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Interfacial spin-orbit coupling based superconducting spintronic devices


   Department of Physics


About the Project

Loughborough University has seen 94% of our research impact rated as ‘world-leading’ or ‘internationally excellent’, underlining the wide-ranging positive impacts that our research has on the world (REF, 2021).

In choosing Loughborough for your research, you’ll work alongside academics who are leaders in their field. You will benefit from comprehensive support and guidance from our Doctoral College, including tailored careers advice, to help you succeed in your research and future career. Find out more.

Start date:

July 2022, October 2022, January 2023

Full-time/part-time availability:

Full-time (3 years)

Spin-based electronics (spintronics) which uses the electron spin for reading, writing and processing information plays a crucial role in modern computing and data storage technologies. However, spintronic devices still rely on dissipative charge currents as the source of spin currents and suffer from large heat dissipation. This problem could be potentially addressed using superconductors.

However, conventional superconductivity does not carry a net spin since it is formed of electron pairs with anti-parallel spins - the singlet Cooper pair. In the last decade several experiments [1,2] confirmed the existence of an exotic spin-triplet superconductivity in superconductor-ferromagnet (S/F) thin film hybrids which is formed of equal spin-paired electrons (triplet Cooper pairs) and carries a net spin. However, generating this triplet superconductivity usually requires S/F hybrid structures with complex magnetic textures [3].

Recently, we demonstrated that S/F hybrids with interfacial spin-orbit coupling and without complex magnetic textures can be used to generate triplets [4]. In addition to strikingly simplifying the thin film structures, presence of spin-orbit coupling in S/F structures raises intriguing new possibilities such as magnetisation reorientation purely driven by superconductivity or magnetically tunable superconducting transistors.

This PhD project will create functional devices (e.g. Josephson junctions) to utilise spin-polarised supercurrents generated by spin-orbit coupling to perform novel functionalities like spin transfer torque. The student will state-of-the-art thin film growth facilities to deposit thin film multilayers and use the departmental cleanroom for nanofabrication. The student will also develop expertise in low temperature magnetic and electrical characterisation of devices.

Through this project, the student will be able to contribute to the rapidly developing field of superconducting spintronics and get involved with our extensive international collaboration network in Europe and USA. This project is ideal for students with a strong interest in experimental condensed matter physics and materials science.

Entry requirements:

Applicants should have or expect to achieve at least a 2:1 honours degree (or equivalent international qualification) in physics, materials engineering, or a related discipline.

How to apply

All applications should be made online (https://www.lboro.ac.uk/study/apply/research). Under programme name, select Physics. Please quote the advertised reference number PH/NB-Un1/2022 in your application.


Funding Notes

UK: To be confirmed; international: £25,100
If your start date is July 2022, your tuition fees for this academic year will be at the 2021/22 rates. Please see our website for details.
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References

1. J. Linder and J. W. A. Robinson Nature Physics, 11, 307 (2015).
2. N. Banerjee, et al., Physics World, 32, 4, (2019)
3. N. Banerjee, et al., Nature Communications, 5:4771 (2014).
4. N. Banerjee, et al., Phys. Rev. B, 97, 184521 (2018).

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