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Highly frustrated magnetic materials by neutron scattering

  • Full or part time
  • Application Deadline
    Applications accepted all year round
  • Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)
    Funded PhD Project (European/UK Students Only)

Project Description

The goal of the project is to experimentally investigate the low-temperatures properties of several highly frustrated magnets using various neutron scattering methods. In the frustrated magnets, competing interactions often cancel each other out creating unusual ground states, such as spin liquid, spin glass and spin ice states. Frustration is often caused by the geometry of the lattice, where the magnetic ions form corner or side-sharing triangles (see Figure). Neutron diffraction is the most direct probe of the magnetic structures, while neutron inelastic scattering provides the information on the spectrum of magnetic excitations above the ground states and therefore the strength of the magnetic interactions.

The project will address the important open questions about the nature of the field-induced transitions, the interactions responsible for the selection of a particular magnetic state among many other possibilities and the signatures of the multi-spin correlations.

The project will start with the preparation of the samples, either in a polycrystalline or (much more preferably) a single crystal form. It will then proceed to the in-house characterisation of the samples using x-ray diffraction, magnetisation, resistivity and heat capacity measurements. The neutron scattering experiments will then be performed at the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory), the Institut LaueLangevin (Grenoble, France) and other neutron scattering facilities, such as PSI and MLZ.

The main candidates for the investigations are gadolinium-containing garnets [1], the rareearth tetraborides [2], the zigzag ladder compounds of the SrRE2O4 family [3] as well as the distorted honeycomb-like lattice compounds [4].

We are also constantly looking for new geometrically frustrated systems to synthesise and investigate.

Funding Notes

A full 3.5 year studentship for UK students (fees and maintenance) is available. The project may also be available for outstanding EU students. Candidates should hold or expect to hold a high 2.1 or 1st in Physics or related subject area. See View Website for further details. Applications can be made at


[1] J.A.M. Paddison, O.A. Petrenko, et al., Science 350, 179 (2015), N. d'Ambrumenil, O.A. Petrenko, et al., Phys. Rev. Letters 114, 227203 (2015).

[2] D. Brunt, O.A. Petrenko, et al., Crystals 9, 211 (2019); Scientific Reports 8, 232 (2018).

[3] O.A. Petrenko, et al., Phys. Rev. B 95, 104442 (2017); Low Temperature Physics 40, 106 (2014).

[4] H. S. Nair, et al., Crystals 9, 196 (2019).

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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