4 by Correlated Magnetic Fluctuations, D. Collomb, S. J. Bending, A. E. Koshelev, M. P. Smylie, L. S. Farrar, J. K. Bao, D. Y. Chung, M. G. Kanatzidis, W. K. Kwok, U. Welp, Physical Review Letters 26, 157001 (2021).
[2] Domain Meissner state and spontaneous vortex-antivortex generation in the ferromagnetic superconductor EuFe2(As0.79P0.21)2,Vasily S. Stolyarov et al., Sci. Adv. 4 eaat1061 (2018).

How good is research at University of Bath in Physics?

Research output data provided by the Research Excellence Framework (REF)

Click here to see the results for all UK universities

Register your interest for this project

Where will I study?

Search Suggestions
Search suggestions

Based on your current searches we recommend the following search filters.