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Experimental Studies of Unconventional Superconductors

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  • Full or part time
    Dr M R Lees
    Dr G Balakrishnan
  • Application Deadline
    No more applications being accepted
  • Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (UK Students Only)

Project Description

In conventional superconductors the supercurrents are carried by s-wave Cooper pairs. In unconventional superconductors, the pair wave function may be an odd-parity spin-triplet, or perhaps some mixture of even and odd parity. Unconventional superconductivity may be found in materials with noncentrosymmetric structures, i.e. systems which lack a centre of inversion where parity is no longer a good quantum number, and in materials with strong spin-orbit coupling, e.g. those containing 4d and 5d metals. In this experimental project it will be these two groups of superconductors that will be the focus of your work. The unconventional superconducting properties you will investigate include exotic superconducting gap structures (lines or nodes in the superconducting gap), magnetoelectric effects such as a helical phase and upper critical fields exceeding the Pauli limit, time reversal symmetry breaking, and even topological effects. For some of our work in this area please see Refs. 1-3.

Working in the Superconductivity and Magnetism Group ( you will learn how to prepare polycrystalline and single crystal samples. The structural properties of the samples will be studied using a suite of state-of-the-art x-ray diffractometers and electron microscopes. You will then examine the normal and superconducting state properties of these materials at low temperatures and in high magnetic fields. As well as experiments in our laboratories, a range of neutron scattering and muon spectroscopy techniques available at national and international central facilities will also be used to investigate the physics of these materials.

This experimental project offers an excellent training in modern condensed matter physics.

Funding Notes

A full 3.5 year studentship for UK students (fees and maintenance) is available, and may be available to outstanding EU applicants. Candidates should hold or expect to hold a 1st (or high 2.1) in Physics or related subject area. See for further details.

The Physics department is proud to be an IOP Juno Champion and a winner of an Athena Swan Silver Award, reflecting our commitment to equal opportunity and to fostering an environment in which all can excel.


[1] R. P. Singh, A. D. Hillier, B. Mazidian, J. Quintanilla, J. F. Annett, D. M. Paul, G. Balakrishnan, M. R. Lees, Physical Review Letters 112, 107002 (2014).
[2] J. A. T. Barker, D. Singh, A. Thamizhavel, A. D. Hillier, M. R. Lees, G. Balakrishnan, D. M. Paul, R. P. Singh, Physical Review Letters 115, 267001 (2015).
[3] D. A. Mayoh, A. D. Hillier, K. Götze, D. M. Paul, G. Balakrishnan, M. R. Lees, Physical Review B 98, 014502 (2018).

How good is research at University of Warwick in Physics?

FTE Category A staff submitted: 54.60

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

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