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Low-cost integrated spintronic terahertz transceiver

Department of Physics

About the Project

This project is part of a 4-year Dual PhD degree programme between the National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) and the University of Liverpool (England). As part of the NTHU-UoL Dual PhD Award students are in the unique position of being able to gain 2 PhD awards at the end of their degree from two internationally recognised world-leading Universities. As well as benefiting from a rich cultural experience, students can draw on large-scale national facilities of both countries and create a worldwide network of contacts across two continents.

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In the field of terahertz science, the development of future systems is significantly constrained by the bulky and low-power nature of terahertz sources. Recently, however, observations suggest that new, high efficiency and chip-integrated sources can be developed using the interconversion of spin and charge currents.

The field of spintronics focuses on optimising this spin to charge conversion, with numerous devices developed that all rely on the spin degree of freedom at their heart. These include new metallic multilayers, where charge current flow can be extended into the femtosecond regime. In essence, the irradiation of magnetisation with femtosecond laser light can cause angular momentum transfer into a spintronic layer. The ultrafast interconversion from spin to charge consequently generating broad-band terahertz radiation. While optimisation and integration into high quantum efficiency devices is still to be progressed, one particular challenge for future applications is the use of precious metals, such as Pt, in the structures.

In this PhD project, we will investigate the properties of low-cost, spin-orbit coupled layers, to realise cost-efficient spintronic emitters. We will use spintronic characterisation tools, including spin Hall effects and magnetoresistive measurements, to characterise the magnetic properties of the layers. The student will process these layers at NTHU into optimised plasmonic nanostructures, to realise high quantum efficiency devices, miniaturised down to chip-scale. The spintronic plasmonic nanostructures will be integrated into an ultrabroadband terahertz antenna, optically-pumped by femtosecond, near-infrared (NIR) laser pulses. These plasmonic-enhanced spintronic terahertz antenna prototypes will then be evaluated as generators/receivers of terahertz radiation while operating in a transmitter/receiver mode, including evaluation of antenna coupling, photo-generated carrier dynamics and terahertz time-of-flight pulses coming from terahertz transmitter to terahertz receiver.

The project provides the unique opportunity for a student to gain experience in a host of research techniques. Training in femtosecond device simulation, fabrication and characterization will be readily provided by NTHU. These complement that available at UoL, where the student will gain expertise in magnetic and spintronic characterisation as well a host of structural and chemical characterisation tools.

Applicants should apply via the University of Liverpool application form, for a PhD in the subject area listed above via:

For academic enquires please contact or
For enquires on the application process or to find out more about the Dual programme please contact School of Physical Sciences Postgraduate Office ()

Funding Notes

This project is a part of a 4-year dual PhD programme between National Tsing Hua University (Taiwan) and the University of Liverpool (England). Students should spend equal time studying in each institution. Both the UoL and NTHU have agreed to waive the tuition fees for the duration of the project and stipend of $11,000 TWD/£280 GBP a month will be provided as a contribution to living costs. When applying please ensure you Quote the supervisor & project title you wish to apply for and note ‘NTHU-UoL Dual Scholarship’ when asked for details of how plan to finance your studies.

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