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ISIS Beamline Facility Development Studentship: Opto-Electronic Control of Magnetism

Project Description

This is a joint project to be carried out in collaboration between the ISIS Neutron and Muon Source, a world-leading centre for research at the STFC Rutherford Appleton Laboratory (RAL) near Oxford, and the University of Leeds.

The student should spend at least one year at RAL, contributing to the development of simultaneous neutron reflectivity with optical and electrical irradiation, and the rest of their PhD in Leeds for sample growth and characterisation (including thin film and interface deposition; high-low temperature transport; magnetometry; Raman spectroscopy, He3-room temperature scanning probe microscopy etc.), device measurements and structure design.

Electrical and optical stimuli make possible to manipulate the function and structural properties of advanced nanomaterials. In this studentship, we focus on the opto-electronic control of magnetic properties in hybrid organic devices – although the new beam capability may extend to applications in many other samples and structures, such as liquid crystals or solar cells. Magnets are an ever-present technological feature; from computing to energy generation.

However, the production and application of these materials is reaching fundamental quantum limits while increasingly damaging the environment. Hybridisation and charge transfer between cheap, eco-friendly molecules and metals can give rise to emergent magnetic and superconducting properties.

These effects are controlled by spin and electron transfer, so optical and electrical signals can tune the interfacial features. The composite devices show multifunctional properties (e.g. thermal transport, photovoltaics) that may be used in the design of molecular-scale devices; e.g. low-power consumption memories.

This studentship will analyse these structures using neutron spectroscopy, adding optical and electronic capabilities to study emerging physics. The studentship has a theoretical component to study the electronic structure of these hybrids. Future applications of these developments extend to monitoring chemical, structural and mechanical changes induced by electromagnetic fields in a wide range of materials. Experience in solid state physics/electronics is highly desirable.

Funding Notes

This studentship is funded jointly by the Science and Technology Facilities Council and the University of Leeds. Funding covers the cost of fees and provides a maintenance matching the Research Council UK rate (£15,009 for 2019/20). Funding duration is 3 years.

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